Event Details

Business hub locations such as Dubai and Hong Kong strive to provide an environment that is conducive to attracting investment and talent.

Their governments work hard to provide attractive market opportunities, supportive legal and regulatory systems, technological readiness and a facilitative infrastructure.

Liveability is also in focus for hub locations in a world in which talent is increasingly mobile and in which rival cities vie for attention and influence.

Join us, regional business leaders and the Director-General of InvestHK at this special EICN event: Centres of Excellence. We will share our business environment and liveability assessments of hub locations in the Middle East and East Asia, with special focus on doing business in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong remains one of the world's most important international financial centres, despite recent political and reputational challenges.

Regional rivals such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Singapore are unable to fulfil its role as a nexus for financial flows between China and the global economy, with Hong Kong's mainland connections enshrined in the "one country, two systems" principle.

Sophisticated infrastructure, free-port status and favourable policies on foreign investment, taxes, trade and exchange controls have helped to propel Hong Kong's business environment into the global top 10, according to the EIU's Business Environment Index, ahead of Ireland, the UAE, UK and France.

However, the anti-extradition-law protests of 2019-2020 and Hong Kong's more recently introduced Article 23 security law raised fears about civil liberties in the region, triggering an exodus of investment and talent.

Now Hong Kong's leadership is keen to re-establish its credentials as a regional business and investment hub, and the Middle East is foremost among its target source markets.

Venue: Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai (Serdaal Ballroom 1)


12 noon: Arrival, registration, lunch and networking

12:45pm: Hub City Business Environments in Focus - Robert Willock, Director MENA & Regional General Manager, EICN

1.15pm: Panel discussion - Dubai to Hong Kong

2.00pm: Thanks, close, coffee and networking

Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


  • Alpha Lau (Director-General of Investment Promotion at InvestHK)

    Alpha Lau

    Director-General of Investment Promotion at InvestHK

    Ms Alpha Lau has been Director-General of Invest Hong Kong, the government department responsible for attracting and facilitating direct investment into Hong Kong, since November 2023.

    She serves on the government’s Trade and Industry Advisory Board, Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board, International Business Committee, Air Silk Road Task Force, Task Force on External Relations, Task Force on Promoting Web3 Development, Task Force on Promoting and Branding Hong Kong, Mega Events Coordination Group, and on the Market Development Committee of the Financial Services Development Council.

    Prior to joining the government, Ms Lau held various senior roles in multinational and Chinese financial institutions, with experience in personal wealth and corporate coverage, risk management, fintech, transactional banking and M&A project management.

    Ms Lau holds Bachelor and Master (Hon.) Degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford, and a Certificate in further education from Tsinghua University, Beijing.

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  • Damien Duhamel (Managing Partner Middle East & Asia at EuroGroup Consulting)

    Damien Duhamel

    Managing Partner Middle East & Asia at EuroGroup Consulting

    Damien Duhamel is a business leader with over 25 years of experience across the Middle East and Far East. He has lived and worked in Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, the UAE, and Vietnam, gaining deep regional insights and expertise. Damien is renowned for building and leading consulting organizations that specialize in growth strategies for governments, Fortune 500 companies, and family-owned businesses in Asia and the Middle East. He has successfully developed and managed teams in over 20 Asian countries, leveraging his strong operational skills and extensive network of regional clients.

    Notably, Damien is the author of the first Asia ranking of the Most Innovative Cities in Asia Pacific, a ground-breaking study featured on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, BBC, Channel News Asia, and many other prominent publications.

    In 2023, Damien joined Eurogroup Consulting as the Managing Partner for its Middle East Asia practice, where he continues to drive strategic growth and innovation. He holds an MBA from Chicago Booth and is currently completing a Master’s in Sustainability from Harvard University.

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  • Hrvoje Cindric (Director – Middle East Planning Lead of Buro Happold)

    Hrvoje Cindric

    Director – Middle East Planning Lead of Buro Happold

    Hrvoje is an experienced and passionate Urban Planner and Designer, with extensive project experience across the globe. Working for public and private sector clients alike, he has spent the first half of his 20 plus years’ career in Europe, before relocating to Abu Dhabi in 2010. He has worked on a wide range of projects from strategic frameworks to large greenfield master plans down to brownfield regeneration, urban design and place-making projects. He leads Buro Happold’s Strategic Planning team in the middle east with a team of over 20 urbanists split between Riyadh and Dubai offices.

    He is fascinated by the cultural, environmental, and economic drivers that shape cities and a recognised regional thought leader and seasoned commentator on the future of cities in arid environments. He has substantial experience in introducing technology and psychology into city making and thinking.

    He is passionate about fostering the next generation of Urban Planners and Designers in the region, and is an advisory board member for the inaugural Masters programme for Urban Design and Digital Environments at American University Dubai, and serves on the UK’s Royal Town and Planning Institute’s international committee.

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  • Andrew Mortimer (Managing Director MENA of Barclays)

    Andrew Mortimer

    Managing Director MENA of Barclays

    Andrew Mortimer is the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for Barclays in the Middle East. He has Country Management responsibility for Barclays Investment Banking, Corporate Banking and Wealth & Investment Management businesses based in the Middle East as well as all Infrastructure operations and is the legal entity representative with the respective regulatory authorities in the region.

    Over the past 30+ years, Andrew held several senior positions at globally recognised financial institutions including SRM Global Fund, UBS Investment Bank, Credit Suisse First Boston Services, and Nomura International plc. Andrew holds an executive MBA from the University of Sussex in Applied General Management.

    He is also the Chair of the British Chamber of Commerce Dubai (formerly the British Busines Group Dubai).

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  • Robert Willock (Director and Regional General Manager of EICN)

    Robert Willock

    Director and Regional General Manager of EICN

    Robert is the Director of the Economist Corporate Network based in Dubai and covering the MENA region. Robert works closely with network members to help inform their business strategies through political, economic and operational insight and to connect them with their senior leadership peers.

    Robert is a business journalist, editor and publisher with 25 years of experience covering a wide variety of sectors, including hospitality, retail, construction, energy and transport, and a particular interest in human capital management.

    He is an accomplished event chairman, moderator and speaker.

    Robert completed an MBA at the University of Leicester School of Business in 2012 and holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Nottingham.

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