On 3rd December last year the Leading Brands of Spain Forum (FMRE), together with the Office of the High Commissioner for the Spain Brand, organised a ceremony to publicly recognise the ‘Friends of the Spain Brand and Spanish Brands in Hong Kong’ at a gala dinner commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
These awards have been designed to acknowledge foreign institutions and individuals that have contributed or offered their support in a significant way to the image of Spain and/or its leading brands in a specific country or region. This is the sixth edition of the awards and the first in Hong Kong, having previously been held in Shanghai, Moscow, London, Miami and Tokyo.
In the case of Hong Kong, six Friends of the Spain Brand were honoured:
- Cathay Pacific,the airline that recently announced its first direct flight between Hong Kong and Spain.
- Hutchison Whampoa Limited, for its huge investment in Spain, particularly in the port of Barcelona.
- The Hong Kong Arts Festivaland its patron Stanley Ho (ex aequo), who have clearly focused on Spanish art and culture, giving it great prominence in Hong Kong year after year.
- Peter Gordon, an academic and highly renowned Hispanic scholar, for his contribution to the dissemination and better understanding of Spanish culture in Hong Kong.
- Wharf T&T, Hong Kong’s telecommunications giant, which has made a clear commitment over the past few years to the technology being developed by Spanish companies, thereby facilitating their expansion throughout Asia.
And six Friends of the Spain Brand:
- The travel agency Ctripin its capacity as a Friend of the Meliá brand, for supporting recognition of the Spanish hotel brand by Asian tourists.
- The company Bon Holding Limitedin its capacity as a Friend of the Cosentino brand, for its pivotal role in the distribution of its brands on the Asian continent.
- The film producer Terence Changin his capacity as a Friend of the Lladró brand, for promoting greater recognition of the brand in Hong Kong.
- Peter Riha, from the Solar Max company, in his capacity as a Friend of the Estrella Galicia brand, for his work distributing its water and beer brands for many years, thereby enabling the company to penetrate the market.
- Watson’s Wine Wholesalein its capacity as a Friend of the Freixenet brand; it is one of Hong Kong’s largest wine distributors and has played a key role in the growth of Freixenet in the region.
- BON Paradisein its capacity as a Friend of the Alimentaria brand, for its commitment to Spanish cuisine and its constant backing of this institution.
- Thomas Wong, in his capacity as a Friend of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum. A highly renowned public figure in Hong Kong, who has spent years building bridges between the two countries and who played a key role in getting this event to be staged in Hong Kong.
- The Rosary Hillsschool in its capacity as a Friend of Spain’s Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
All the award-winners were presented with a statuette designed by Lladró symbolising the friendship between the two countries.
The ceremony was attended by over 200 people, including prominent representatives from the business, diplomatic, academic and institutional sectors, in both Hong Kong and Spain, along with around twenty accredited journalists.
The event was chaired by the Spanish Government’s High Commissioner for the Spain Brand, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros; the Spanish Consul in Hong Kong, Santiago Martínez Caro; the president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, José Martino, and the managing director of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, Miguel Otero.
In his speech, Otero stressed the importance of having good allies in order to be successful in such competitive markets and hence the recognition accorded to these Friends. He then reaffirmed his position by alluding to the proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
For his part, Thomas Wong, who was speaking on behalf of the Friends of the Spain Brand and Spanish brands, highlighted the changes, through the prism of his own experience, that both countries have undergone in the past 25 years and how business relations have been strengthened between the two countries.
The High Commissioner wrapped up the ceremony highlighting the importance for Spain of a market like Hong Kong, of having a powerful Chamber of Commerce that can help Spanish companies and of strengthening relations by staging events like this.
During the ceremony, guests were able to try a cocktail representing Spanish gastronomy, accompanied by beers produced by Estrella Galicia and wines and cavas from Freixenet.
After the ceremony acknowledging the Friends of the Spain Brand and Spanish Brands, and during the gala dinner, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong also presented its annual prizes: the Golden Abacus Awards.