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"Zurich meets Hong Kong" festival: High attention and sustainable networking

Stefan Ege - 12.12.2017

Photograph with logo of the Festival Zurich meets Hong Kong.

Zurich's performance in Hong Kong has found a large and interested audience. Around 4000 people attended the cultural and scientific events. The festival hub at Times Square and the Swiss Design Market at K11 attracted around 50,000 visitors. The Zurich institutions used the festival to consolidate existing cooperations and initiate new projects.

From 21 to 29 October 2017, the festival "Zurich meets Hong Kong – A Festival of Two Cities" took place. With over 4,000 participants at more than 30 events and 50,000 visitors to the Festival Hub and the Swiss Design Market, the economic, scientific and cultural exchange between the two metropolises has been expanded and strengthened. The feedback from the audience was numerous and very positive. In addition, around six million contacts were generated via the social media channels. The local media dedicated several articles to the festival.

Opening ceremony of the festival
During the opening ceremony of the Festival Hub in Times Square in Hong Kong (Image: Aerotain)

Festival Hub immerses visitors in Zurich's virtual reality

In the "Zurich meets Hong Kong" festival hub, which was centrally located in the Times Square shopping center in Hong Kong, visitors were able to learn more about the festival and fly over Zurich in a virtual world. ETH Zurich demonstrated its latest research in the field of augmented reality and creativity. The Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) used a flight simulator to show how augmented reality simplifies the control of aircraft and makes it safer.

Culture brings the two metropolises together

Dance performance during the Festival Zürich meets Hong Kong.
The dance performance «One Table Two Chairs» by Danny Yung (Image: Victor Shing)

Music and dance played a prominent role as connecting elements. Every evening there was a performance: street music in front of the Hong Kong Arts Center, a telematic concert played synchronously in Zurich and Hong Kong by the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, jazz with the Swiss band Florian Favre Trio and a performance by Brandy Butler & the Brokenhearted together with the legendary Hong Kong indie rock band Chochukmo. The film programme supervised by the International Short Film Festival Winterthur – including a short film programme on the oeuvre of H.R. Giger and the documentary "DARK STAR HR GIGER'S World" by Belinda Sallin – was very well attended. Visual art and urban development were the focus of the two exhibitions in the Connecting Space Hong Kong of the ZHdK. The cultural programme also included the dance performance «One Table Two Chairs», choreographed by Danny Yung, one of Hong Kong's most influential artists.

Scientific exchange on future issues

The wide-ranging scientific programme shed light on various aspects of current developments in the economy and society. While the City of Winterthur and the Vocational Training Council of Hong Kong discussed the importance of practice- and labour market-oriented education, the University of Zurich focused on events on healthy ageing, the future of privacy and the economic and legal challenges of modern technologies in finance (FinTech). At the interface of virtual and augmented reality, creativity and art, ETH Zurich and Baptist University of Hong Kong presented a visionary outlook on software developments that blur the boundaries between the real world and computer programs.

High-ranking Delegation from Zurich expands contacts

Carrie Lam speaking at the Gala Dinner
Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam during her speech at the gala dinner of "Zurich meets Hong Kong" (Photo: Chi Wai Cheung)

With "Zurich meets Hong Kong", Zurich is expanding its diverse contacts with Hong Kong. Part of the festival was a high-ranking Delegation from Zurich, which included Mayor Corine Mauch, Government Councillor Carmen Walker Späh and the President of Zürich Tourism Guglielmo Brentel as well as business representatives and representatives of all universities. At the political level, an exchange took place with the head of government of Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, and Nicholas Yang, Secretary of Innovation and Technology. Nicholas Yang also opened the conference on the future of energy and mobility in smart cities. This conference shed light on the potentials and problems of the topic from the perspective of business, science and administration. The Zurich delegation also met with the Hong Kong Housing Authority on social housing and numerous Swiss companies during business talks and a visit to Huawei in Shenzhen. "Zurich meets Hong Kong" has further increased awareness of Zurich and Switzerland on the ground and strengthened political relations.

Successful cooperation in the field of social media with the Audiovisual Media course of study at the ZHdK

In order to make the various events accessible to a wider audience via social media, the festival has entered into a cooperation with the Audiovisual Media course of the ZHdK (Cast). Eleven students and three lecturers travelled to Hong Kong for the duration of the festival and were supported by local translators. With the media text, photography, animation and film, they accompanied and documented the festival on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Passers-by were interviewed, smaller reports on event topics were created and events were broadcast live. The final film of the festival was produced by Cast and gives a good insight into the festival.

Zurich meets Hong Kong Festival Highlights


Concrete results for sustainable networking

Both well-maintained and newly established contacts resulted in some concrete projects and planned activities: the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the International Short Film Festival Winterthur are planning further exchange projects, ETH is planning an in-depth cooperation with Baptist University in Hong Kong and has activated alumni in the region and inspired them again for ETH, the ZHdK is planning another forum with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority on transdisciplinary cooperation between art and science in 2019, the University of Zurich will work more closely with various local universities in research and expand student exchanges, and the ZHAW School of Engineering and Hong Kong Polytechnic University will expand the existing cooperation agreements.

Joint appearance and broad sponsorship

Speech of the Mayor during the Gala Dinner.
The Mayor during her speech at the gala dinner of "Zurich meets Hong Kong" mirrored above the skyline of Hong Kong (Image: Chi Wai Cheung)

"Zurich meets Hong Kong" was presented by the City and Canton of Zurich, Zurich Tourism, ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and the Swiss Consulate General in Hong Kong. Other festival partners were the City of Winterthur, the International Short Film Festival Winterthur, Zurich Zoo, Credit Suisse and the Swiss Design Market.

With the festival in Hong Kong, the city and canton of Zurich as well as Zürich Tourism are continuing their joint international appearances after New York, Milan and London in order to further promote the exchange and international networking of Zurich.

The detailed programme of "Zurich meets Hong Kong" is still available online:


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