Medvedev seeks Hong Kong expertise on landmark visit

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Hong Kong Saturday on the first visit by a Kremlin chief to the ex-British colony, seeking to harness its financial expertise in modernising Russia.

Medvedev, who is seeking to diversify his country's economy beyond oil and gas, will on Sunday meet with Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang and visit the stock exchange in the southern Chinese territory.

"Finances are no doubt a priority sphere of cooperation with Hong Kong," Medvedev's foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko said ahead of the visit.

A former British colony which was returned to China in 1997, Hong Kong has for years been ranked the world's freest place to do business.

Last year United Company RUSAL, the world's top aluminium producer, became the first Russian company to list in Hong Kong, and several others are seeking to follow suit.

"The deepening of financial cooperation is also useful for Russia with an eye to plans to make Moscow an international financial centre," the Kremlin said, adding that it also wanted to boost trade and investment ties.

Medvedev will seek to persuade Hong Kong-based investors to take part in the development of a high-tech hub outside Moscow which the Kremlin chief sees as Russia's answer to Silicon Valley, it said.

Medvedev arrived from the southern Chinese island province of Hainan, where he met with leaders of top emerging economies China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

Russia has in recent years sought to align itself more closely with China as it seeks to unlock new energy markets in Asia. This is Medvedev's third visit to the country since he became president in 2008.

© 2011 AFP

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