British businesses are very actively engaged in Hong Kong. The 1000 or so British companies with offices in Hong Kong are evidence of that as are the guests at this dinner tonight they all recognize Hong Kong’s strategic location. And we have no difficulty in encouraging British companies to take part in UK Government sponsored trade missions to Hong Kong, Fourteen Trade Partners UK supported trade missions are visiting Hong Kong this Financial Year and more SMEs are visiting than ever before. Earlier this month One North East took a mission of over 30 companies to the market.
As to the future, Hong Kong's ambition to be Asia's World City offers major new business co-operation opportunities in such areas as ICT, the environment, education and the creative industries. We are working with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and other Hong Kong partners on collaborative projects to develop our relationship in these areas.
One of the most ambitious projects we have undertaken to date is the construction and fitting out of the INTEGER Hong Kong Pavilion on the Tamar site on Hong Kong Island. It is an excellent example of a public private partnership involving the government, businesses and other public bodies. The Pavilion, which is open until the end of the year, is designed to demonstrate how green and intelligent building technologies can be adapted to meet conditions in Hong Kong and, indeed, Asia more widely. It reflects many of our interests—innovation, sustainability, environmental-friendliness, education. The Pavilion has attracted widespread interest from all over the region.
And of course, the environment is high on our agenda. We are addressing issues like air pollution, water pollution and sustainable development. Much work has already been done but there is still much to da Protecting the environment is a moral and political imperative. Cleaning up the environment also presents opportunities for trade.
The UK’s links with Hong Kong on the education side are extensive and the British Council in Hong Kong do an enormous amount of impressive work there. Their English language operation in Hong Kong is the largest such operation in the world with over 40,000 students a year. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Chevening scholarships scheme offers Hong Kong candidates around 50 scholarships a year. Around 17, 000 Hong Kong students are currently studying in the UK.