Business leaders say new Hong Kong chief must open up city, rebuild its image


Drinking water barriers are established up outdoors the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, forward of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from Britain, in Hong Kong, China June 29, 2022. REUTERS/Lam Yik/File Photograph

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HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters) – Business executives in Hong Kong have a want checklist for its new leader: scrap COVID-19 quarantine procedures, and boost the rule of regulation and transparent laws to revive foreign investor self esteem – in advance of the territory gets to be a hardship submitting.

Former security chief John Lee, who gets to be main government of the previous British colony on Friday, requirements to reboot the as soon as-teeming world economical hub, 8 enterprise leaders mentioned, because its border has properly been sealed considering that 2020 and global arrivals subject matter to stringent quarantine and tests protocols.

These steps, such as a person week of required resort quarantine, and stool screening of babies for coronavirus have hammered Hong Kong’s competitiveness, the executives stated.

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“Hong Kong, when one of the most sought-after postings for executives, has turn into a hardship posting thanks to the lack of worldwide connectivity,” stated Stuart Bailey, chairman of the Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Marketplace Association, which has been battered by the limits.

“The to start with move is to resume quarantine-totally free vacation to the town,” he additional. “We are almost the last place in the environment that continue to needs travellers to quarantine on arrival and this ought to adjust as soon as feasible. The following stage is a main PR training to get people today to arrive.”

Hong Kong’s the moment-buzzing nightlife scene has sputtered, with many well known bars vacant on what would usually be packed weekends. The town saw a net outflow of far more than 134,000 folks in the initially 50 percent of this year, in comparison with just 1,813 in the same time period of 2021.

Info reveals citizens leaving the town for good withdrew a full of HK$9.014 billion in 2021, up 52% from the previous calendar year. For the initial quarter, withdrawals from MPF accounts – govt-mandated financial savings, which departing inhabitants can hard cash out on – amounted to HK$2.014 billion, up from HK$1.931 billion a yr before, the most current knowledge displays.

Hong Kong has tried using to emulate China’s “dynamic zero COVID” solution. But not like in the mainland, Hong Kong’s territory, property to far more than 7 million men and women, stays very reliant on global vacation and enterprise.

Expertise, corporations and conventions have remaining in droves for locations these types of as Singapore and Dubai, fed up with more than 3 a long time of turbulence, starting up with anti-govt protests in 2019.

In a signal of the city’s growing remoteness from the rest of the location, Citigroup chief govt Jane Fraser and JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon have both of those visited Singapore in the earlier two months, journeys that would usually incorporate Hong Kong, to pay a visit to important banking shoppers and senior workers.


Lee is faced with running the demands of the international group and the neighborhood group, whose precedence is to open up up with mainland China, explained govt adviser Bernard Chan, a convener for the city’s Govt Council and a deputy to China’s Countrywide People’s Congress.

The authorities “cannot just forego China for the worldwide industry, I assume if we send that message the nearby community will be upset. Managing the two is truly very demanding for the upcoming administration.”

When lots of Asia Pacific-headquartered businesses have remaining, individuals whose enterprise largely relates to China would still prefer Hong Kong, Chan reported. However, the city needs to make improvements to its liveability to entice back again talent.

“It’s not just about performing enterprise, its wherever you place your household, training, college,” he claimed. “If we go on to enhance on that then we can be aggressive to Singapore, Dubai, but it will consider time for the reason that this time close to we have set a halt to Hong Kong.”

Some executives are nevertheless optimistic on the outlook for Hong Kong as a finance hub, and they believe it will stay the springboard for accessing mainland China. go through a lot more

Emphasizing Hong Kong’s rule of regulation and clear regulatory procedure is vital for drawing again expertise, stated Kher Sheng Lee, the Asia Pacific co-head of the Alternative Investment Management Association.

“The new administration should emphasis on what are the crucial aspects that drive Hong Kong’s aggressive benefits versus the climbing tide of competitiveness at a time when people are leaving,” Lee stated.

A timetable for opening to the rest of the environment and a new marketing and advertising team to revitalise Hong Kong’s impression are important, reported Stewart Aldcroft, a cash administration guide who has been in Hong Kong for 37 many years.

Lee will have to commence by stanching the outflow of talent, explained Sally Wong, chief government of at the Hong Kong Financial commitment Resources Association.

“The lengthier we hold off opening up, the extra we are turning absent talent,” Wong explained. “Correctly, we are chipping away our competitiveness.”

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Extra reporting by Clare Jim and Kane Wu Enhancing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Have confidence in Concepts.


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