Hong Kong Economic Development

A senior Hong Kong official admitted that the city’s strict travel quarantine system has caused “pain” to international companies because executives have warned that Hong Kong’s reputation as a global financial center is being threatened.

The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong, Yau Tenghua, held talks with representatives of the Hong Kong business community after the government suddenly revised its plan to relax travel restrictions this month.

After declaring that most travel restrictions will be substantially relaxed in June, Hong Kong changed its decision last week, increasing the period of time during which passengers must be isolated from one week to three weeks in most cases. The U-turn caused chaos for travelers and provided people entering the city with a shortage of designated quarantine hotel rooms.

Business groups claim that this reversal, coupled with growing uncertainty about when the quarantine rules will be relaxed, has prompted some companies to consider relocating.

Yau told the Financial Times: “It is not surprising or surprising that the company is affected by Covid travel restrictions locally and regionally.” The Hong Kong government receives “continuous attention” [from companies] And a very frank request to reconsider”.

According to a relevant person, at a meeting, the head of the Asia-Pacific region of a large European company headquartered in Hong Kong warned Yau that it would transfer most of its business to Singapore.

Edward Yau: “It is not surprising or surprising that the company is affected by Covid travel restrictions locally and regionally” © Bloomberg

The European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), one of Hong Kong’s largest business lobby groups, issued an unprecedented letter last week to warn Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Strict quarantine rules Make its status as an international financial center precarious.

The European Chamber of Commerce stated that the city’s newly tightened quarantine regulations may “cause many in the international community to question whether they want to stay in Hong Kong indefinitely as the rest of the world continues to move forward”.

This open letter marks Escalation of tensions For more than a year, frequent business trips have almost ceased.

When the actress Nicole Kidman received quarantine, the news aroused people’s anger.

EuroCham Chairman Frederik Gollob said: “We have been dealing with this situation. We cannot operate our business freely in Hong Kong because of several riots. This situation has been going on for two years. Now we are in a situation where quite a few companies are considering or actually relocating. The point of function.”

Yau said that Hong Kong “takes very seriously” these complaints. However, he defended these policies, saying that the city’s “main goal” was to strike a balance between protecting health and reopening foreign travel. He said: “As far as the containment of the new crown virus is concerned, we are a very safe city.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hong Kong has recorded approximately 12,000 coronavirus cases and only 212 deaths out of a population of approximately 7.5 million.However Low vaccination rate The elderly and the “Zero Covid” strategy aimed at opening up the border with mainland China has exacerbated concerns that a wider reopening will be delayed.

On the other hand, competitor Singapore, the Asian financial center, has made plans to carefully reopen foreign travel from next month, including the isolation-free corridor with Germany.

A senior banking official who asked not to be named said: “Hong Kong will be very difficult as an international financial center. [other] The border will be closed for six to nine months. ”

Have a Net outflow Nearly 90,000 people came from Hong Kong in the past year, which is the fastest rate since the outbreak of SARS in 2003. Private membership clubs popular with expats, such as American Clubs, have their waiting list reduced from about two years. The turmoil in the city can be traced back to the democratic protests in 2019, to less than a month.

According to people familiar with the matter, the cost of joining the American club is approximately US$60,000, and the club is preparing to shorten the waiting list again if its members are exodus.

An American executive who spoke anonymously in the quarantine area after traveling abroad said: “I have seen how the rest of the world works, and now I have a deeper feeling about what Hong Kong is doing. As the rest of the world develops , You realize this is unsustainable.”

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