John Lee: Hong Kong leader vows to shore up global business role

ByKristen Amber

Jul 8, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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The former British colony’s standing as an intercontinental economical center has been battered all through the very last two decades by its adherence to China’s unbending Covid restrictions. They have made the city significantly less desirable for expats and substantially harder for international executives to stop by.

Speaking in Mandarin at his inauguration, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the chief government of the Hong Kong authorities explained he would “consolidate” the city’s “inherent beneficial industries.”

Lee failed to give any plan depth, nor did he tackle increasing pushback in opposition to the city’s controversial Covid procedures and border controls that have alarmed numerous global businesses.

Before this yr, a survey of European firms in Hong Kong uncovered that nearly fifty percent of them were looking at relocating in the subsequent 12 months.

That tracked with a equivalent report from the American Chamber of Commerce in January, which discovered that 44% of expats and firms have been most likely to go away the town.

“Hong Kong nonetheless holds small business chances but an array of problems, specially draconian vacation limits and worsening US-China relations, weigh on sentiment,” the US report stated.

Hong Kong has only one real rival for businesses thinking about leaving

Hong Kong’s quarantine regulations are notorious among the people and expats. At 1 point, the govt needed most inbound tourists to isolate in hotel rooms, on their individual dime, for 3 weeks, a person of the world’s longest isolation intervals.

While Hong Kong officers have lifted flight bans and scaled back the quarantine necessities, an outflow of talent is by now enjoying out.

Even with out the Covid disaster, headhunters ended up having difficulties bringing talent to Hong Kong simply because of Beijing’s developing oversight of the semi-autonomous territory.

Xi, in his speech at Lee’s inauguration ceremony on Friday, mentioned Beijing would “entirely assistance Hong Kong” in “consolidating its position as an worldwide economical, delivery and trade centre” and “preserving a free, open up and regulated organization atmosphere.”

Aside from improving Hong Kong’s recent posture in finance and delivery, Lee stated his federal government would also build up the city’s technological innovation and innovation industries.

“We will develop emerging industries, and develop Hong Kong into an worldwide innovation middle,” Lee reported.

During his speech, Lee extolled China’s Belt and Road and Greater Bay Place initiatives, which he explained have given Hong Kong “unlimited alternatives and endless enhancement space.”

Alex Stambaugh, Charlie Fong, and Allison Morrow contributed to this report.

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