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


The former British colony’s popularity as an global monetary middle has been battered throughout the very last two a long time by its adherence to China’s unbending Covid restrictions. They have designed the metropolis less eye-catching for expats and considerably harder for international executives to stop by.

Speaking in Mandarin at his inauguration, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the main executive of the Hong Kong govt stated he would “consolidate” the city’s “inherent advantageous industries.”

Lee did not give any coverage depth, nor did he deal with escalating pushback against the city’s controversial Covid procedures and border controls that have alarmed quite a few international companies.

Before this yr, a survey of European companies in Hong Kong observed that virtually 50 % of them ended up looking at relocating in the subsequent 12 months.

That tracked with a very similar report from the American Chamber of Commerce in January, which discovered that 44% of expats and organizations had been very likely to depart the metropolis.

“Hong Kong nonetheless holds business enterprise possibilities but an array of troubles, primarily draconian travel limits and worsening US-China relations, weigh on sentiment,” the US report reported.

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

Hong Kong’s quarantine procedures are notorious among the people and expats. At a person stage, the governing administration expected most inbound travelers to isolate in hotel rooms, on their very own dime, for three months, a person of the world’s longest isolation intervals.

Whilst Hong Kong officers have lifted flight bans and scaled again the quarantine requirements, an outflow of talent is currently playing out.

Even with out the Covid disaster, headhunters had been obtaining difficulties bringing expertise to Hong Kong for the reason that of Beijing’s escalating oversight of the semi-autonomous territory.

Xi, in his speech at Lee’s inauguration ceremony on Friday, reported Beijing would “totally aid Hong Kong” in “consolidating its standing as an intercontinental economic, shipping and trade center” and “maintaining a totally free, open and regulated business natural environment.”

Apart from maximizing Hong Kong’s present place in finance and shipping, Lee mentioned his government would also build up the city’s technological know-how and innovation industries.

“We will acquire emerging industries, and construct Hong Kong into an intercontinental innovation middle,” Lee reported.

During his speech, Lee extolled China’s Belt and Street and Better Bay Place initiatives, which he reported have presented Hong Kong “endless prospects and unlimited growth room.”

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


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