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

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The former British colony’s reputation as an intercontinental fiscal centre has been battered all through the last two decades by its adherence to China’s unbending Covid limits. They have produced the metropolis significantly less desirable for expats and considerably more difficult for overseas executives to visit.

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

Lee did not give any coverage depth, nor did he handle expanding pushback towards the city’s controversial Covid policies and border controls that have alarmed lots of international corporations.

Before this yr, a survey of European businesses in Hong Kong found that almost half of them ended up thinking of relocating in the upcoming year.

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 possible to depart the metropolis.

“Hong Kong still retains enterprise opportunities but an array of difficulties, specifically draconian journey limitations and worsening US-China relations, weigh on sentiment,” the US report said.

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

Hong Kong’s quarantine policies are infamous between people and expats. At 1 place, the federal government necessary most inbound travelers to isolate in lodge rooms, on their possess dime, for 3 weeks, just one of the world’s longest isolation durations.

Despite the fact that Hong Kong officers have lifted flight bans and scaled back the quarantine prerequisites, an outflow of talent is currently playing out.

Even with out the Covid disaster, headhunters ended up acquiring hassle bringing talent to Hong Kong mainly because of Beijing’s growing oversight of the semi-autonomous territory.

Xi, in his speech at Lee’s inauguration ceremony on Friday, said Beijing would “entirely support Hong Kong” in “consolidating its standing as an worldwide economic, delivery and trade middle” and “preserving a free, open and controlled small business natural environment.”

Aside from enhancing Hong Kong’s latest posture in finance and shipping and delivery, Lee mentioned his federal government would also develop up the city’s technological know-how and innovation industries.

“We will establish rising industries, and establish Hong Kong into an international innovation heart,” Lee reported.

All through his speech, Lee extolled China’s Belt and Road and Better Bay Area initiatives, which he said have offered Hong Kong “limitless alternatives and limitless advancement area.”

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

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