October 5, 2022

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

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Hong Kong
CNN Organization
 — 

Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee on Friday vowed to bolster the city’s standing as a world-wide organization hub, but he gave no hint of diverging from Beijing’s insistence on demanding zero-Covid procedures.

The previous British colony’s popularity as an worldwide monetary middle has been battered for the duration of the very last two years by its adherence to China’s unbending Covid constraints. They have made the metropolis much less interesting for expats and much more challenging for international executives to take a look at.

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

Lee did not give any coverage detail, nor did he tackle growing pushback from the city’s controversial Covid guidelines and border controls that have alarmed several worldwide organizations.

Hong Kong has very long been an essential gateway to mainland China and an East-West conduit for world business enterprise. But the city’s upcoming has been named into query by China’s moves to erode its autonomy — including introducing a national safety law in 2020 — and an exodus of talent because of to the Covid procedures.

Previously this year, a survey of European corporations in Hong Kong discovered that just about fifty percent of them have been considering relocating in the future yr.

That tracked with a very similar report from the American Chamber of Commerce in January, which identified that 44% of expats and companies had been most likely to leave the town.

“Hong Kong however retains organization prospects but an array of difficulties, specifically draconian journey limitations and worsening US-China relations, weigh on sentiment,” the US report mentioned.

Hong Kong’s quarantine guidelines are infamous amongst inhabitants and expats. At a person place, the govt required most inbound tourists to isolate in resort rooms, on their own dime, for three months, a single of the world’s longest isolation durations.

While Hong Kong officers have lifted flight bans and scaled back the quarantine specifications, an outflow of talent is presently participating in out.

Even without having the Covid disaster, headhunters ended up acquiring issues bringing expertise to Hong Kong simply because of Beijing’s increasing oversight of the semi-autonomous territory.

Xi, in his speech at Lee’s inauguration ceremony on Friday, said Beijing would “fully assistance Hong Kong” in “consolidating its standing as an international financial, transport and trade center” and “maintaining a free of charge, open up and controlled enterprise natural environment.”

Aside from improving Hong Kong’s present-day placement in finance and transport, Lee mentioned his authorities would also develop up the city’s technologies and innovation industries.

“We will create emerging industries, and make Hong Kong into an international innovation middle,” Lee mentioned.

During his speech, Lee extolled China’s Belt and Highway and Greater Bay Space initiatives, which he mentioned have provided Hong Kong “unlimited opportunities and limitless progress area.”

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

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