Hong Kong’s new chief John Lee on Friday vowed to improve the city’s standing as a world wide business enterprise hub, but he gave no trace of diverging from Beijing’s insistence on stringent zero-Covid regulations.
The previous British colony’s reputation as an global economical heart has been battered all through the past two yrs by its adherence to China’s unbending Covid limitations. They have made the metropolis a lot less attractive for expats and significantly harder for overseas executives to pay a visit to.
Talking in Mandarin at his inauguration, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the chief govt of the Hong Kong authorities mentioned he would “consolidate” the city’s “inherent useful industries.”
Lee did not give any coverage detail, nor did he handle increasing pushback against the city’s controversial Covid policies and border controls that have alarmed numerous intercontinental organizations.
Hong Kong has very long been an significant gateway to mainland China and an East-West conduit for world wide organization. But the city’s foreseeable future has been called into problem by China’s moves to erode its autonomy — together with introducing a nationwide protection regulation in 2020 — and an exodus of talent because of to the Covid guidelines.
Previously this year, a study of European corporations in Hong Kong located that nearly half of them were thinking of relocating in the subsequent yr.
That tracked with a equivalent report from the American Chamber of Commerce in January, which discovered that 44% of expats and enterprises ended up likely to leave the metropolis.
“Hong Kong however retains business alternatives but an array of issues, primarily draconian vacation constraints and worsening US-China relations, weigh on sentiment,” the US report stated.
Hong Kong’s quarantine policies are notorious amid people and expats. At 1 level, the authorities essential most inbound travelers to isolate in resort rooms, on their very own dime, for three months, one of the world’s longest isolation periods.
Although Hong Kong officials have lifted flight bans and scaled back again the quarantine needs, an outflow of expertise is now playing out.
Even with out the Covid disaster, headhunters ended up owning hassle bringing talent to Hong Kong due to the fact of Beijing’s expanding oversight of the semi-autonomous territory.
Xi, in his speech at Lee’s inauguration ceremony on Friday, stated Beijing would “fully guidance Hong Kong” in “consolidating its status as an international economical, shipping and trade center” and “maintaining a absolutely free, open and regulated organization ecosystem.”
Apart from boosting Hong Kong’s present position in finance and shipping and delivery, Lee said his governing administration would also develop up the city’s technological know-how and innovation industries.
“We will establish rising industries, and develop Hong Kong into an global innovation heart,” Lee said.
In the course of his speech, Lee extolled China’s Belt and Street and Increased Bay Region initiatives, which he explained have given Hong Kong “unlimited possibilities and endless growth space.”
— Alex Stambaugh, Charlie Fong, and Allison Morrow contributed to this report.