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Hong Kong Investment Promotion chief visits Singapore to promote Hong Kong’s long-term business opportunities

On Monday (2 Sep), the Director-General of Investment Promotion of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr Stephen Phillips, began his ambassadorial visit to Singapore as part of Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK)’s latest efforts to promote Hong Kong’s business attractions.

During the course of his visit, Mr Phillips will be meeting with leaders from various companies that have plans to set up a presence in Hong Kong, including those in the creative industries, healthcare, innovative food, and fintech sectors; as well as various business and professional services companies.

He will also be speaking at a roundtable event supported by Enterprise Singapore to update business communities about the opportunities Hong Kong has to offer related to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development.

“Hong Kong and Singapore share some similar characteristics as Asia’s international business cities, yet both are unique in terms of geographical locations and business ecosystems. Hong Kong’s special functions in the Greater Bay Area development provide an unrivalled leverage point for Singaporean companies and startups to capture new opportunities in the city and Mainland China over the long run,” said Mr Phillips.

“The Outline Development Plan for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has set out Hong Kong’s multiple roles, among other things as an international financial city, a global innovation hub and the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region. Over the long run, these areas of work are all conducive to developing Hong Kong further as an international metropolis with enhanced competitiveness,” he added.

Hong Kong’s economic outlook appears to be increasingly dismal as protests escalate into violence and university boycott recently, as seen in their effect on the city’s retail and tourism sectors.

Bloomberg quoted Hong Kong’s Retail Management Association as saying that the majority of Hong Kong retailers observed a shocking fall in sales at over 50 per cent last month, while a Hong Kong lawmaker with a focus on tourism told Bloomberg that the Special Administrative Region’s tourism sector will “become even worse in the first half” of this month.

However, not all hope is lost for Hong Kong’s economy as Hong Kong’s real estate sector, particularly its commercial/office developments, appears to be growing.

As reported by South China Morning Post (SCMP) earlier today, citing a report published by real estate adviser Cushman & Wakefield, Hong Kong garnered more than 60 per cent of Chinese outbound real estate investment within the first half of this year, which is equal to the figures for the whole of 2018.

The article also pointed out that Hong Kong’s importance to China is evident in the office market, mainly in the Central district, where occupancy costs remain the highest globally. This is partially due to the significant influx of mainland firms over the past few years.

Additionally, statistical data from property adviser CBRE revealed that Chinese companies, which have been willing to pay above market rental rates to be based in Hong Kong’s prestigious Central business district, made up nearly half of the entire leasing activity in the city’s office market between March 2016 and March 2019.

What’s more, SCMP noted that more than half of the demand from mainland companies are from financial firms, “with the bulk of Chinese banking and finance tenants taking up space in greater Central, which includes the Admiralty and Sheung Wan districts”.