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Hong Kong is jeopardizing its global financial status due to the isolation of Covid


Over the past two months, there has been more outspoken criticism of Hong Kong government policy in business and financial terms than in the two years of political and social turmoil.

The slow spread of Covid-19 vaccines, combined with the failure of the outbreak plan, finally ignited the area’s bankers.

Hong Kong’s financial services sector has a gilded status, paying more than one-fifth of the area’s gross domestic product each year. About 70 of the world’s 100 largest banks have operations in the Chinese city, so far they have been largely protected from the effects of Beijing’s tightening in Hong Kong.

Now the bankers are revolting. It has been more than 100 days since the vaccines were released from Hong Kong, with only 17 percent of adults and less than 5 percent of people over the age of 70 being struck. That’s more than half the number in London and Singapore.

The disappointing vaccination program, which in part erodes widespread distrust of the government, dashed the hopes of people in Hong Kong traveling internationally, possibly until next year. The borders remain closed to foreign visitors, and a two- to three-week hotel quarantine for returning residents has resulted in a de facto blockade, now in its second year.

Although the government is trying to improve the level of vaccines, its program still needs to be linked to a border reopening strategy. This has led to fears that the city will fall behind when Europe և the United States reopens this summer, at a crucial time as a global financial hub.

“We are effectively announcing that we are closed to business,” said a Wall Street banker in Hong Kong this week. “Hong Kong’s position as a potential financial center is in doubt.”

Frederick Golobb, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in the area, says quarantine rules mean “Hong Kong may lose its competitive advantage in attracting high talent” and that people are leaving “forever”.

Even the HSBC that was has burned before Commenting on Hong Kong’s policy, he urged the government that “public health and the gradual normalization of business travel can coexist.”

Turning to the epidemic, Hong Kong fell into a convincing experience. How long can an international financial center survive without foreign travel? How long will his large community of emigrants have to endure not being able to go abroad? How much time can airlines and hotels spend without business travel or tourism? The government has yet to set a timetable that will allow these businesses and individuals to plan ahead.

Hong Kong chief executive Kerry Lam has said he “will not sacrifice the security of the people of Hong Kong just to reopen the borders.” But like other places that have successfully suppressed the virus (Hong Kong has only 210 deaths in a population of 7.5 million), the area is now in danger of being hit by small outbreaks and extreme restrictions. The proposed corridor with Singapore has been delayed twice due to an increase in accidents.

They were the heads of the largest international banks in Hong Kong briefly excited Last week, the government announced that all four of the company’s executives could fly every month without quarantining. The small print has since eased the mood. It clarified that at the end of each day of meetings they should return to quarantine. “It’s like a day release for prisoners,” said David Webb, a senior activist investor.

So far, Hong Kong has vigorously revived its vaccination campaign. Local newspapers were plastered with advertisements. Entrepreneurs have been encouraged do their part. Vaccine fixations are rising.

But business is still confused about Hong Kong’s goals. Is it to reopen the world before Asian business centers like Singapore or to open the border with mainland China? If the latter, Hong Kong would be at the beijing order for its schedule of reopening international travel. This would probably mean a much longer delay than if the decision to travel were made to Hong Kong alone.

Hong Kong only has so far Approved quarantine trip For Tencent պետական ​​ib Alibaba մայր մայր ib պետական ​​և և For some members of the international financial community, this is a signal that Hong Kong has accepted its destiny as a global financial hub for China, which is in danger of becoming overly dependent on Chinese capital.

tabby.kinder@ft.com:



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