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Expats Quitting Hong Kong as a Result of its Strict Covid Rules

According to a key business group, more than 40% of its members are considering leaving Hong Kong because of the city’s draconian coronavirus regulations.

Border closures, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, are a key problem for those polled.

According to reporters, the organization’s president has now departed Hong Kong.

As part of mainland China’s strict zero-Covid policy, the Asian financial hub has among of the strictest coronavirus rules in the world.

The 2022 Business Sentiment Survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham HK) questioned 262 people and corporate leaders, many of whom had just relocated to the city from outside.

It was discovered that 44% of people claimed they may leave Hong Kong because of its border controls and social restrictions. In comparison, 26% of the businesses polled said they were contemplating moving.

“Companies are hesitant to depart, yet there are several concerns for employees. They have personal lives, worries, and families back home to consider “Tara Joseph, the departing president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, stated.

“One of the things that’s really bothering me right now is that there doesn’t appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel,” she explained.

According to the poll, Hong Kong’s Covid-19 limitations are creating major disruptions to businesses, delaying new investment and making it harder to recruit personnel.

Businesses, on the other hand, are optimistic about their prospects in the city, according to the study.

This is especially true in the financial services area, with over a third of respondents claiming that Hong Kong has improved its regional competitiveness in wealth management in the previous three years.

Many of those polled also stated that while some businesses and individuals left the area, other possibilities arose.

While businesses were generally upbeat, deteriorating US-China ties, the high cost of living, and other factors raised worries.

Almost 70% of respondents said their trust in Hong Kong’s rule of law had deteriorated in the previous year, citing events such as the incarceration of millionaire Jimmy Lai and Hong Kong’s government’s growing ties to Beijing as factors.

Ms Joseph is one of the city’s expats who has opted to depart.

She is now back in the United States and will step down as president of AmCham HK in March, claiming she has been unable to return to the city because Hong Kong closed its border with the United States.

She added of the city she’s called home for the past 20 years, “Even if I wanted to go back, I couldn’t.”

“I’m sad, but I’m also a realist. I’d like to see Hong Kong prosper.”

Bob Carlson
Bob Carlson
Bob Carlson is a business journalist, with over a decade of experience in the trenches of reporting up-to-date business news for publications all over the world. With a wealth of knowledge at his back, Bob strives to bring the most important insights into the business world for TheOptic daily.
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