Months after the rest of the world has moved on from the pandemic mode, Hong Kong has just announced the lift of all Covid curbs on arrival, leaving behind 3 years on the pause button.
The general public is ecstatic and the city is ready to claim back its once indisputable title of “Asia’s World City”.
However, a lot has changed in the past 3 years:
A large part of expats and residents with a foreign passport have fled the country leading to a population decline of 1.6% year on year (data from the Census & Statistics Department, August 2022).
Retail and hospitality have been hindered by the draconian quarantine measures and constant dining-in limitations.
Many small businesses & luxury shops have been forced to close their doors due to the decline in traffic and the drop in tourism to close to zero.
Several global companies have relocated their Asia Pacific headquarter/ senior teams to other locations, notably Singapore.
There has been a lot of damage done. The question is, is it irreversible?
With Hong Kong re-opening up to the world, there are opportunities everywhere:
The country has the potential to attract qualified foreign labour and top talent again to increase diversity in the community and the workplace.
Hong Kong plays an extraordinary role as an efficient and cost-effective gateway to enter the Chinese market. It also has the resources and finance to position itself as an incubator of start-ups, particularly in new technologies, Web 3.0.
In terms of infrastructure, it can capitalise on the Greater Bay Area’s megalopolis’ development (South China’s simulation of US’s Great Bay Area) to build economies of scale and leverage the efficient transport and services to become the destination of choice for Asian conferences, forums & events.
A strong PR campaign is needed
Of course, all of this will require a huge PR campaign and a big and blurry question mark hoovers over Hong Kong:
What is the role the Chinese Communist Party wants Hong Kong to play?
Hong Kong has not been on the radar for three long years.
It’s given its back to the world for too long but it’s time to change that story.
Hong Kong is open for business.
Hong Kong is open for the international community.
That’s the message the world needs to hear but will it land?