AmCham survey shows pessimistic future for Hong Kong’s trade

The latest AmCham ‘temperature checking’ survey in Hong Kong shows that most businesses expect the territory to remain as their regional headquarters for the next three years, though downsizing is already taking shape due to cost cutting and concerns over HK’s future as a major business hub

Amcham said in a news release that the survey was carried out ‘to garner a holistic view across many business sectors, and to focus on what Hong Kong needs to do to maintain its edge and renew confidence.’

It added: ‘In a nutshell, AmCham companies are cautiously optimistic for the year though captions are still flashing about a long list of unresolved issues and there is a growing splinter of views over Hong Kong’s future. This makes for messier reading but suggests a trend of an evolving city.’

Business worries in Hong Kong about implementation National Security Law

The survey findings show that overall there are starkly opposed views on the outlook for Hong Kong with some expecting business to rebound while others see risks ahead following implementation of the National Security Law.

‘A third of those surveyed feel HK has become less competitive as an international business hub,’ the survey findings showed.

AmCham members interviewed in the survey expect a challenging 2021 after disruptions brought by Covid-19, violent street protests, the National Security Law, and rising US-China friction in 2020.

‘Half of those surveyed are cautiously optimistic they will perform better in 2021, but 40 per cent expect the business environment to remain unstable or worsen.

Trade tension between US and China remains a business concern for Hong Kong

‘Troubled US-China relations remain the top business concern for 2021 along with Hong Kong’s fractious political situation, Hong Kong government policies, a resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the cost of doing business in HK.

‘A majority of respondents feel the HK government needs to present a clear, transparent strategy when deciding on Covid related business and school closures.’

On the Greater Bay Area (GBA), respondents viewed it as an opportunity for future profits with access to the region’s vast consumer market a key draw. However, just as many respondents view Vietnam as an increasingly important market with new opportunities arising in countries such as India.