Hong Kong ongoing coverage – keep up to date
Hong Kong is one of the world’s biggest financial and commercial hubs, and a powerhouse in Asia. But this status is under threat as foreign workers weigh up the pros and cons of staying in the city, given the new landscape of violence and protests. Longer-term, there is the uncertainty over how China will react to such dissidence.
While foreign talent re-thinks being based out of Hong Kong, companies are also worried about their business operations in the troubled city. Its international reputation wasn’t helped last week when Fitch Ratings downgraded Hong Kong’s credit rating.
This came even after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam withdrew the controversial extradition bill that first sparked the demonstrations three months ago.
For many the damage has already been done to an economy that is home to the world’s fourth-biggest stock market and regional offices for hundreds of foreign companies and multi-nationals. Applications for general employment visas dropped 7% last month, compared to August 2018.
Hong Kong’s government knows its reputation is at risk. It recently took out full-page ads in international newspapers stating that: “We remain a safe, open, welcoming and cosmopolitan society and an internationally connected, vibrant and dynamic economy. We will no doubt bounce back. We always do.”
But for those professionals who moved to Hong Kong and their employers, they may not be so convinced. International employers have been considering the number and need for expat staff in Hong Kong, with some even going so far as to evacuate key personnel.
French insurer AXA has about 2,000 employees in Hong Kong with security teams regularly monitoring the situation in the city. AXA has told its managers to allow flexible working for employees there, including working remotely from home. Many of Hong Kong’s biggest banks have closed branches during the protects, including Standard Chartered and Citi.
Read HRM Asia’s previous news articles on the troubles in Hong Kong
Accountants join protests
Companies under pressure to choose sides
Employers work on keeping staff safe in Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific’s CEO resigns
Cathay Pacific warns employees about protesting