But lately, as Beijing has tightened its grip on the former British colony, those firms are increasingly eyeing the exits.
Among the firms planning to leave, 25% said they would fully relocate out of Hong Kong in the next 12 months, while 24% plan to relocate at least partially. Only 17% of the companies said they don’t have any relocation plans for the next 12 months.
The city’s “zero Covid” strategy led to severe consequences for businesses and residents, the report from the European Chamber of Commerce said. Hong Kong’s “biggest advantage” — its global connectivity and proximity to mainland China —”has been almost completely disabled,” the Chamber said.
Hong Kong’s quarantines are notorious among residents and expats. At one point, the government required most inbound travelers to self-isolate in hotel rooms, on their own dime, for three weeks, one of the world’s longest isolation periods.
The European survey released Thursday tracks with a similar report from the American Chamber of Commerce in January, which found that 44% of expats and businesses are likely to leave the city, citing Covid-related restrictions.
“Hong Kong still holds business opportunities but an array of issues, especially draconian travel restrictions and worsening US-China relations, weigh on sentiment,” the US report said.
For some, the travel restrictions have proven to be a final straw after years of watching Beijing encroach on Hong Kong’s policy.
More than 80% of US firms in Hong Kong said they had been impacted by the national security law, according to the American Chamber of Commerce report. Nearly half saw staff morale take a hit and said they lost employees who decided to emigrate.