George Leung, CEO of HKGCC
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Congratulations to John Lee who will step up to become Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR next month. He visited the Chamber back in April to hear the thoughts and concerns of the business community – a good sign that he is interested in learning from the insights of our members. We look forward to close cooperation in the months ahead.
Our first request of the new administration is to reopen our borders. There was considerable disappointment last month when outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that this would not happen under her watch. We hope that Mr Lee will take a different approach.
If Hong Kong is to retain its reputation as a premier business hub, we cannot remain closed off to the world. With most of the population now vaccinated, the risk from the Covid-19 virus is not what it was two years ago. If we don’t reopen soon, we will fall further off businesses’ and investors’ radar, which will ultimately make the task of reviving the economy even more difficult.
Lee has stated that he will prioritise streamlining the public administration. This is welcome news, as the Chamber has for many years been calling for a reduction in the bureaucracy that prevents businesses from fulfilling their potential.
In terms of business sectors, our status as a global financial hub remains solid, but we should not take this for granted. We need to maximize the opportunities to support the Mainland’s economic growth, facilitate the internationalization of the RMB, and work to become the Asian hub for green finance. We also need to broaden our horizons beyond our pillar industries, particularly in new technologies, to help diversify Hong Kong’s economy and make it more sustainable.
Manpower has long been a problem, which is now being exacerbated by a brain drain. We should consider measures such as tax incentives, better childcare services and improving vocational education to make Hong Kong a more attractive place to work for locals and overseas talent.
Land supply is another long-standing issue. The ambitious Northern Metropolis and Lantau Tomorrow plans will help, but in the shorter term, the Government should consider relaxing regulations to speed up development projects.
As the “voice of business” in Hong Kong, the Chamber plays an important role in policy discussion in the city. We depend on our members’ experience and expertise for our submissions to the Government, so I’d like to encourage you to participate in our surveys, and otherwise share your thoughts with us, to ensure that policymakers truly understand the concerns of Hong Kong businesses.
The new Chief Executive takes on the role at a pivotal point for the city and we have a lot of ground to make up. Once we can travel again, HKGCC is ready to work with the Government to promote Hong Kong as the best place in the world to do business, and drive the city towards a prosperous and vibrant future.