Hong Kong has adhered to a version of China zero-Covid policy during the pandemic, hitting the economy Photo: AFP
business

Hong Kong replaced by Singapore as Asia's top finance center

16 Comments

Hong Kong has lost its crown as Asia's premier finance center to Singapore in a global ranking list where New York and London maintained their number one and two spots.

Singapore jumped three places to third in the twice-a-year Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) which assesses 119 cities around the world and was published late Thursday.

Hong Kong has adhered to a version of China's strict zero-COVID rules throughout the pandemic, battering the economy and deepening a brain drain as rival business hubs reopen.

The city still mandates three days of hotel quarantine for all international arrivals while its border with the Chinese mainland is mostly closed.

In contrast, Singapore successfully shifted to endemicity earlier this year and has reopened without restrictions.

The city-state is hosting a slew of financial and business conferences in the coming months as well as a Formula 1 night race next week, while about four million people are expected to visit this year.

In a 600-word statement responding to the latest GFCI ranking, Hong Kong's government focused on the city scoring a higher points rating than the year before.

"We will continue to listen to views and be bold in taking forward reforms to consolidate and strengthen Hong Kong's capital market and our role as an international financial center," the government said.

The statement did not mention the coronavirus or the ongoing pandemic controls.

San Francisco came in at number five in the survey, up two spots. Shanghai, which was shut down earlier this year under China's coronavirus controls, was number six followed by Los Angeles, Beijing and Shenzhen.

Paris took 10th spot, replacing Tokyo which fell to 16th place.

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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Singapore successfully shifted to endemicity earlier this year and has reopened without restrictions.

Great. So maybe I'll go soon. Singapore is fun for a couple of days. A great launch pad to Thailand, Vietnam, etc., as tickets from Tokyo can often be priced lower than other SE Asian destinations.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Singapore is certainly a great place to go to, if you want to travel around places other than Singapore.

It however, does have many disadvantages, especially if you wish to live and work there.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I really don't know why Hong Kong, still is deemed a Financial hub by Foreign Companies, especially now that its run by the CCP. Freedoms have gone - you can get arrested for expressing thoughts contrary to those of the CCP, and even Education has been revised to follow the CCP view upon things.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As predicted earlier, despite Japans posturing about taking over from Hong Kong, which was never going to happen for all the reasons everyone highlighted previously.

Singapore is well suited culturally, geographically and linguistically.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Singapore is well suited culturally, geographically and linguistically.

But most importantly it is an authoritarian one party police state that bends over backwards for business but doesn't tolerate democratic opposition or any of the other messy situations that big business doesn't like.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Singapore has long been a tax haven where illicit wealth can easily be parked.

Be it Myanmar’s junta, corrupt Indonesian politicians, tax cheats from India or wealthy Chinese businessmen, all are welcome to park their funds in Singapore without any questions asked.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The city still mandates three days of hotel quarantine for all international arrivals while its border with the Chinese mainland is mostly closed.

Not from next Monday.

But most importantly it is an authoritarian one party police state that bends over backwards for business but doesn't tolerate democratic opposition or any of the other messy situations that big business doesn't like.

I really can't tell whether you were referring to HK or Singapore.

Singapore was nice for a few days vacation. Just remember not to bring chewing gum. And just be careful, they have the death penalty for some crimes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And just be careful, they have the death penalty for some crimes.

Lots of countries have the death penalty for some crimes, including Japan.

My last visit to Singapore had me worried over little crimes that I didn't know where crimes at all, before reviewing the warning list.

I'd be willing to go back to Singapore, but not Hong Kong. While Singapore has many rules, I was never worried that saying the wrong things would get me arrested.

What I do remember mainly is that I always felt watched due to the pervasive street cameras, that alcohol was expensive, all entertainment was expensive, and that it was hot and muggy, all the time. That's the weather at 3° from the equator on an ocean.

And don't walk on the grass there.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Great. So maybe I'll go soon. Singapore is fun for a couple of days"

That's the catch "couple of days", try living/working there, you will immediately run back to Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Never had any desire what-so-ever to visit HongKong..who in their right mind would go there now…but I’ll be first on the plane (or boat) to Taiwan

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Never had any desire what-so-ever to visit HongKong.

It is ruined by the CCP now but in the past it was one of the most amazing cities in the world. Not someplace I would ever want to live but certainly someplace to see. My one port call there was 1988 but I remember it like it was yesterday.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'd be willing to go back to Singapore, but not Hong Kong. While Singapore has many rules, I was never worried that saying the wrong things would get me arrested.

Maybe, maybe not. A pair of correspondents for Time Magazine some years ago were arrested, tried and sent to prison for writing the unvarnished truth about the disreputable way the PAP came to power and maintains their power there. Before their arrest I had written pretty much the same things they wrote as part of my graduate research on the effects of income on socio-political instability. I was refuting a data set that included Singapore among the many nations listed as democracies. Not that anyone other than my peers at school and my professors would remember what I wrote, but I have indeed put on paper (back in the day, lol) words that could get me arrested in Singapore. I will certainly never set foot there again for any reason.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

One of the most unnerving things I experienced in Singapore was the potty monitor. The men's and ladie's rooms of this building were adjacent, with a booth in between them in which the potty monitor sat. She could see both rest rooms, and you could look through both of her open windows from the men's room to the ladie's room. Her job was to make sure you flushed. If you did not there was a $1000 SD fine and I was not going to be the one to test her ability to either summon a cop or dash out of that booth and tackle me to effect the arrest !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

ASEAN and Idia are the world's growth centers now. China will also start to grow at similarly high rates sooner or later. Many in the west have a fixated idea that a one-party state should be condemned just for being a one-party state. But the next growth center doesn't need to have the Western-style government model with frequent government changes. Western-style government models tend to generate conflict between two parties in a way that is not really conducive to the economic growth of Asian countries. The US-led western world also tends to have a glaring income gap with so much homelessness. In fact, the US is now like a class society where the ruling elites live like royalties and aristocrats. When the state grows its economy and reduces poverty in relative harmony and safety in which you feel safe to walk at night in an ordinary neighborhood, it's good regardless of whether it's a one-party state or not.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not surprising. The days of Hong Kong as a desirable location are over. Who wants to put their business or money at risk of being co trolled by the CCP?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One of the most unnerving things I experienced in Singapore was the potty monitor.

I had a similar, but different experience in a Japanese corporate toilet. Was "going" when a cleaning lady and another man entered. She cleaned, he stood next to me. They chatted the entire time. This wasn't a coed toilet. It was at a huge, multinational, company.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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