DutchCham update current situation Hong Kong
Dutch business community cautiously optimistic
The Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is keeping close contact with its members to monitor the unrest situation in Hong Kong and the effect it has on its members. In the past six months, we have been hosting several closed-door meetings to exchange views and also gathered feedback recently with a member survey regarding the current situation.
The survey results will give you an insight of the current view, issues and concerns of the Dutch business community in Hong Kong.
Has your company been affected by the protest the last 2 months?
All businesses have been affected to some degree in their daily operations. Especially commuting to and from work, adjusted business hours and incoming guests were mentioned as most affected areas. Also some companies indicated they have postponed investment activities and new product launches as well as hiring of employees.
In general business activities have not yet been relocated to other locations. In the few cases where this did happen, China (including Greater Bay Area) was mentioned most, followed by Singapore and Europe.
Is the Dutch business community still confident in Hong Kong as business location?
Less than 5% felt Hong Kong is not reliable nor safe anymore for business travellers, where it was noted that often global headquarters abroad are leading in this decision. A handful of respondents have even lost confidence in Hong Kong as location for their business and is prepared to move. However, the majority is still positive and rely on short-term business contingency plans with adjusting business hours and working from home, as the turmoil is often location specific. Furthermore, incoming guests need more guidance with respect to hotel, local transportation and how to stay away from protests. Overall, the Dutch business community is still cautiously optimistic about the city. Over 80% of the respondents are hopeful that the local district council elections outcome will contribute to some extent to restoring calm and peace in Hong Kong.
When asked about important reasons for companies to lose faith and leave the city, a few points were outstanding. On one hand a continuous disruption of public transport and closing of schools would be worrying, but equally important would be political pressure on companies and/or individuals, limited freedom of speech and press or a non-functioning ‘One Country, Two Systems’.
Protecting the economic position and market competitiveness of Hong Kong in the long term is of importance to the Dutch Chamber and its members. The high degree of autonomy and transparency of Hong Kong as well as the fundamental rights of freedom, the rule of law and independent judiciary, as guaranteed under the framework of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, are critical to its success. Although the Dutch Chamber and community do not take a position on political issues, we do believe, in the interest of everyone, a constructive dialogue is necessary to find a peaceful solution to restore stability and confidence as soon as possible in 2020.
Read here the statement Dutch Chamber issued together with European Chamber in August 2019.