Asia Due to continuing protests, 91% of Hong Kong businesses aim to move...

Due to continuing protests, 91% of Hong Kong businesses aim to move to Singapore, American Chamber of Commerce (SG) survey reveals

Many of the firms — whether they were moving or not — believe that the demonstrations and the resulting chaos were actually beneficial to the Lion City.

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A survey reveals that 120 Hong Kong businesses intend to move out from the beleaguered city and that 91% of these firms have eyed Singapore as the preferred destination.

The survey states this results from the continuing protests in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported.

The survey was carried out by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham).

The audit further disclosed that 80% of the respondents said the protests have influenced their decision to stop future investment in Hong Kong.

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Many of the firms — whether they were moving or not — believe that the demonstrations and the resulting chaos were actually beneficial to the Lion City.

However, Singapore officials are cautious. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing is in the opinion that continued disruptions to Hong Kong’s stability will eventually have bigger harmful effects on Singapore because of the close ties established between the two cities.

Why they’re moving out

These businesses have a good reason to worry. The city was already showing signs from the strains of the economic downturn in China and the country’s escalating trade war with the US. The second quarter was the weakest since 2009. Retail sales fell 6.7% in June and the number of tourist arrivals slackened by 13% in the same month.

The city’s astoundingly upscale property market, where average values are 21 times higher than the median income, has also been squeaking.

The regular blaze of rebellion and provocation by hundreds of thousands of citizens against the extensively abhorred government and the ripple effect of strikes in the aviation, transportation and healthcare sectors appear certain to decelerate growth further in the coming months.

The tumult has paralysed major infrastructures such as tunnels and highways, the international airport and the city’s subway trains. Top official, Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, admits that the protests have damaged the economy a lot more than the 2003 SARs epidemic and the 2008 financial crisis.

However, she refused to acknowledge the battle-cry of demonstrators’ who are calling for her resignation.

Tourism, which accounted for nearly 5% of the Hong Kong’s GDP and designated as one of “Four Key Industries” by the Hong Kong government, has also taken a massive hit.

A Hong Kong Tourism Board spokesperson told TIME that preliminary figures show a double-digit percentage decline in the number of visitor arrivals in the first half of August compared to the same period in 2018, and that the number of bookings in September and October has significantly dropped.

“A number of startups, including fintech companies, are actively exploring alternative markets, particularly Singapore, as a base for their future operations in an effort to hedge their exposure to the ongoing social unrest in the city,” Benjamin Quinlan, CEO and managing partner of an independent strategy consultancy firm Quinlan and Associates, tells TIME.

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