Hong Kong’s new quarantine period for international arrivals takes effect today.
Under the revised procedures, travelers must stay in a hotel for 14 days and subsequently undertake a seven-day self-monitoring and testing period. Flight bans remain in place for eight countries, notably the US, UK, and Australia. These restrictions, along with others under Hong Kong’s zero-COVID-19 policy, have made businesses hesitant to continue operations in the city.
Singapore has presented itself as an alternative financial hub to Hong Kong. Many corporations, notably within the financial industry, have already moved or are considering moving operations to Singapore. Banks like Australia’s National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank, as well as Wells Fargo, HSBC, and Commerzbank, among others, have downsized staff numbers and moved workers to Singapore. Consequently, given greater work opportunities and higher salary rates, many other financial workers have moved to Singapore.
With estimates that the city will not reopen until early 2024, a more significant exodus of expatriates is likely to increase from mid-2022. Until China ends its zero-COVID-19 policy and their mRNA vaccine is fully developed—which will take until 2023 at the earliest—expect Hong Kong’s status as Asia’s leading financial hub to continue to decline.
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Alan is an analyst with the Current Developments team, focusing on security and politics, particularly within the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Africa. He contributes regularly to the Daily Brief.