Since the full reopening of travel between mainland China and Hong Kong earlier this year, the Hong Kong market has been rapidly recovering its heat.
During the recent May Day holiday, bustling crowds filled commercial centers like Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. Many shops saw long queues forming outside, with a significant number of mainland Chinese tourists coming with their suitcases to shop.
In the past period, the sharp decline in interviewed Hong Kong tourists had a significant impact, causing the local retail industry to slump. In 2021, the number of mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong was only 66,000, a 97.6% decrease compared to 2020. In 2022, the number of mainland visitors was only 370,000.
The local tourism and catering industries in Hong Kong were directly affected, along with the loss of local talent resources and the rise of Singapore as a competitor. Some Hong Kong residents began to feel a sense of crisis. “It feels nostalgic and helpless, but it was also expected,” lamented Kyle, a local gas station operator in Hong Kong.
In September 2022, according to the 32nd edition of the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI32) jointly released by the Chinese high-end think tank China Development Institute (Shenzhen) and the UK-based think tank Z/Yen Group, Singapore surpassed Hong Kong as the largest financial center in Asia and rose to the position of the third-largest global financial center. A large amount of capital and talent flowed into Singapore, driving local rents to surpass those in Hong Kong and become the most expensive in the Asia-Pacific region.
With the revival of Hong Kong’s heat after the reopening of travel, the “battle for elite talent” has also intensified. After Singapore launched the “Tech.Pass” program, Hong Kong announced measures such as the “Premium Talent Admission Scheme” and the restart of the investment immigration program to attract talent and promote investment.
Driven by the policies of open travel and talent attraction, since the beginning of this year, entrepreneur Wang Xin has received five times more inquiries about talent recruitment and studying in Hong Kong compared to last year. Jiang Wen, a professional in the Hong Kong financial insurance industry, has also returned to the working intensity he experienced before the pandemic.
“Now my schedule is packed every day. Some insurance companies may have already achieved performance equivalent to a year in 2019 in less than six months due to the demand from mainland Chinese customers coming to Hong Kong. Where there are people, there is hope and opportunity!” Jiang Wen exclaimed in the face of the returning crowds to Hong Kong.