Hong Kong has always maintained a long-celebrated status as an Asian financial hub. However, new visas issued to foreign workers in the financial sector dipped by 49 per cent, thanks to the strict COVID guidelines. Moreover, with Hong Kong’s changing face during the pandemic, Singapore became an international financial hub. However, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po believes that Hong Kong surpasses Singapore as a global financial hub in several ways.
Hong Kong has managed to maintain its status as a larger market than Singapore. With an old history as a business centre, Hong Kong secured third place after New York and London in the 2022 Global Financial Centres Index. On the other hand, Singapore ranked sixth. Hong Kong also featured in the top four for human capital infrastructure, business environment, and general reputation.
Singapore overtook Hong Kong as financial capital
However, in the recent past, Hong Kong has slipped behind Singapore. Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore successfully shifted to endemicity and has reopened without restrictions. Apart from reopening for business, Singapore has been hosting a slew of financial and industry conferences and Formula 1, welcoming thousands of visitors.
As a result, Hong Kong has lost its crown as Asia’s premier finance centre to Singapore. While London and New York maintained their positions in the top two, Singapore jumped three places to third in the Global Financial Centres Index. However, with the lifting of hotel quarantine, Hong Kong sees the light at the end of the tunnel. It hopes to attract talent and maintain competitiveness.
Hong Kong is hosting several business summits
Despite all its challenges, Hong Kong has outperformed Singapore as an international financial hub in several ways. According to reports, Hong Kong is extending its two-day global investment summit to three. The investment summit, organised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority from November 1 to November 3, will help reboot the city’s international image. The Investment Summit is expected to attract over 200 financiers. The city will also host a significant fintech festival from November 2 to November 4.
According to Paul Chan, Hong Kong has been doing better than Singapore in six aspects: the financial market’s overall contribution, the stock market’s value and total turnover, yuan and foreign exchange, bonds, and asset and wealth management. As a result, Hong Kong’s economic contribution reached US$76 billion in 2020, equivalent to 23 per cent of the GDP and 1.5 times the size of Singapore’s.