HK calls for more investments from Malaysia

HK’s fundamentals as a free, open and dynamic city with a stable and robust economy, and financial system have remained intact and healthy

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR/ pic by BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG is urging Malaysian businesses to explore opportunities of investment in the city amid ongoing social unrest, as its economic fundamental remains solid, said the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah (picture).

Yau said Hong Kong’s fundamentals as a free, open and dynamic city with a stable and robust economy, and financial system have remained intact and healthy.

“You may already know about the social disruption we are facing at the moment, which exercise further downward pressure to our local economy.

“Despite all these, I would say Hong Kong’s fundamental set-up and core strengths have not undergone any changes,” he told reporters at the media briefing of Hong Kong Business Seminar by Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that Hong Kong is also offering to partner Malaysia to support new projects and investments, especially in infrastructure projects in the region or other countries.

“There are many ways our professional services can partner with Malaysia as the country embarks on different large scale development projects,” he said.

Yau highlighted Hong Kong’s engineering and architectural consultancy services could help with project planning, preliminary design, feasibility studies and more.

“When it is time to get the mathematics right, our risk assessment professionals and economists would furnish your company with the best modelling they could offer. After the infrastructure deal is struck, we have professionals that take pride in contract management and project supervision.

“If unfortunately legal problems arise, Hong Kong’s arbitration and dispute settlement professionals could step in and offer a way out,” he added.

According to him, the delegation from Hong Kong will also meet with the management or MalaysiaChina Kuantan Industrial Park for possible collaboration.

He also called for more Malaysian businesses to explore the potential of making Hong Kong as their base since the recent unrest has created better value for potential companies.

“Companies coming into Hong Kong now gets better value as cost of doing business is lower. Hong Kong is unique as a special administrative region of China,” Yau said.

Yau emphasised on Hong Kong’s strategic location next to China that acts as a “two-way street”, which in turn allows companies to penetrate other nearby markets.

“This is also the case for exporting to the US, as Hong Kong exports to the US are not subject to US tariffs.

“The free trade agreement recently signed between Hong Kong and Asean will also help further strengthen trade with Malaysia. In a time of trade conflicts, I believe this agreement sends a strong signal to our businesses that are in dire need of certainty and clarity,” he added.

Protests have gripped Hong Kong since June 2019, sparked by highly controversial legislation to extradite Hong Kongers convicted of crimes to mainland China.

This has adversely impacted Hong Kong’s economic growth during the third quarter when it contracted 2.9% year-on-year.

Despite that, the World Bank recently ranked the city-state as third among 190 countries for ease of doing business in 2019, improving from its fourth position in 2018.

Among the 10 Asean member states, Malaysia is Hong Kong’s second-largest partner in trade of goods and overall eight largest trade partners in 2018.

“Last year, we saw a remarkable growth of 56% compared to 2017, amounting to US$28.6 billion (RM120.12 billion),” he said, adding that Hong Kong was Malaysia’s seventh-largest trading partner, fourth-largest export market and 15th-largest source of import in 2018.