Hong Kong will not be the same again. The protests of 2019 saw widespread disruption to commuters, and businesses forced to shut. Now with the passing of the national security law, this will ruin Hong Kong’s reputation as a world city.
The ambiguity and reach of the National Security Law have made businesses and entrepreneurs anxious. They won’t know if they will inadvertently breach the law, and forced to delete or hand over data or even employees, over for investigation. Many companies, investors and businesspeople are exiting Hong Kong. It is wise for you to start planning.
This has particularly upset Hong Kong’s tech industry as it was on its way to being a hub. There is concern from their foreign clients on the risks of running digital services under China’s thumb. Tech companies worry about data security, export controls, or difficulties hiring or moving talent to the city. “We are now in a dilemma. If we follow the law in Hong Kong, we may violate other countries’ regulations,” said Ben Cheng, co-founder of software company Oursky. “We worry that people will not trust us someday if we tell them we are a Hong Kong-based company.”
Many businesses are moving operations away from Hong Kong. Smaller and more nimble companies – startups – are moving data and people out. Tech giants like Facebook, Alphabet, Google, Twitter, etc are faced by a lot of uncertainty. They are assessing if they can comply with the security law. If tariffs or export controls made for China, are extended to Hong Kong, this could affect billions of dollars of transhipment and shrink revenues of foreign firms based in Hong Kong that are involved in the whole ecosystem—from logistics and transportation to legal and banking activities.
Investors are very cautious about people and businesses with ties to China, and the security law “is like the last nail in the coffin,” said Salandy-Defour, who is planning to relocate to Singapore. Investors who have parked sizable capital gains in Hong Kong, it now appears within China’s grasp. Substantial wealth management activity has been moved by businesses from Hong Kong to Singapore.
Why Move to Singapore?
Singapore is the leading choice for business relocation, considering judicial similarities and government regulations. Until recent events, Hong Kong and Singapore were competing neck to neck in many sectors and were similar as one of Asia’s top centres for business. Singapore remains an open and attractive financial, logistics and technology hub in Asia, and with its low taxes and conducive business climate, has drawn many foreigners to relocate their business to Singapore. You can’t beat the fact that it’s only a 4-hour flight from Hong Kong and a sovereign nation.
Given the current circumstances, the choice to relocate your business to Singapore seems like the obvious choice. You may be eligible to live permanently in Singapore, as a Singapore PR.