HK to remain key link between China and the world, official says

Despite its "zero Covid strategy", Hong Kong still provides an attractive business environment and also has vibrant arts and culture sector. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Hong Kong will remain relevant as a link between China and global markets, even though its Covid-zero strategy has discouraged some people from visiting the city for business in the short term, Bernard Chan, a financier and convener of the government's advisory Executive Council, said on Friday (Feb 18).

The city still provides an attractive business environment and also has vibrant arts and culture sector, which will see new facilities becoming available in the next few years, Mr Chan said in an interview on Hong Kong International Business Channel.

Businesses in Hong Kong are increasingly looking to China's Greater Bay Area for opportunities, and the reform in the city's electoral system and implementation of the National Security Law will ensure it can stay ahead of global competitors in the long term, he said.

Hong Kong enacted a national security law in June 2020 after months of historic mass protests.

Mr Chan said the question is how can Hong Kong take advantage of the "one country, two systems" structure to add value, not just Hong Kong, but for the whole of China. "I think that's the key role for Hong Kong going forward," he said.

The city has strict quarantine and social-distancing measures, which helped it largely keep the virus at bay until the emergence of the Omicron variant. The current outbreak, with more than 6,000 cases logged on Thursday (Feb 17), is the worst Hong Kong has experienced and has thrown its zero-tolerance approach to the virus into disarray, and is overwhelming its health system.

Hong Kong health authorities are expected to confirm at least 7,000 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, with another 7,000 showing up positive in preliminary tests, broadcaster TVB reported, citing an unidentified source.

The special administration region of China will postpone its chief executive election to May, officials said.

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