SwedCham presents the results of the 2021 business climate survey
Earlier this year, Team Sweden asked members of the Swedish Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce what they think of the business climate in Hong Kong. The report was launched at an event at the Nordic Innovation House on July 2.
Below is a summary of their opinions compiled by Anna Zhan, Consultant at Business Sweden, and Simona Rosi, International Trade Fellow at SwedCham.
Swedish companies have a strong presence in Hong Kong. They vary in size and number of years on the market. They cover a multitude of sectors, including the financial sector, creative industries and retail. Many of them have been very successful for many years and have greatly contributed to the successful economic development of Hong Kong. Many of them – 58% of the companies that responded to the survey – contributed to this report.
The aim of this survey is to improve understanding of the opportunities and challenges that the Hong Kong market presents for Swedish companies. The previous Team Sweden business climate survey for Hong Kong was released in September 2020. Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to impact Hong Kong and the rest of the world. After a period of recession and economic contraction, Hong Kong’s economy is expected to return to growth this year.
Hong Kong has also seen other important political developments since the last survey, including the continued implementation of the National Security Law introduced in the summer of 2020 and the adoption in the spring of 2021 of changes to the electoral system.
This year’s survey gives us several important insights into the current business climate, as perceived by companies. The majority of the companies surveyed remained profitable in 2020. Most have a more positive economic outlook today than a year ago, expecting an increase in turnover and investments unchanged or slightly increased over the course of the year. of the coming year.
The main advantages mentioned by companies in this year’s survey when it comes to doing business in Hong Kong are the tax system, its legal and regulatory systems, and its geographic location. Personal security ranks first among favorable business conditions. The “Swedish brand” positively contributes to the work of most companies, signaling quality and sustainability.
However, the concerns and challenges highlighted in the 2020 survey are still relevant today. When it comes to government measures to fight Covid-19, more companies have seen them as adequate than insufficient. Understandably, the measures have had an impact on most businesses, especially those related to travel restrictions and border closures. In terms of planning for the future, travel possibilities emerge as a key factor. The high costs of rent and real estate have been a concern of businesses for many years and are once again at the top of the list of challenges in this year’s survey.
Concerns also remain about political developments in Hong Kong, including the implementation of the National Security Law, and their impact on the general business climate in the city. The main areas of concern for companies in this regard are Hong Kong’s status as an international business center, freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary. The majority of companies see a negative impact on the general business climate in Hong Kong due to these developments.
The survey indicates that many companies see significant challenges – but also potential – in the area of environmental sustainability in Hong Kong. Several respondents highlight the need for more knowledge and awareness on the subject, as well as other government measures. As the Hong Kong government strives to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, exciting business opportunities will most likely arise for companies with experience and know-how in green solutions. Swedish companies are ready to contribute to this work
Read the full report here.