Hong Kong Still Asia's Top Central Business District

HKTDC Research Revises Export Forecast Down

17 September 2012 – Responding to a lingering European Union debt crisis and fragile recovery of the United States market, Hong Kong's export sentiment turned negative in the third quarter of 2012, according to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

But a recent HKTDC survey found the city to be making the most of its position as a leading trade port and services hub. Edward Leung, HKTDC Director of Research, said that approach is likely to hedge against downside risks and maintain Hong Kong's place ahead of Singapore and Shanghai as Asia's top central business district (CBD).

"The survey result highlighted Hong Kong's multiple strengths, its excellent geographical location, ease of doing business and strong institutional structure," Mr Leung said, adding that "to survive in tough times, Hong Kong has to make the best of its competitive edge."

Asia's Most Preferred CBD

The survey, conducted in the first half of 2012, interviewed more than 500 senior executives from companies based in the Asia-Pacific. Collecting responses from business leaders in 10 cities, the survey looked at impressions about Hong Kong as Asia's CBD, as well as its competitiveness in six industries – merchandise trade, banking and financial services, professional services, intellectual property trading, logistics and tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions).

More than half the respondents placed Hong Kong ahead of either Singapore or Shanghai as Asia's top CBD. (Some 52 per cent selected it as top choice, and 77 per cent chose Hong Kong for top two choices combined). Of 10 "essential Asian CBD functions" listed in the survey, "marketing and sourcing platform" and "gateway to the Asian market" were considered the two most important, followed by "financial and fund raising centre."

Hong Kong enjoyed a comfortable lead over Singapore or Shanghai in the top three CBD functions, according to the survey. Some 56 per cent of respondents ranked Hong Kong as the top marketing and sourcing platform, 59 per cent ranked it the top gateway to the Asian market, and 60 per cent considered Hong Kong as the top financial and fund-raising centre.

"Respondents were optimistic over the sustained lead of Hong Kong as Asia's CBD over other regional counterparts in the next five years," said Mr Leung.

The survey also found that Hong Kong's lead as a CBD in specific industries widens if the market being considered is Greater China rather than Asia as a whole. Given its prominent role in offshore fundraising for Chinese mainland companies and as the largest offshore Renminbi (Rmb) centre, Hong Kong has a clear lead in serving Greater China with "banking and financial services" (68%), "tourism and MICE" (61%) and "merchandise trade" (60%).

Click to read the rest of the article in HKTDC.