A comparison between Singapore and Hong Kong - the two Asian tigers and long-term economic competitors post Covid-19 situation. While Singapore is opening up, Hong Kong is in crisis.
The Response of Singapore and Hong Kong to Covid-19
Hong Kong and Singapore are Asia’s two key financial hubs, and often compete on the global scale with each other. As the situation with the pandemic progresses, the responses of the two countries have proved to grow markedly different.
Singapore has chosen to open up and live with a rising number of Covid-19 cases in the community since a large number of the residential population have been vaccinated, whereas Hong Kong remains closed off to the world.
Chinese Influence in Hong Kong
This comes as an unsurprising consequence of Hong Kong’s and China’s relationship, as Hong Kong leaders have fallen in line behind China’s Covid Zero approach that essentially does not tolerate infections or spread within the community.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, asserted her duty to protect the people and businesses in Hong Kong, confirming that the country is the gateway to the mainland (China).
The Impact of Chinese Influence in Hong Kong
This has raised concerns about how feasible Hong Kong will remain as a global business hub, especially considering its robust expat community culture that has been contributing to the economy and status of the country for many years.
Many expats have been expressing their desire to not return back to Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong government has expressed their motion that the mainland is more important than all else.
Hong Kong Businesses Could Move to Singapore
This is also sparking the exodus of businesses in Hong Kong – some are looking to return to China, others are looking to relocate to Singapore, placing the country in a very precarious position as a global financial hub. If businesses are looking to relocate, Singapore is poised to grab as many as they can.
Singapore has also seen a population decrease in the last year, as many of their own expats have chosen to relocate. As Singapore sets forward on its path to recovery, it will definitely be looking globally to replace talent that has left, as well as to bolster existing talent in the country.
EDIS Reports that Singapore Has Beaten Hong Kong in Digital Transformation
In a report by EDIS (Economic Development Innovations Singapore), Singapore has already beaten Hong Kong in Digital Transformation efforts. In the report, we find that:
- Top hiring Singapore banks posted more technology roles than top hiring Hong Kong banks.
- Banks with significant presence in both cities also hire a larger number of technology jobs in Singapore.
- There is a stronger focus on Information Security positions in top hiring Singapore banks than its counterparts in Hong Kong, which is another indication of digitising efforts in Singapore, given that cyber security plays a critical role in digitisation.
- Singapore banks are ramping up on its technological expertise more intensely.
What This Means for Singapore’s Immigration Environment
Singapore opening up and possibly even taking over Hong Kong as a global financial hub would essentially bolster its commitment to inducting highly talented and niche-skilled professionals into the country.
This would allow Singapore to remain competitive and appealing even after Hong Kong eventually opens up to the world again. Singapore also remains friendly to business relocations, which means that as businesses are looking to move operations, the country will leap at the opportunity to welcome these businesses onshore with open arms.
With a shift in financial power and reputation, the immigration industry will become very interesting and likely, even more unpredictable than before. Seeking the counsel of established firms with qualified policy analysts, like IASG, would be the wise move for any persons looking to immigrate during this time.