Hong Kong saw its biggest net outflow of residents since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, the latest sign that the city is far from regaining its mantle as a business hub and tourist destination.
(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong saw its biggest net outflow of residents since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, the latest sign that the city is far from regaining its mantle as a business hub and tourist destination.
As of Aug. 14, resident departures had outnumbered arrivals by more than 291,000 this year, the highest level since the Immigration Department began keeping records in January 2020.
The rate of residents leaving also outpaced that of tourists and other non-residents coming in. As a result, overall departures including tourists and non-residents exceeded arrivals by 116,500 for the period, the second highest net outflow since Covid.
Hong Kong has been on a charm offensive since January, after three years of punishing Covid restrictions drove away people and money to other global financial hubs such as neighboring Singapore. But the latest figures indicate that the government campaign, which also included new visa rules and free plane tickets, have yielded limited results.
The net outflow “shows the strong demand for revenge outbound tourism, more residents emigrating for work or education purposes, and the lagging competitiveness in attracting tourists,” said Gary Ng, senior economist at Natixis SA. If the trend persists, “Hong Kong’s consumption growth may fall behind regional peers with weaker competitiveness.”
Separately, Hong Kong said it saw an increase in its population, reversing years of reported declines, mainly because of a large upward revision in the number of people temporarily residing in the city.
–With assistance from Jinshan Hong.
(Updated to add overall net departure data in the third paragraph)
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