Council Meetings (Question): Attracting Foreign Companies to Hong Kong (2022.12.14)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Chinese): As revealed by the 2022 Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located outside Hong Kong released by the Government last month, as at mid-September this year, the total number of regional headquarters (“RHQs”), regional offices and local offices in Hong Kong with parent companies located outside Hong Kong (collectively referred to as “foreign companies”) was 8 978, representing a decrease of 71 companies compared with the same period last year, and it was also the first time since 2019 that such number fell below 9 000. Among these foreign companies, 1 411 were RHQs in Hong Kong with parent companies located outside Hong Kong, representing a decrease of 46 companies compared with the same period last year. There are views that such situation is worrying. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether it has gained an understanding of the reasons for the slump in the number of foreign companies in the past year; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
  2. as the aforesaid survey has pointed out that 3% of the foreign companies surveyed planned to phase out or relocate outside Hong Kong part or all of their businesses in Hong Kong, and 16% of the foreign companies surveyed indicated that they were uncertain about their business plans in Hong Kong, whether the Government will endeavour to retain these companies, including providing them with one-stop services and concessions that better suit their needs;
  3. whether it will expedite the establishment of the “Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises” (“OASES”) and expeditiously switch to a proactive strategy to attract enterprises, with a view to consolidating Hong Kong’s status as international financial and trade centres; and
  4. given that OASES is temporarily only focusing on attracting industries of strategic importance (such as life and health technology, artificial intelligence and data science, as well as financial technology) to Hong Kong, whether Invest Hong Kong will concurrently adopt, in respect of industries other than those of strategic importance, a more proactive approach for attracting their investors to Hong Kong?

The written reply provided by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development on 14 December 2022 is in Appendix 3.

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