HK companies expect revival in exports, retail sales, tourism in 2023 with border reopening
Expected border reopening to greatly enhance mainland cooperation: experts
Published: Jan 03, 2023 10:34 PM

Residents take a new Q-train, made in Chinese mainland, which commences service at Choi Hung station on the Kwun Tong Line in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Nov. 27, 2022. (Photo: China News Service/Chen Yongnuo)

Residents take a new Q-train, made in Chinese mainland, which commences service at Choi Hung station on the Kwun Tong Line in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Nov. 27, 2022. (Photo: China News Service/Chen Yongnuo)

From retail and trade to logistics, Hong Kong companies expect business to improve in 2023 with the reopening of the border with the Chinese mainland and expected revival of tourism. The mainland economy has passed its most challenging period and life is returning to normal.

Ken Wong, director of All Time Healthy Co, a Hong Kong-based healthcare product company, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he expects Hong Kong's status as an international financial hub to be consolidated in 2023 with more exchanges between Hong Kong and the mainland.

With the reopening of the border, financial services such as corporate listings, mergers and acquisitions and bond issuances will rise substantially, which will help promote the economic development of both places and helping consolidate Hong Kong's international financial hub status, Wong said.

In his blog on Sunday, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po expressed optimism about Hong Kong's economic prospects in 2023 after both the mainland and Hong Kong have optimized anti-COVID measures for inbound travelers, and the two places are moving toward "gradually, orderly and fully" reopening the border in mid-January.

The optimization of anti-COVID measures in the mainland and Hong Kong will provide positive support to cross-border flows of passengers and logistics, Chan wrote.

There would be a significant rebound in tourists and improvement in cross-border land and air traffic, providing greater impetus for the recovery of Hong Kong's exports, while reviving its tourism, retail and catering sectors, Chan said.

Hong Kong's economy contracted in the third quarter of 2022 as GDP fell by 4.5 percent from a year earlier.

Total exports of goods plummeted 15.6 percent year-on-year in real terms in the third quarter, worsened by the external environment and disruptions in cross-boundary cargo flows.

Hong Kong's private consumption expenditure was unchanged in the third quarter from a year earlier, supported by consumption vouchers issued in August, said the Hong Kong government.  

Wong's company is cooperating with a mainland-based cross-border e-commerce platform to sell health products to the mainland. 

"With the border reopening in early 2023, our company will promote and sell products in different cities and provinces. I believe that business revenues will double or even triple," Wong said.

Optimized COVID-19 arrangements for incoming visitors should provide some support to cross-boundary land cargo flows and trade of goods and services, companies said.

Gary Lau, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics, welcomed the new move to resume quarantine-free travel between the mainland and Hong Kong, which he said will solve the problems of customs clearance and make it much easier for cargo transportation.

"The new measures will be positive for logistics businesses," Lau said.

Some changes could be seen in the first quarter this year, but conspicuous changes could be expected in the second and third quarters, partially depending on the economic situation in the US and Europe, where sluggish consumption has had an impact on Hong Kong, Lau said.

Michael Li Chi-fung, vice honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers' & Exporters' Association, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the reopening of the border will elevate cooperation efficiency between Hong Kong firms with labs and factories based in the mainland, while Hong Kong businesses can continuously explore the use of resources in both regions. Various industries will be able to restart expanding in the mainland market. 

"It is expected that in 2023, there will be more companies and investors from the mainland and the rest of the world that are able to participate in exhibitions and fairs in Hong Kong, providing a more convenient and efficient opportunity for businesses to reach deals," Li said.