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Business leaders' take, 25 years on after handover

By WANG YUKE,AO YULU and ZHANG TIANYUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-01 09:56

Frederik Gollob, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

Currently, there are more than 1,600 global companies operating in Hong Kong with either their regional headquarters or offices, or just a local office, in the city and their parent companies based in Europe. If the companies with their origins in Hong Kong and their senior staff from Europe are included, the number is well above 2,000, according to Frederik Gollob.

It's indisputable that Hong Kong has a wealth of allure in its own right, drawing foreign companies to the city to establish their Asian presence, he said. But Hong Kong's unique and prominent position is only amplified by the Chinese mainland, where the breakneck pace of development in the past decades has stunned the world, he added.

The mainland's economic muscle and its gigantic market have constantly tempted overseas companies and investors to set up shop there. However, the discrepancies in regulations, laws and practices on the mainland could deter some businesses from entering the market, warned Gollob. Fortunately, Hong Kong is an entry point for overseas enterprises to access the Chinese mainland, reconciling the regulatory and cultural differences that could derail business collaboration and restrict business services, he said.

"I would say, for a large proportion of European companies operating in Hong Kong, the ability to do business with the mainland is one of their overriding benefits," Gollob said.

Since the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development plan was unveiled, the European Chamber of Commerce has focused greater attention on the region. "To European countries, the Greater Bay Area is a very compelling concept and also a very important target market for offering our services and products from a Hong Kong perspective. We're very eager to explore the potential of the Greater Bay Area," said Gollob.

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