Will protests in Hongkong have an influence on business?

Prodemocratic protests in Hongkong are not weakening. It is possible that today protesting students will be occupying governmental buildings. May this situation threaten to functioning entrepreneurs in China?

The chairman in Poland-Asia Studies Center convinces that no matter how the lasting demonstrations will finish, they should not have a crucial meaning for the business. However, they may have an influence on results of the Hongkong stock exchange in short perspective and they may weaken the city’s position in the competition with Shanghai.


China has been developing very dynamically through 25 years. The global business wanted to invest there because it was profitable – explains Radosław Pyffel, chairman in the Poland-Asia Studies Center. It is the same in case of Hongkong which offers financial services on such a high level. No matter if there is a bloody quelling of this demonstration or if it takes place on the road to negotiations, it will be beneficial for the business to be there, invest and use Hongkong financial centers. However, it is not going to change anything.


Western businessmen value Hongkong mostly because of a transparent law and educated staff, not forgetting about the fact that the city constitutes a perfect leave to make interests in the whole region. In connection with the above, if the situation calms down and there is no demonstration and the conflict is prevented, I believe that Hongkong will not lose its assets – they are independent no matter if demonstrators are on the Central Square or not – thinks Pyffel.


Most of all, Hongkong would lose its image while deciding on a power play and bloody suppression of the demonstration. However, it does not have to have a widespread impact on the business. The similar situation took place in 1989 when the force was used against all protesters on the Tiananmen Square without grave consequences.


So far, the most injured have been the Hongkong stock exchange and financial institutions which function in the districts which are filled with demonstrations. The part of employees in those banks and financial institutions performs their work remotely from home – this is the recommendation of the boards and leaderships. I believe that this situation will not last long. However, if it is not going to stop, it will actually have an impact on the results of the Hongkong stock exchange.


Hongkong and Shanghai on the ring


Hongkong, which strives for the name of the most important business center in China, has to compete with Shanghai in which there are no social anxieties. A stabilized political and social situation is the only one of not numerous assets of the city, in which there is a lack of a law favorable to business and also autonomy. It causes a huge problem to global investors that the law in China does not work (or does not work like in western countries) and in Hongkong it works – says Pyffel. Furthermore, the over one and a half year commercial contracts of Hongkong with the West and employee’s experience resulting from it are not also without a meaning.


Problems in China


The chairman in Poland-Asia Studies Center enumerates three aspects of a present social situation in Hongkong.


First and foremost, the demonstrators want to extend their democratic freedom which was received in the past by the British who has been occupying the city in that time. Beijing declared in 2008 that there will be free election but only among three candidates nominated by the capital. That fact infuriated the part of the public opinion in Hongkong and it led to present demonstrations – explains Radosław Pyffel.


Another problem of inhabitants in Hongkong are tourists who come from continental China. The amount of them totals 40 million, that is six times more than the number of the real permanent inhabitants. It is like 220 million of rich Russians would come to Poland. Our country has also changed a lot, surely many people would make a profit of it and new workplaces would be created – explains expert. – The behaviors of newcomers from the continent do not meet inhabitants’ expectations: the fact that they smoke everyone, buses are crowded and they are really loud. The life in Hongkong is becoming more and more difficult or even unbearable and those demonstrations also have an impact on the mentioned resentment.


See also: Is business in China still profitable?


The third issue are protests in other regions which China would like to have totally subordinated. The example is Taiwan where inhabitants would like to decide on the pace and way of integration against the will of Beijing. Those protests took place under the names such as in Hongkong: “one man, one vote”, that is nothing new without the common consent. This is a huge problem for Beijing, the dream of which is to unite all Chinese territories and create the most powerful China in the XXI century. This project has not encountered great difficulties so far, however these demonstrations show that it will not be so easy – points out Pyffel.

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