While over nine in 10 members (92%) of the international business community in Hong Kong feel the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has impacted them, longer term indicators point to sustained confidence in the territory, according to a survey released today by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (SCC).
The Survey, titled “Impact of the Novel Coronavirus on the International Business Community in Hong Kong”, examined the views of 167 respondents from its members and those of other international chambers of commerce in Hong Kong. It was conducted from 10 to 13 February 2020.
“We wanted to take the ‘pulse’ of the international business community quickly, hearing from business leaders working or running their enterprises here on how the coronavirus has impacted them,” said Jennifer Cao, the Chairwoman of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, representing the Board with seven members.
The Survey results show that almost seven in 10 respondents (69%) have conducted less business. Half of the respondents thought the coronavirus made it more difficult to recruit talent in Hong Kong.
Two thirds of the respondents (68%) thought the local authorities have done a fair-to-poor job in combating the coronavirus. A majority of respondents (63%) suggested local authorities increase crisis management planning. Over half (58%) requested more medical supplies be made available.
Survey respondents were addressing the outbreak in a variety of ways. A majority of the respondents (73%) indicated work-from-home arrangements for their companies, six in 10 mentioned work meetings and/or events were cancelled, almost half (48%) had their work travels called off. In addition, 61% of the respondents needed to handle more concerns from employees or colleagues about the outbreak. A third of respondents reported feeling stressed about the possibility of catching the coronavirus.
While there are acute concerns, the territory’s health systems continue to deliver on residents’ care.
“Although the outbreak has challenged local measures, the survey results show the international community retains a positive attitude towards the health care system in Hong Kong,” said Dr. Marcus Marcet, who led the study and serves as the Chairman of the SCC Health Committee and a director of the SCC Board. “It is uplifting to see that nearly eight in 10 respondents said the issue had either improved or not changed their views towards our health care system.”
Overall confidence on Hong Kong is also notably solid. Nearly six in 10 respondents mentioned the coronavirus outbreak has not changed their views towards residing in Hong Kong and 9% of respondents report a better/much better view on this matter.
“We expect that the confidence in Hong Kong and the city’s future remains relatively strong from what we heard from the respondents. There is no doubt that, both local and international businesses face challenges, putting a downward pressure on the Hong Kong economy,” Cao said.