Hong Kong and Singapore - How Competitive are These Two Places?

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Last year, Singapore topped as the international financial center in Asia, shoving Hong Kong off the position, and Singapore is now ranking third in the world, after New York City and London. Hong Kong slipped to fourth place, mainly because of the unpromising political condition which has started an emigration wave since 2020, and because of its long lasting anti-epidemic measures. 

Singapore and Hong Kong, however, according to scholars and statistics, are still neck and neck regarding their global financial status. Hong Kong outperforms Singapore in banking and trading sectors, and ranked above Singapore as the most attractive place in the world , just behind London and New York, when people were asked their preferable location to work if they were to move to a different city. 

Hong Kong talents, especially those in the financial and fintech industry, contradictingly, express their desire to move to Singapore. According to an interview, professional talents feel hopeless about Hong Kong’s political future, and Singapore is the Asian country which they find the most similar to Hong Kong, which becomes a huge pull factor to these talents. Christine Houston, a Hong Kong-based head hunting consultant whose main responsibility is to find ‘C-Suite’ talents for the financial sector, observes that after Hong Kong started its anti-epidemic measures, many expats are in an urge to move to Singapore from Hong Kong. Under such circumstances, Singapore does not have to do much to attract talents from Hong Kong, because Hong Kong is pushing them towards Singapore.

Some scholars point out the differences in the development of sectors in these two places - while Singapore focuses on its technological development and holds onto its status as an advanced industrial centre, its competitor continues to develop its financial services, especially fintech and family offices, to stabilize Hong Kong as an international financial centre. This makes the two different functional hubs in Asia, and talents in different sectors would make different decisions as to where to go.


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