Expat and local SMEs move to Kowloon as Hong Kong closes down

Published:  6 Dec at 6 PM
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As bankers and top expat professionals sit it out in Hong Kong, expat and local SMEs are planning backup offices across the harbour in Kowloon.

Small businesses located in hotspots where the protests have been most violent are now looking to relocate to cheaper, safer Kowloon premises. Landlords of cheaper offices across the water are the most likely to benefit, with Kowloon Bay, Shek Mun and Cheung Sha Wan all inexpensive districts compared to Hong Kong itself. The economic slowdown caused by the seemingly never-ending violent protests is expected to result in landlords’ lowering of office rentals in order to let to downsizing businesses relocating away from the chaos.

Medium and small enterprises are now searching for backup premises across the water due to the protests’ effects on everyday life. Long-established expat real estate companies are forecasting an exodus of SMEs whose employees are sick to death of the constant disruption of Hong Kong’s transportation networks as well as being confined in their homes due to the violence in the streets. One long-established, upmarket expat real estate agency has even prepared a map showing safer areas less affected by the chaos on the streets.

At the same time, major banks are planning to downsize, with one cutting its local and expat workforce from 8,000 to 4,000 as a result of the protests. Some are relocating their staff to offices in safer locations and a third is considering moving all its trading staff from Hong Kong to Tokyo. Leasing transactions have now dwindled to a trickle as the recession worsens, and real estate prices in general are dropping fast.
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