HK protests don’t deter mainland China delegation from striking deals worth $1.45 billion in city

01-Aug-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A business delegation from Wuxi in China’s eastern Jiangsu province shrugged aside protests in Hong Kong on Tuesday evening to sign 11 deals worth 10 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion), in an indication the special administrative region had not lost its appeal as a fundraising centre.

The deals, involving industries ranging from property, cars and robotics to medical and aviation parts, were signed at the 2019 Jiangsu Wuxi Xishan (Hong Kong) Economic and Trade Cooperation Symposium, an event organised by the 200-strong delegation from Wuxi’s Xishan district.

Hong Kong’s former chief secretary, Henry Tang Ying-yen, who can trace his roots to Wuxi, was present along with family members and witnessed the deal signings.

“The businesspeople from Wuxi did not show any worries about the recent protests in Hong Kong. They came here to promote investment in Xishan and Wuxi, which have the support of the government as well as a lot of talent,” he said in an interview.

“They are confident Hong Kong can cope with the recent crisis,” Tang added.

The delegation did not reveal who the investors from Hong Kong were. It did say the biggest deal struck on Tuesday involved an investment of $300 million in an aviation parts project by a unit of Impro Precision Industries. Impro Precision, a Xishan-based machine parts maker, raised HK$1 billion in a listing in Hong Kong on June 18, just two days after a rally against the controversial and now-suspended extradition bill, which its organisers said was attended by two million people.

The event provides a much-needed boost to sentiment in Hong Kong, which has witnessed an escalation in social unrest over the past seven weeks. A push by the government to introduce a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China has sparked demonstrations across the city. Protesters have now broadened their demands from the withdrawal of the bill to include universal suffrage.

Amid the protests, two mega listings worth a combined $11.04 billion were shelved by ESR Cayman, Asia-Pacific’s largest logistics landlord, and brewing giant Budweiser Brewing Company APAC. The demonstrations have since taken a more violent turn.

“We have never seen such violence before. [But] Hong Kong has coped with many financial crises before, and I believe we can cope with the current one too.

“I hope Hong Kong people can unite again to develop its economy, improve livelihoods and also to help its youngsters develop,” Tang said.

He, meanwhile, refused to comment on reports a consortium formed by his family, Wuxi Communications Industry Group and a Citic Group unit was negotiating to take a controlling stake in Hong Kong Airlines. The consortium will inject 2 billion yuan in the city’s third-largest airline and assume its debt, according to a source.


Category: Hong Kong

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