Sun Hung Kai Properties

Firms set for move to miss trade talks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 October, 2005, 12:00am

Some companies in Wan Chai are preparing to move their operations from the area during December's World Trade Organisation conference.

Businesses in the area are drawing up contingency plans for coping with any disruption.

Tenants of affected buildings such as Central Plaza, which is directly opposite the meeting venue, and the nearby Sun Hung Kai Centre, say building management and authorities are still assessing the situation and they expect to have a clearer picture of the likely impact on their operations by next month.

Martin Spurrier, chairman of public relations firm Edelman Hong Kong, which has its offices in Central Plaza, said there had been no notice that the building would be closed. But management had warned staff to prepare for serious traffic congestion.

Mr Spurrier said Edelman was moving some of its operations to a business centre in Central. All senior staff will also have laptop computers with remote access to the company's server.

'We have one major client based in Cyberport so our team will move there for the time being. It just makes more sense this way,' he said.

Winnie Wong, administration manager of Watson Wyatt, said the human resources company had been communicating with the building management at the Sun Hung Kai Centre.

She said measures were already in place for staff to work from home and for operations to move to another location, which she could not disclose for security reasons.

Other large firms with Wan Chai offices but further away from the conference venue expect little or no disruption to their business. Shipping company Orient Overseas (International) has premises at the Harbour Centre but said it could move its operations to three remote locations if needed.

Standard Chartered Bank economist Tai Hui said smaller businesses in the area may simply opt to move their Christmas holidays forward by getting work done earlier and taking the days off during the December 13-18 conference.