City retains edge for business, says InvestHK

Promotions agency expects to woo a record number of firms despite slowdown on mainland

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 3:22am

InvestHK, the government agency tasked with attracting foreign investors, has completed 3,000 projects that have brought HK$79 billion to the city since its establishment in 2000.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said the companies supported by InvestHK had created 34,000 jobs in their first year of operation or expansion, and each project was "a strong vote of confidence in Hong Kong as Asia's leading business capital".

Last year, the mainland was the largest source of investors, with 62 completed projects.

Director-General of Investment Promotion Simon Galpin said the economic slowdown across the border had not affected investment in Hong Kong. "We're on track to have a record number of mainland companies using Hong Kong as their platform to go global [this year], so there's no indication of a slowdown in terms of companies coming to Hong Kong at all," he said.

Galpin said 7,250 foreign companies were operating in Hong Kong last year and a further 700 were considering or planning to invest here, adding that he was confident InvestHK would reach its target of helping 330 companies set up or expand this year.

He said more companies were relocating their global headquarters to the city, such as General Electric and Nissan's Infiniti brand, while retailers were increasingly choosing Hong Kong for global sourcing and e-commerce operations.

ASB Biodiesel, the operator of a plant that converts waste oil into biodiesel, was the 3,000th, and first Bahraini company to work with InvestHK.

Its chief executive, Anthony Dixon, said US$165 million had been invested in its plant in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate.

Dixon said it would come on stream next month and produce 100,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year, helping to avoid 257,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. ASB Biodiesel collects waste cooking oil from restaurants.

Dixon said there had been strong interest in the finished product. "In three years, I'm confident I'll be telling you that 99 per cent of our product will be used here," he said.