I am a terrible stock punter. I have a habit of keeping bad stocks and selling good ones. But that’s not all. I follow stocks I sold long afterwards in the hope that I made the right call. More often than not, they start moving up, or even launching a full-on bull run. I imagine that’s what many locals and expats who have left Hong Kong want to see – the city going down the drain. It’s the same psychology, overdosed with anti-China sentiments. Warren Buffett likes to say never bet against America, you can say the same about Hong Kong. Hong Kong needs to step up game to compete with Singapore for family offices Yes, the city has been down recently, but it’s not out. It has its share of serious problems. Who doesn’t? But to think it will ever stop being one of the most important cities in Asia, if not the world, is unduly pessimistic. The city is reopening gradually. But given the harsh Covid-19 policy on the mainland, it’s still trying to adjust and adapt. Restrictions on inbound tour groups including their visits to theme parks and museums are being relaxed. An international tech fest and a global bankers’ summit drawing many of Wall Street’s biggest names went smoothly, despite troublemaking by some American lawmakers and self-exiled activists. The city’s key role for Chinese companies to raise capital will become even more important in coming years as US regulators increasingly cut off access. The latest economic data may look grim; the economy in the third quarter contracted about 4.5 per cent year over year. But let’s remember the old investment advice: past performance is not indicative of future results. As Colm Kelleher, chairman of the Swiss-based UBS Investment Bank, the world’s largest fund manager, said at the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit: “Global bankers are all very pro-China … We’re not reading the American press, we are buying the China story.” Hong Kong’s GDP forecast lowered to 3.2 per cent contraction; among region’s worst Well, they probably do read The Wall Street Journal, they just have to skip its rabidly anti-China editorial section, whose unhinged right-wing all-American animosity now extends to Hong Kong as well. It has been said that the local population has fallen by more than 200,000 following the 2019 riots, the political crackdown that followed and the harsh Covid-19 restrictions. Actually, the exodus is nowhere near that in the late 1980s and 1990s in the lead-up to 1997 handover of the city to Chinese rule. The temporary jump has a lot to do with the relaxed immigration policies of Anglo-American countries – except the United States, which asked its allies to open their borders but not its own – which some Hong Kong people would have taken advantage of regardless of circumstances. They did so because Hongkongers have suddenly become political refugees. What a joke! Most have gone to Britain with their BN(O) passports, which are no longer recognised by the Hong Kong and central governments. The internet is full of complaints and stories about the cost of living, underemployment and unemployment, lack of basic services and livelihood facilities such as banking, applying for a mortgage, and renting a home. They happen to have arrived at one of the most politically and economically unstable periods of modern Britain as inflation and energy bills hit the roof. One Cantonese discussion thread in an online chat group went viral with the headline: “Welcome aboard the Titanic”. I imagine that after experiencing the realities of life in Britain, many will return home in the coming years. Maybe Singapore will take over from Hong Kong. But it’s hard for me to see much difference in the alleged “authoritarianism” of their two governments. As a finance hub, the city state had US$3.9 trillion under its asset management industry last year, compared with Hong Kong’s US$4.6 trillion. It’s argued that rich Chinese are all rushing to move assets to Singapore. Well, it’s not so easy to move serious money nowadays on the mainland. Many may have to do with Hong Kong, despite Beijing’s feared long arm of the law. It’s not that Hong Kong will fail, but that many people want to see it fail.