Perth could become Australia’s new financial hub if Hong Kong companies fearing Communist China’s oppressive rule relocate to the Swan River.
The federal government has declared it wants to attract Hong Kong’s ‘best and brightest’ entrepreneurs – stirring more diplomatic tensions with Australia’s biggest trading partner.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is offering five-year visas with a pathway to permanent residency for students and skilled migrants, after China imposed draconian national security laws on the former British colony.
Globility Group executive director Mark Wright, an expert on Asia-Pacific commerce, said Perth was becoming ‘a very attractive destination’ for Hong Kong companies looking for an alternative to Sydney and Melbourne.
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Perth (right) become Australia’s next financial hub if entrepreneurs and businesses from Hong Kong (left) decide to relocate to the WA capital to escape Communist China’s oppressive rule
‘The West is very well-placed to attract its own fair share of talent that might be considering a move from Hong Kong,’ Mr Wright told Perth radio 6PR’s Gareth Parker on Friday.
Perth is in the time zone as Asian financial hubs Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Manila and Denpasar, which makes it more conducive to doing regional business than cities on Australia’s east coast.
Western Australia, however, is a major exporter to China of iron ore, the key material used to make steel.
Perth billionaires, including Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes and mining magnate Andrew Forrest, have close business ties with China.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge was hopeful Hong Kong-based companies would see the advantages of moving their headquarters to a democracy like Australia.
‘We really looking at some of the businesses which are based in Hong Kong, particularly some of the international businesses, who have their regional headquarters there, who have already publicly signaled that they wanted to relocate to somewhere which is more free and more democratic,’ he told Sydney radio 2GB.
‘We want to be in the position whereby they might consider Australia as their destination to bring their business.’
Should Mr Tudge’s wish come true, the likes of airline Cathay Pacific could move their headquarters to Australia
Should Mr Tudge’s wish come true, the likes of airline Cathay Pacific could move their headquarters to Australia.
Globility Group executive director Mark Wright (pictured) said Perth is becoming ‘a very attractive destination’ for Hong Kong companies on Friday
Mr Wright said WA’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic made it a more attractive destination for businesses.
‘Another factor that weighs very heavily in Perth’s favour is the fact that Western Australia has done amazingly well in managing the impact of COVID-19,’ he said.
‘Organisations consider very carefully the wellbeing of their people. The pandemic has really brought that to the forefront.
‘A key factor in the foreseeable future for global talent will be “where is the best location for me to move to in terms of the health and safety”, not only of the talent themselves, but their family as well.
‘Perth has become a very attractive destination in that regard.’
Perth (Elizabeth Quay pictured) is in the time zone as Asian financial hubs Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Manila and Denpasar, which makes it more conducive to doing regional business than cities on the east coast of Australia
But Mr Wright said the West Australian government needed to do its bit to woo Hong Kong tycoons.
‘If Perth played this one smart, the WA government has a tremendous window of opportunity to attract talent that otherwise may consider Sydney, Singapore, Melbourne,’ he said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt for comment.
The Australian government wants to attract entrepreneurs and businesses through the Global Talent and Business Innovation and Investment programs.
Mr Morrison also announced 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia would now be able to apply for the extended visas – but there will be no humanitarian immigration program specifically for Hong Kong residents.
The Prime Minister also suspended Australia’s extradition treaty with the former British colony, meaning Hong Kongers accused of a crime by their home government will not be automatically deported from Australia.
Canada and the UK have recently done the same.
The move has angered Beijing, prompting its state media to threaten retaliation for any ‘provocations’ regarding Hong Kong.
China’s new national security law bans what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong.
Critics say it curtails freedom of speech and pro-democracy protesters have since been charged for holding flags, posters and pamphlets.
Police officers detain protesters during a rally against a new national security law on the 23rd anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1