mixed reaction from business community to John Lee as Hong Kong’s next potential leader

  • Quite a few see Beijing’s backing of Lee as a indication that countrywide protection would consider prime precedence
  • They expressed hope that Hong Kong’s No 2 formal would be helpful to the small business neighborhood in a bid to sustain the city’s place as a worldwide financial hub

Diplomats and company leaders have expressed the two careful optimism as very well as disappointment at the chance of John Lee Ka-chiu getting Hong Kong’s top work. The city’s No 2 official resigned on Wednesday, paving the way for a operate in upcoming month’s main government election as the sole prospect with Beijing’s blessing.

A lot of observed the endorsement of Lee as Beijing putting emphasis on national security, but felt the policeman-turned minister’s means to sustain Hong Kong’s location as a international economic hub would hinge on the depth of his cupboard.

A Hong Kong-primarily based consul general from a European country, who satisfied Lee when he was safety minister, explained the male as “a able and significant manager”.

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“My individual impression is that he does not occur throughout as a pretty political figure, but is no question noticed in Beijing as a reliable operator who will do what he is requested to do by the central governing administration,” the specific, who spoke on ailment of anonymity, advised the Post.

“I assume Beijing wishes to preserve Hong Kong as an global financial centre but I have no doubt that for Beijing, nationwide stability and even further strengthening political regulate over Hong Kong arrives initial,” the consul common extra.

As it took place: Hong Kong ex-No 2 John Lee to be part of management race

A deputy consul general from another European place, who also does not want to be named, mentioned that Lee’s endorsement shown “it is what Beijing would like much more than what Hongkongers want”.

The diplomat’s own assessment was that by backing Lee, Beijing would prioritise national protection in the coming a long time. Endorsing Economical Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, meanwhile, would have indicated a aim on the overall economy and finance.

Another senior diplomat based in Hong Kong claimed that while it was not a ought to to have a leader with a history in finance, it was still vital for the city’s future chief executive to realize Hong Kong’s very important job in the monetary world.

The diplomat stated it was apparent that to effectively govern the metropolis, the subsequent leader required to have the have confidence in of Beijing. Geared up with that, and an being familiar with of Hong Kong’s unique place, Lee could assure results as chief govt.

“I consider what is actually crucial now moving forward is restoring the self esteem of both Beijing as very well as the foreign community and I think to do that, you do have to fully grasp the value of Hong Kong as a world financial hub,” the diplomat claimed.

Lee emerged as the frontrunner after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced on Monday she would not find a second expression, citing loved ones motives.

Was Carrie Lam’s legacy lower limited or did she cultivate her downfall?

Hong Kong experienced in no way had a vocation policeman as the city’s No 2 formal right up until Lee took up the write-up in June past 12 months. The 64-yr-old experienced led the Safety Bureau for four several years from 2017 in advance of being promoted to main secretary.

Stewart Leung Chi-kin, executive committee chairman of the True Estate Builders Association of Hong Kong, explained he was self-assured that developers could cultivate a cordial connection with Lee even with limited conversation on the functioning degree earlier. The organisation counts all of the city’s important developers as associates.

“In our placement, it is simple. The authorities ought to tackle the housing requires of the community, irrespective of whether the requires are private or general public, and offer more than enough land for personal builders to deal with such calls for,” he said.

“The government does not have to give advantages to developers, but there should constantly be interaction, as actual estate serves as an essential pillar for the city’s financial system.”



One diplomat said that while it was not a must to have a leader with a background in finance, it was still important for the city's next chief executive to understand Hong Kong's vital role in the financial world. Photo: Sun Yeung


© Provided by South China Early morning Post
One diplomat said that even though it was not a should to have a chief with a qualifications in finance, it was still critical for the city’s following chief government to fully grasp Hong Kong’s essential job in the money entire world. Image: Sunshine Yeung

Leisure tycoon Allan Zeman, who has regarded Lee for 20 yrs, described the previous top rated law enforcement officer as a “reasonable and open-minded human being”.

Zeman explained he believed Beijing’s choice for Lee stemmed from wanting a “reliable male” to assure national safety and enact the city’s possess legal guidelines to put into practice Posting 23 of the Primary Law.



Entertainment tycoon Allan Zeman has known John Lee for two decades. Photo: Edmond So


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Enjoyment tycoon Allan Zeman has regarded John Lee for two decades. Picture: Edmond So

An American investment supervisor and long-time period resident agreed that he did not look at Lee’s absence of finance encounter as a trouble as extended as Money Secretary Paul Chan was in his cabinet.

“Paul Chan has the capacity. He has shown it. He is a really good communicator. He has been an excellent finance secretary,” he reported.

The chairman of a enterprise chamber of 1 of the Asean international locations, who wished to keep on being anonymous, stated he thought Lee would be a excellent chief even if he had limited publicity to the business world.

“He is a fairly humble man or woman, mixes around, and is familiar with a good deal of people. A single issue superior about him we have observed amongst businesspeople is he listens. He consults folks, he grew up with humble beginnings and did not go to college or university right up until he joined the police drive,” he explained.

The chairman said he thought Lee would be welcoming to the two the community and foreign small business communities as “he is already rather immersed” in them.



Hong Kong had never had a career policeman as the city's No 2 official until Lee took up the post in June last year. Photo: Felix Wong


© Supplied by South China Morning Article
Hong Kong experienced never experienced a profession policeman as the city’s No 2 formal right up until Lee took up the publish in June last year. Picture: Felix Wong

The head of yet another international business chamber said he was keen to give Lee the “reward of the question,” and hoped the new main govt would listen to organization chambers. A key issue, he reported, was the ongoing journey restrictions and ban of non-residents from traveling to the city.

“For Hong Kong to be an attractive Asia’s environment city and as a monetary centre, I think you have to have to make guaranteed that it proceeds to be an desirable place for people and their families to stay and work in, and for these individuals to be also from businesses, outside the house of purely finance,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a senior foreign businessman stated he considered many in the company group experienced greeted Lee’s run for the major job with disappointment, due to his absence of business enterprise knowledge.

“You can find no sign that he has any curiosity in business. He is practically in no way been outdoors Hong Kong and has really little target on what Hong Kong demands to be, which is a business enterprise centre,” he mentioned.

A former lawmaker, who presently is effective in the business enterprise sector, famous that Lee experienced been sanctioned by the United States since 2020, together with at least a dozen of former and existing officers concerned in the implementation of the nationwide safety legislation.

“The perception would be comparatively poor for Hong Kong to mail such a chief overseas to discuss business enterprise options,” he warned.

Added reporting by Tony Cheung

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This short article initially appeared on the South China Early morning Article (www.scmp.com), the major information media reporting on China and Asia.

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