Hong Kong has been replaced by Singapore as the main Asian financial center

Hong Kong lost its crown as Asia’s leading financial center to Singapore in a global ranking in which New York and London held first and second places.

Singapore jumped three places to third in the two-year Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) which rates 119 cities around the world and was released at the end of Thursday.

Hong Kong adhered to a version of China’s strict zero-COVID rules during the pandemic, hitting the economy and exacerbating the brain drain with the reopening of rival malls.

The city still imposes a three-day hotel quarantine for all international arrivals while its border with mainland China is mostly closed.

Conversely, Singapore successfully transitioned into endemicity earlier this year and reopened with no restrictions.

The city-state will host a series of financial and business conferences in the coming months, as well as a Formula 1 night race next week, while around four million people are expected to visit this year.

In a 600-word statement in response to the latest GFCI ranking, the Hong Kong government focused on the city that scored higher than the previous year.

“We will continue to listen to views and be courageous in advancing reforms to consolidate and strengthen Hong Kong’s capital market and our role as an international financial center,” the government said.

The statement did not mention the coronavirus or the ongoing pandemic checks.

San Francisco came in at number five in the poll, up two places. Shanghai, which closed earlier this year under the control of the Chinese coronavirus, was number six, followed by Los Angeles, Beijing and Shenzhen.

Paris took 10th place, replacing Tokyo which fell to 16th place.

© 2022 AFP