'Team Fukuoka' driving the push . . .
A group of prominent company executives, academics, and government leaders in Fukuoka city launched ‘Team Fukuoka’ on Tuesday. Team Fukuoka is pitching the city as Asia’s next premier financial hub, given the political uncertainty around Hong Kong since the Communist Party of China implemented the National Security Law. The new organization is working to attract major financial institutions and other multinationals to set up shop in Fukuoka Prefecture, located in the southwest of Japan, with approximately 5.1 million people. Team Fukuoka will likely pressure the central government for tax and immigration reforms to help make Fukuoka more attractive to foreign businesses.
Stiff competition in attracting financial talent and capital . . .
Fukuoka joins a list of economies in the region hoping to attract financial talent and capital following Hong Kong’s political turmoil. In August, President Tsai Ing-Wen announced that Taiwan plans to open its economy further and provide more financial products to become the region’s financial and asset management centre. Fukuoka also faces stiff competition within Japan. With a population of more than 37 million and an existing vibrant financial sector, Tokyo pledged in its annual economic strategy document to improve the business environment for foreign companies and strengthen efforts to attract foreign financial companies.
Not so fast . . .
While cities in the region plan on attracting financial talent and capital fleeing Hong Kong, there has been no obvious sign that the city’s status as a financial hub is quickly collapsing. As bilateral relations between the U.S. and China continue to deteriorate, many Chinese firms are carrying out listings in Hong Kong. For instance, Netease and JD.com recently carried out secondary listings in Hong Kong to provide an alternative funding source if the U.S. decides to delist them from the stock market. Ant Group, the fintech arm of Alibaba, is also expected to carry out its initial public offering in Hong Kong this month. We will be paying attention to how economies in the region compete for financial talent and capital in the post-COVID environment.