David Webb says brain drain could be damaging to HK

Business | 2 Jun 2020 11:48 am

More talented workers are likely to leave Hong Kong if China imposes a vaguely worded national security law in the financial hub, according to one of the city’s most prominent investors.

David Webb, who amassed a fortune investing in Hong Kong stocks, said the city has already seen a “brain drain” as locals migrate overseas and international companies find it harder to attract expatriates, Bloomberg reports. While details of China’s proposed national security legislation  are still unclear, Webb said a vaguely defined law could fuel concerns among employers including banks that they’ll be liable if staff run afoul of authorities.

“The brain drain could damage the economy,” Webb said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “That’s something of great concern.”

China’s move to bypass local lawmakers and impose the controversial legislation on Hong Kong has cast fresh doubt on the city’s autonomy from the mainland, a key part of its appeal as an international financial center.

While Chinese and Hong Kong government officials have said the law won’t impact the “legitimate” interests of foreign investors, analysts have warned that some residents and businesses may pull their families and assets out of the city.

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