Green groups call on the Government to do more to secure the city's long-term success
Hong Kong, 31 May 2011 – Hong Kong's position as the premier destination in Asia for top expatriate managers is under threat due to poor air quality, according to recent research from leading workplace solutions provider Regus. The survey of over 220 business leaders in Hong Kong found that an overwhelming three out of four companies (75 per cent) believe that the air quality in a city affects company's ability to attract and retain international talent.
When asked to rank a number of Asian cities in order of the air quality, respondents placed Hong Kong well below Singapore. Hong Kong was closely followed by Bangkok, with Shanghai and Beijing judged to have the poorest air quality.
Average ranking (out of 5)
2. Hong Kong
"Hong Kong has long grappled with air quality issues, and our latest research indicates that a great majority of companies are finding the environment a major issue when it comes to attracting the best employees," said Hans Leijten, Regus' Regional Vice President, East Asia. "Singapore is challenging Hong Kong's position as Asia's most attractive location for international business leaders, and this is reflected in the findings of our survey."
"These findings will probably come as no surprise for most Hong Kong people," said Linda Ho, Chief Executive Officer of the Green Council. "This will affect whether businesspeople and other visitors wish to come here. However, I do not believe that the situation is irreversible. If anything, these findings highlight the urgent need for practical, effective steps from the Government to tackle the air pollution problem."
Joanne Ooi, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Clean Air Network, added: "In December 2010, a study by Civic Exchange found that one in four residents, and 40 per cent of people at a managerial level have considered leaving Hong Kong due to the poor environment here. Unless the Hong Kong government takes radical action to tackle our air quality problems, we risk falling further behind Singapore and other leading global business destinations."
Despite the long-term threat posed by air pollution, business is booming in all of the cities in the survey. Regus will open at least nine new facilities in the five surveyed cities in 2011.
"It is true that all five of these Asian cities are still attractive business destinations with increasing level of economic growth, despite their varying track records when it comes to the environment," said Leijten. "However, to ensure continued long term prospects for their cities, the relevant authorities would be wise to prioritise their environment in order to shore up their competitive advantage, and in particular to face up to the challenges of poor air quality. The time to act is now."
Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspaces, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios. Regus enables people to work their way, whether it’s from home, on the road or from an office. Customers such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join hundreds of thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core activities.
Over 800,000 customers a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of 1,100 locations in 500 cities and 88 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. Regus was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1989, is headquartered in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information please visit: www.regus.com