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Monday, 8 May 2023, 17:00 HKT/SGT
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Source: HKTDC
HKTDC: 60% of Japanese companies expand RCEP business via Hong Kong

HONG KONG, May 8, 2023 - (ACN Newswire) - About 90% of Japan-affiliated companies based in Hong Kong manage or handle business in at least one Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) market other than Japan, according to a recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

HKTDC Director of Research Ms Irina Fan (L) and HKTDC Economist Mr Corey To (R) announced
the survey findings of Japanese companies in Hong Kong expanding their business in the RCEP market.

More than 60% of respondents plan to expand their RCEP operations through their Hong Kong office in the next three years, with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) (40.4%) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (39.4%) the most popular destinations.

The respondents are making use of Hong Kong's well-developed logistics and commercial networks, as well as its world-class business services to manage and expand their global business, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Further integration into regional supply chains

RCEP came into effect last year, the world's largest free trade bloc made up of 15 member countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN economies. It accounts for about 30% of global GDP, trade and population, injecting impetus into regional economic development.

Last year, RCEP economies accounted for 71% of Hong Kong's total merchandise trade. "Hong Kong has applied for accession to RCEP and once approved, the city will become the first new member of the bloc, enjoying a wide range of benefits, such as tariff concessions. It will also help Hong Kong further integrate into regional supply chains and strengthen trade and investment with other members in the bloc, especially Japan and Korea, which have yet to sign free trade agreements with the city," HKTDC Director of Research Ms Irina Fan said.

Hong Kong: Premier platform for RCEP

About 1,400 Japanese companies have set up regional headquarters or offices in Hong Kong. With the support of the Hong Kong Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (HKJCCI), the HKTDC has surveyed more than 100 Japanese companies via a questionnaire to better understand their business development in the first year of RCEP, advantages of the Hong Kong platform and services, and the city's role in helping them expand into the RCEP market.

Most of the survey respondents operate in the import and export trade sector, followed by wholesale and retail, finance and logistics. More than 20% said their Hong Kong office serves as the company's overseas headquarters or main regional office that manage operations outside of Japan. Other functions include marketing and sales (73.5%), logistics and supply chain management (36.3%) and sourcing and procurement (25.5%).

HKTDC Economist Mr Corey To said while Hong Kong is currently playing an important role in facilitating RCEP related business (close to 90% of the respondents manage or handle RCEP business via Hong Kong), over 60% of the respondents see Hong Kong as "important" or "very important" in helping them capture arising business opportunities in the RCEP region.

Respondents also revealed that strong regional connectivity makes Hong Kong the premier platform for RCEP. Core strengths include business networks with Mainland China (88.8%), freedom of capital flows and currency exchange (79.7%), efficiency as a transshipment and distribution hub (72%) and more.

More benefits from Hong Kong's RCEP accession

The survey also found that more than half of the Hong Kong-based Japanese trading companies have already enjoyed RCEP benefits, such as unified rules of origin, lower tariffs and streamlined customs procedures. Close to 80% anticipate more benefits, should the city join the bloc. This reflects Hong Kong's role as a major logistics hub in the region as well as its deep trade ties with many RCEP economies.

Mr To said among the non-trade sector, 60% expected to benefit from Hong Kong's RCEP accession, largely because of the anticipated increase in economic activity and investment flows across Mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan, and due to improved access for service sectors and enhanced intellectual property rights protection, which will create new opportunities for different sectors, such as e-commerce.

Overall, more than half of the respondents suggested that Hong Kong's accession to RCEP would improve their company's ability to capture RCEP business opportunities. Providing marketing information about RCEP economies and encouraging co-ordination among public bodies and regulators were also seen as helpful.

Hong Kong as a base for regional business

The survey results echo the statements made in HKTDC Research's in-depth interviews conducted with Japan-affiliated companies in Hong Kong. These case studies show Hong Kong's competitive edges in a number of areas, which is beneficial to Japanese companies that aim to leverage Hong Kong as a base for business expansion in the region: solid financial infrastructure, well-established hub for international trade and logistics, quality professional services and a pool of diversified talents, prime location adjacent to GBA and among key economies in the Asia-Pacific.

Please read Japanese Business Perspectives series published by HKTDC Research for more details:

Interviewee: Takeshi Iida, President and Managing Director, Mitsubishi Corporation (Hong Kong)
Research article: Harnessing the Power of Hong Kong as a Commercial Hub
https://research.hktdc.com/en/article/MTEwNjgwMzA0MA

Interviewee: Atsushi (Ash) Kato, Head of Corporate Office, NTT DATA Hong Kong Limited
Research article: Integrating Regional Payment Solutions via the Hong Kong Hub
https://research.hktdc.com/en/article/MTEzMzgwMjM0Nw

Interviewee: Min Zhu, CEO, BYFIN (SBI Group)
Research article: Hong Kong-Facilitated GBA Fintech Opportunities
https://research.hktdc.com/en/article/MTA4OTc3MDI5Nw

Interviewee: Yoshinori Nakamura, Managing Director, Tachibana Sales (Hong Kong) Ltd
Research article: Hong Kong Powers Regional Electronics Trade
https://research.hktdc.com/en/article/MTE1NDU3ODg1Mg

Interviewee: Susumu Muguruma, Chief Operating Officer, Valuence Holdings
Research article: Taking the Pre-owned Luxury Goods Trade Global via Hong Kong
https://research.hktdc.com/en/article/MTEyNjA3MDkzOQ

References
- HKTDC Research website: http://research.hktdc.com/
- Japanese companies see Hong Kong as premier business platform to tap RCEP opportunities: https://bit.ly/41ZN80v
- Photo download: https://bit.ly/3AIpppV

About HKTDC

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong's trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn

Media enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC's Communication and Public Affairs Department:
Beatrice Lam, Tel: +852 2584 4049, Email: beatrice.hy.lam@hktdc.org

Topic: Press release summary
Source: HKTDC

Sectors: Daily Finance, Daily News, Funds & Equities, Local Biz
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