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October 12, 1999

Multinationals Move Away From Hong Kong

By CBR Staff Writer

Hong Kong has lost its position as the Asian base for multinational information technology companies, with regional headquarters moving to Singapore, Beijing and even Australia, according to a report from International Data Corp. There has been a definite shift away from Hong Kong, said IDC Asia Pacific vice president Dennis Philbin. Hong Kong has been losing its standing as a regional IT headquarters since it was returned to China in mid-1997 and I expect the trend will continue.

Companies including US printer-maker Lexmark International Group Inc, which set up its regional headquarters in Hong Kong last week are the rare exceptions to this trend. Dell Computer Corp moved its regional headquarters to Singapore from Hong Kong two months ago. Compaq Computer Corp has two headquarters in the region, in Beijing and Singapore. Hewlett-Packard Co’s regional base is in Singapore. IBM has its regional base in Tokyo, and sub-regional headquarters in Singapore, Taipei and Beijing.

Although Hong Kong continues to try to sell itself as the gateway to mainland China, most technology companies are going direct, making Beijing or Shanghai their Greater China headquarters instead. A lot of our operations staff are in Hong Kong but Beijing is the headquarters and our key people are in Beijing, said Compaq Greater China’s spokesperson Clara Chan.

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