Chairman's Message
Chairman's Message - Riding out the Pandemic

Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 51st terms of office) April 2020


In the face of the crisis, we must stay levelheaded, lay the groundwork for post-pandemic recovery and identify new opportunities.


The adverse impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on worldwide economic activities is slowly emerging. In Hong Kong, businesses are now facing a series of challenges. In the face of the crisis, we must stay levelheaded and lay the groundwork for post-pandemic recovery, by focusing on ways to enhance the local business environment and the competitiveness of our industries, and identifying new opportunities.


The pandemic deals a heavy blow to businesses

In March, we conducted a questionnaire survey among our members to gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local businesses. Of those surveyed, over 80% foresee a revenue drop in 2020, with 30% expecting at least a 50% decrease; more than 40% are going through downsizing, with 5% having to suspend their operation altogether. Members who have factories in the Mainland are found to have been gravely affected. Delivery delays are inevitable, raising the risk of contract violations, not to mention a decrease if not complete loss of orders. It will be too optimistic to expect the import and export trade to recover in a short time after the pandemic.


The survey also revealed a pessimistic outlook on the economy among our members. About 90% of them consider 2020 much worse than 2019 in terms of economic growth, business environment, revenue performance and employment.


Relief measures mitigate pressure on businesses

Most of the businesses covered in the survey welcome the 30-billion Anti-epidemic Fund set up by the HKSAR government and the numerous relief measures announced in the latest Budget, which are expected to alleviate the financial burden faced by the public and improve social morale. The measures also mitigate the pressure caused by a tight cashflow on many SMEs. We hope that the business sector will leverage these measures, and that the authorities will simplify the application and approval procedures wherever possible.


Earlier, we have created a dedicated webpage (www.cgcc.org.hk/2020anti-epidemic/) on the CGCC official website to not only disseminate useful updates about the pandemic, but also introduce various subsidies schemes launched by the government, companies and various organizations. The webpage also outlines the CGCC’s work in promoting and supporting disease prevention. We pledge to mobilize our members, businesses and other partners to combat the pandemic through concerted effort.


Preparing for the day when the pandemic is over

The “One Country, Two Systems” principle gives Hong Kong a distinctive advantage. The city’s status as an international financial center as well as aviation, shipping, trade and logistics hub cannot be easily weakened by the pandemic. I believe so long as society stands in solidity, and works toward consolidating our city’s unique edge and opening up the economic hinterland and markets, Hong Kong will be able to bounce back quickly when the pandemic is over.


We also hope the HKSAR government will closely follow the movement of the economy, and deepen communication with the business sector to better understand the changes in the business environment and challenges faced by businesses. And we look forward to seeing strengthened support for businesses and more comprehensive measures when necessary to promote the long-term economic growth of Hong Kong.