Which brings us to today. No one can argue that the situation in Hong Kong is not of concern. The recent wave of protests does not look like ending soon.
In fact, many argue that this is the new normal, as Hong Kong and China grapple with each’s interpretation of the “one country, two systems” concept.
The protests, some quite violent, have led to massive business interruption, a declining luxury retail trade, collapsing property values and questioning as to whether Hong Kong can continue as a major regional office hub.
While it is not polite to take advantage of another’s misfortune, Sydney could not be better placed to challenge Singapore in the competition for Asia-Pacific regional offices.
Notwithstanding our recent bushfire crisis, Sydney has a great climate; we have an educated, multi-lingual workforce. Our political, legal and financial systems are stable, sophisticated and provide certainty.
We have outstanding cultural facilities, great sporting amenities (and traditions) and diverse housing opportunities. We have some of the most innovative and inviting office buildings in the world – with more on the way!
More importantly, Australia with its well-crafted immigration system, offers pathways to citizenship that our four competitors do not.
Who would not want to establish an Asia-Pacific regional office here? We can’t simply sit on our hands and wait. We need to throw out the welcoming mat now and build the case for Sydney as THE Asia-Pacific regional centre.
Big business, small business and governments (local, state and federal) should be planning now. Sydney is by far, the most attractive Asia-Pacific regional office location. This time, let’s get the jump on Singapore.
Michael Cook is the group executive at Investa Property Group