Hong Kong businessmen brace for long-awaited mainland border reopening

A Hong Kong resident scans a health code on December 10, 2021. Photo: VCG

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) entrepreneurs are speeding up registration of the city’s version of a health code ahead of the much-anticipated reopening of the border with mainland China, as they express confidence that Quarantine-free travel would help boost their businesses on the continent after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 336,000 people had registered for the Hong Kong health code by noon on Sunday after registration opened on Friday, China Media Group (CMG) reported, raising hope among cross-border businessmen who long awaited the standardization of travel between Hong Kong SAR. and the continent.

Ken Wong, director of All Times Healthy Co in Hong Kong SAR, was among the first candidates for the health code.

“My employee and I have asked for the health code. We hope that the reopening of the borders can be tested with quotas by the end of December and fully reinstated by the end of June next year,” said Wong to the Global Times on Monday.

With strong trade links to the mainland market, Wong generally travels a lot between Hong Kong SAR and the mainland. He just completed a two-month trip to the mainland to attend the fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai in November.

“As trade with the mainland becomes more and more frequent, we often have to go to law offices and banks on the mainland to sign documents. Before the coronavirus epidemic, all of these processes were convenient and not took only a day, ”he said.

Frank Lao, managing director of Galaxy Payroll Group, a Hong Kong-based outsourcing service provider, said the company was also ready for the border reopening.

“It is great news for us that the mainland will resume quarantine-free travel with Hong Kong in the near future. We have asked our colleagues to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We have all signed up to the Hong Kong health code. Kong and informed our mainland customers about the possibility of face-to-face meetings in the future, ”Lao told the Global Times on Monday.

Hong Kong’s health code was launched on Friday to pave the way for the reopening of the border between mainland China and Hong Kong.

Upon successful registration, applicants must upload their travel records from the previous 31 days to obtain the code, according to a notice posted on the Hong Kong SAR government’s website.

Like that of the mainland, the Hong Kong health code is divided into red, amber and green, and the standard for determining the color of the code aligns with that of the “YueKang Code” issued by the province of Guangdong (south of the China), according to the notice.

Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam told a press conference on Dec. 7 that there would be a quota system at the start of customs clearance to gradually reopen the borders, with priority given to staff government and businessmen with an urgent need to visit the continent, CMG reported.

At present, the only two open borders between the mainland and Hong Kong are the Shenzhen Bay Port and the Hong Kong Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which together allow a maximum of 1,000 people per day, while the rest of the borders remain closed, mainland media Jemian reported.

Travelers entering the mainland from Hong Kong SAR must undergo 14 days of quarantine medical observation and seven days of home medical surveillance; Mainlanders entering Hong Kong are subject to 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

“The mainland is an important market for us. We used to travel to and from the mainland very frequently. However, during the outbreak, business activities were seriously disrupted due to the closure of border checkpoints between Hong Kong and the mainland, ”Lao said. .

According to Lao, the coronavirus has hit the service sector in Hong Kong hard, and many companies like his are eagerly awaiting the reopening of borders to connect with the mainland market, which has become a mainstay of economic growth.

“Previously, we used to help foreign companies recruit on the mainland, but now our main business is to help mainland companies develop overseas markets. As the mainland economy gradually recovers and demand increases, we see a big potential in the continental market, ”Lao said.

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