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Mainland, Hong Kong lure multinational HQs

China Daily Online
7 December 2007

Mainland, Hong Kong lure multinational HQs

Synopsis
Companies based in the Asia-Pacific region are beginning to favor the mainland and Hong Kong as preferred locations for their regional headquarters (RHQs), however Singapore still remains the top choice.

The findings were revealed in a survey of more than 100 global companies based in the region by Spire Research & Consulting.

Singapore, the mainland and Hong Kong were respectively preferred as RHQ locations over the other Asian markets. India, Japan and South Korea followed in fourth, fifth and sixth place.

Interestingly many companies are splitting the RHQ function into two zones, seeing Singapore as a South Asian RHQ, and Hong Kong as a North Asian RHQ.

The mainland, which came a close second to Singapore, received 56 votes compared to Singapore’s 57 for attractiveness as an RHQ location. The mainland is an attractive option for international manufacturing companies, which account for roughly half of the mainland’s manufactured exports.

Shanghai and Beijing compete for investment. By the end of 2006, 154 MNCs had set up RHQs in Shanghai and 181 in Beijing. MNCs are increasingly lured by Beijing,

Shanghai, and even Guangzhou to locate their RHQs there, as all three cities – together with the Ministry of Commerce – provide attractive RHQ schemes with generous incentives such as tax rebates/exemptions, special distribution and export/import rights and wider market access to MNCs.

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