(HKSAR 20) Expatriate businessmen confident for Hong Kong's future

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Many expatriate businessmen, who chose to stay in Hong Kong in 1997 when it returned to China, said that they made the right decision at that time.

Over the past 20 years, Hong kong has not only remained stable, but also undergone rapid development, bringing them lots of business opportunities, they said.

"I opened the office for my current firm on Jan 1, 1997, and many people at the time thought I was out of my mind ... But I was very convinced that Hong Kong was going to continue to succeed," said Jon Zinke, a partner of a Hong Kong-based international law firm.

Zinke, who moved from the United States to Hong Kong in 1985, is among the many expatriate residents here who came with a plan to stay for a short period, but ultimately fell in love with the place and never left.

In a pamphlet compiled by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham HK) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return from British rule, Zinke said over the 20 years, Hong Kong has successfully dealt with some "extreme circumstances."

He cited the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the international financial crisis in 2008 as well as the SARS epidemic. "Hong Kong is very resilient, and I foresee a very positive future ..." he said.

In retrospect of Hong Kong's development during the past 20 years, many expatriate businessmen acknowledged that it is a smart decision to choose to stick with Hong Kong.

At a discussion earlier this month at the Washington-based think tank - the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, AmCham HK Chairman Walter Dias said that just before Hong kong's return in 1997, there were certainly a lot of concerns about how that would work, "because we had never seen any framework like 'one country, two systems' before. Some companies actually decided to leave."

"In hindsight, a lot of people would regret that decision today, because Hong Kong has been so successful. The companies that stuck with Hong Kong during that time have also reaped a lot of benefits and had lots of success," he noted.

According to Dias, members of AmCham HK, the largest international chamber in Hong Kong, remain confident of the Hong Kong's future and see a lot of opportunities for doing business.

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