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Yahoo BusinessJul 08, 2020
Big Tech's China Face-Off Presages an Exodus From Hong Kong
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., Google and Twitter Inc. -- all of which are blocked in the mainland -- are now headed toward a showdown with China that could end up making Hong Kong feel more like Beijing.Hours after Hong Kong announced sweeping new powers to police the internet on Monday night, those companies plus the likes of Microsoft Corp. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. all suspended requests for data from the Hong Kong government. ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from the territory's mobile stores in the coming days even as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S.Their dilemma is stark: Bend to the law and infuriate Western nations increasingly at odds with China over political freedoms, or simply refuse and depart like Google did in China a decade ago over some of the very same issues. Much like that seismic event shook the mainland in 2010, Big Tech's reaction now could have a much wider impact on Hong Kong's future as a financial hub -- potentially sparking an exodus of professionals and businesses."Google is pretty important to people here, and if that's cut off then it's really extremely serious," said Richard Harris, a former director at Citi Private Bank who now runs Port Shelter Investment Management in Hong Kong. "In Hong Kong we don't know where the boundaries are, and that's threatening to a lot of business people."Over the past week, Hong Kong authorities have begun explaining how they'll enforce a law that officials i

Yahoo BusinessJul 08, 2020
HSBC Slumps as U.S. Weighs Moves to Punish Hong Kong Banks
(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc, which draws more than two-thirds of its pretax income from Hong Kong, slumped after a report that the U.S. is mulling a move to punish banks in the city and destabilize the currency peg to the dollar.HSBC was specifically mentioned as a potential target, Bloomberg News has reported, citing people familiar. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo last month singled out Peter Wong, the bank's Asia Pacific chief executive officer, for signing a petition supporting "Beijing's disastrous decision to destroy Hong Kong's autonomy."HSBC fell as much as 3.1% in Hong Kong, the most in more than three weeks, making it the biggest drag on the benchmark Hang Seng Index. A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman declined to comment on the U.S. report.London-based HSBC is walking a political tightrope in its attempts to further push into the world's most populous nation. The bank last month endorsed China's new security law and is now drawing further criticism from politicians in the U.S. and the U.K.In a statement on its official WeChat account last month, the bank pledged to continue to invest and support the Chinese economy after speculation in local media that its massive restructuring plan would mean an exit from China.Some top advisers to President Donald Trump want the U.S. to undermine the Hong Kong dollar's peg to the U.S. dollar to punish China for recent moves to chip away at Hong Kong's political freedoms, according to people familiar with the matter. The proposal, however, hasn't been elevated to the
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