FedEx is to relocate its Asia Pacific headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore, the global delivery giant said. The move is the latest blow to the city’s reputation as a global logistics hub.

File photo: Little plant, via Unsplash.

FedEx told HKFP it will consolidate operations at its Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Singapore, while maintaining a “significant” presence in Hong Kong, the statement read.

Bloomberg first cited FedEx sources as saying that the Hong Kong management team will move to Singapore in September, including its regional president Kawal Preet. However, a FedEx spokesperson told HKFP less than 15 per cent of local positions were moving, adding that it was “constantly exploring opportunities to better serve our customers and enhance our network in the region.”

“A significant presence and strong leadership team will continue to serve our customers in Hong Kong, providing vital support for our FedEx China, North and South Pacific and Middle East, India Subcontinent, and Africa operations,” they added.

The US firm has been reducing its operations in Hong Kong since the Covid-19 outbreak. It closed its crew base in the city and relocated the pilots overseas in November 2021, when Hong Kong was enacting strict travel curbs and mandatory quarantine policies, according to Al-Jazeera.

Firms flee

The city has suffered an exodus of residents, expatriates and businesses amid three years of strict pandemic rules – which were relaxed this year – and the 2019 protests and unrest.

According to the Census and Statistics Department, the number of overseas firms with regional headquarters in Hong Kong has declined yearly since 2019, from 1,541 in 2019 to 1,411 in 2022.

airport departures immigration emigration
Hong Kong International Airport in July 2022 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

US companies saw the most significant drop. In 2011, 315 US firms had their regional head offices in Hong Kong. But by 2022, the figure had dropped to 240.

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.