South Florida trader Rodrigo Vera recalls doing business in Hong Kong a decade ago before the British handed the capitalist territory to communist-led China. Many executives were nervous, taking their money out of the Asian hub or securing citizenship elsewhere.
But 10 years after the July 1 hand over, Hong Kong is flourishing, thanks largely to China's economic boom.
Foreign companies are rushing in to use Hong Kong as a springboard into the Chinese mainland, the world's fastest-growing economy and soon to be the largest. And the Chinese are pouring in: companies to sell stock, and tourists to shop and visit Hong Kong Disneyland
Vera is investing, too. This month, he bought a small logistics company in the sophisticated territory of skyscrapers and workaholics to help route shipments from China and other Asian nations for his Boynton Beach company, Southern Cross Building Products Inc.
"Hong Kong is super-dynamic," Vera said. The Asian gateway actively encourages business; operates both in English and Chinese languages; and boasts some of the world's most developed transport and financial services, he said.
Hong Kong's continued prowess under China's "one country, two systems" policy helps explain why Fort Lauderdale-based software giant Citrix Systems Inc
. three years ago moved its Asian headquarters from Australia to Hong Kong.
It also underscores why Miami-based clothing marketer Perry Ellis International Inc.
since 2003 keeps an office in Hong Kong with 60 employees and relies on that office to trouble-shoot operations all across Asia, said sourcing chief Bradley Arkin.