Chinese tenants also helped the housing market, which suffered an impact after anti-government protests began a year ago. E-commerce giant Alibaba and rival JD.com and ByteDance, the parent company of the TikTok video app, recently signed lease agreements for new and expensive offices, according to industry experts, who asked to remain anonymous because these agreements are generally private. The companies did not respond to requests for comment.
These agreements follow others in previous months, which represented endorsements by China Inc. in the future of Hong Kong. In November, when the protests arrived a dramatic climax, Ping An, a Chinese state-controlled insurance giant, paid $ 5.4 billion for undeveloped properties atop the high-speed train station in the city's West Kowloon district. That same month, Alibaba raised $ 11.2 billion in its own Hong Kong stock offering.
"It is true that some Chinese companies are moving and expanding in Hong Kong, and I think this trend will continue," said Nelson Wong, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate services company.
There is little evidence that cash flows represent a charm offensive aimed at Beijing to make national security law more palatable. Chinese and other state-owned companies on the continent have increased their investments in Hong Kong for years, eclipsing international money and local tycoons.
Chinese companies are selling shares in Hong Kong, in part because US regulators and legislators have adopted a tougher line of Chinese efforts to sell shares on Wall Street later a series of accounting scandals. With Chinese companies looking elsewhere to raise funds from international investors, investment bank Jefferies predicted that nearly $ 600 billion could flow to Hong Kong next year.
"As a direct result of the law enforcement landscape in the U.S., many Chinese companies are reorienting their business practices to raise money in Hong Kong," said Shaun Wu, a partner at the law firm Paul Hastings.
More broadly, China in recent years encouraged its local corporate champions come back home. Hong Kong regulators recently issued new rules that make it easier to list Chinese companies in the city and give companies more control. Shareholder activists criticized the measures for damaging Hong Kong's legal and corporate governance system.