Singapore and Hong Kong have a lot in common, and a lot they compete with each other on. Both are city-states that built their early fortunes by being entrepots, and were also once exemplars of labour-intensive manufacturing. For a time in the 1970s, Hong Kong was the world's biggest toy producer. When Singapore became independent in 1965, it pitched itself as a base of production. Rivalry with Hong Kong was there from the outset: one of Singapore's first big catches was GE, which chose to set up a clock-radio factory in the city-state, worried that the violence of China's Cultural Revolution might spill over to Hong Kong.
Since then, Singapore and Hong Kong have both strengthened their roles as the management hubs of "Factory Asia". More than 4,000 companies have chosen Singapore as a regional headquarters, often to oversee South-east Asia. Hong Kong has fewer, with roughly 1,500 headquarters, but it has been far more successful than Singapore at luring Chinese companies to its stock exchange. Its stockmarket is worth more than US$4trn; Singapore's is closer to US$700bn.
In the years ahead, how will the paths and successes of these two Asian tigers diverge? As Hong Kong begins life under a new Chinese national-security law, Singapore's stability now looks appealing to many footloose multinationals across a range of sectors and services.
Yet, Hong Kong's edge continues to be its proximity to mainland China's economic powerhouse – something that Singapore cannot conceivably unseat. Meanwhile, Singapore's carefully managed political system is also coming under greater strain, with a rising backlash against immigration which will constrain its ability to promote itself as the great destination for global talent in Asia.
Join us for an exclusive conversation as we debate:
· The strategic importance of Hong Kong vs Singapore for multinationals and other Asian companies
· The different policy priorities in the two cities in the coming years
· If Hong Kong will keep its status Asia's premier financial market
· To what extent Singapore can benefit from Hong Kong's woes
· How the demands from the local population will influence the business environment in Hong Kong and Singapore
Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please send an email to email@example.com.