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  Counting on chance to work in Hong Kong

Mainland accountants are interested in working in Hong Kong - not for a high salary or local identity card, but to sharpen their competitive edge and obtain wider experience.

This is the finding of a survey conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) on its members on the mainland.

The survey released yesterday found over 90 per cent of the respondents said they would consider applying for the Hong Kong government's admission scheme for mainland talents and professionals.

The scheme, open to application on July 15, would allow mainlanders with necessary academic qualifications and professional skills to work in the territory.

"The main factors they took into consideration for the application included the high professional level and the reputation of international city of Hong Kong," said Leo Lee, president of ACCA Hong Kong yesterday at a press conference.

Ninety per cent of the respondents are under 35-year-old and 60 per cent of their monthly salaries range from 10,000 to 30,000 yuan (US$1,200-US$3,600).

Also, over three-fourths of them have at least five years' work experience in finance and accounting, in particular working in foreign-funded joint ventures and multinational accounting firms.

These people are "high flyers, with an internationally recognized qualification", Lee said. "If they finally decide to come to work in Hong Kong, they will contribute to our economy."

The survey also found that more than half of the respondents thought they have better knowledge of the mainland's conditions and a better human relationship on the mainland.

They can play a significant role in assisting both of the foreign-funded and local enterprises to enter the mainland market or in achieving listings in Hong Kong, Lee said.

He said competition of talents could enhance the quality of both Hong Kong and mainland professional standards instead of becoming a threat to the local accountants.

Moreover, the survey revealed that the respondents considered that Shanghai is more advantageous than Hong Kong in terms of career prospects, working environment and quality of life, whereas Hong Kong beats Shanghai in areas like salary, professional standards and international financial centre.

ACCA, the largest international accounting body, has delivered 400 questionnaires to members in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and got 108 responses.

Commenting on the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) signed between the mainland and Hong Kong, Lee said the pact has limited effectiveness in helping Hong Kong's accounting industry.

But he expected the demand for Hong Kong accountants would increase, as the pact could attract more foreign investors to do business in Hong Kong.

(HK Edition 07/04/2003 page7)


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