Synovate survey shows Hong Kong residents believe city is well prepared to handle WTO protests
HONG KONG — Seventy eight per cent of Hong Kong residents believe that the city is well prepared to handle the expected World Trade Organisation (WTO) conference protests according to results released today by leading global market research company, Synovate.
Residents are also well informed about the upcoming WTO meeting, with 70% aware that the conference is being held in Hong Kong in December.
Synovate Director, Scott Lee, said the results demonstrate that the Hong Kong Government's communications have been effective in informing residents about the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference being held in Hong Kong from December 13 to 18.
"Although anti-globalisation protests are expected to cause disruption for the duration of the WTO conference, most residents of Hong Kong are remaining calm and clearly believe that the city is well prepared to handle such demonstrations," he said.
With the conference igniting debate about the benefits of free trade and globalisation, Synovate also explored Hong Kong residents' attitudes to these issues as they affect Hong Kong individually and the world more broadly.
Most people in Hong Kong are supportive of the WTO's free trade goals as they affect their city with 79% believing that increasing globalisation is beneficial to Hong Kong's future.
However, while just under half (49%) of Hong Kong residents agree with the statement 'free trade will benefit most countries and citizens of the world in the long term', 15% disagree and 36% are not sure whether it is beneficial or not.
Hong Kong residents are even more uncertain about the effects of free trade on the overall prosperity of nations, with 46% neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the statement that 'recent advances in free trade have resulted in increased wealth for many nations around the world' and just over one third (36%) agreeing.
A split was also evident when respondents were asked to consider the statement 'trade liberalisation has benefited the rich countries but impoverished the poor and small countries' with 36% agreeing to the statement, 25% disagreeing and 38% not sure either way.
Mr Lee said that because many Hong Kong residents directly benefit from a less restrictive international trading environment they are more likely to believe increased free trade is a positive development.
"It is not surprising that in a trading hub like Hong Kong, residents are supportive of globalisation. Hong Kong was built on international trade and commerce and these industries remain central to the livelihoods of many people in this city," he said.
"However, while Hong Kong residents are convinced of the benefits of free trade for their own city, many are sceptical or unsure about the affect it has on countries outside of its borders," Mr Lee added.
About the Survey
In August 2005, a series of questions were explored via AsiaBUS, Synovate's monthly omnibus survey. A representative sample of consumers aged 15-64 were interviewed via telephone in Hong Kong to ascertain their views on various issues related to the upcoming WTO conference.??
Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 4,000 staff across 46 countries. More information on Synovate can be found at http://www.synovate.com/