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Introduction

The SARS outbreak in Hong Kong has marred expectations for a year of recovery after an extended period of sluggishness in the local economy. While there are now signs that the outbreak has been largely contained, a full scale revival may have to wait until public confidence is restored.

The big question on the minds of Hong Kong business leaders is whether the battle over SARS is in its closing stages, or whether atypical pneumonia might return to inflict further damage on Hong Kong's economy. The Hong Kong government has designated $1 billion dollars for a global marketing campaign to revive the tourism sector, while other public and private-sector initiatives seek to bolster Hong Kong's image, accelerate the pace of economic activity and encourage collaboration across business sectors.

Since its inception in 1997, the Asia Case Research Centre has been covering the region's latest business developments for educational and professional audiences. Project SARS Rebound is an effort to chronicle the experiences of the local community during this period and to examine how different business sectors are attempting to counter the effects of the SARS crisis. It is hoped that with so much coverage focusing on sensational aspects of the SARS outbreak, the material presented here will give a more balanced picture of the situation in Hong Kong and also highlight some of the positive developments that have resulted.

The SARS Timeline chronicles day-by-day developments during the crisis and reports on the crisis communications that have emerged from various segments of society. A collection of industry reports (based on news analysis and interviews with industry representatives) have been compiled to present a snapshot of the strategies being employed by companies to position themselves for recovery. Finally, a section examining the role of the Internet documents some of the ways in which Internet-based services and technologies have played a pivotal role in mitigating the difficulties facing Hong Kong. We hope that Project SARS Rebound will be of interest to anyone seeking candid coverage of the impact of SARS,  and to those interested in learning how Hong Kong businesses are coping with challenging circumstances.


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