Now that more than a year has passed since Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese sovereignty, its emigrants are returning home, Raymond Fan, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, said during a luncheon of the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta held at the Capital City Club last week.

      While relying on anecdotal evidence, he nevertheless was insistent that despite the territory’s economic problems its former residents who left because of their fears concerning the transition of power to the Chinese government were returning.

      We are experiencing the reverse of the early exodus, he said.  They not only have the right to come back, but we welcome them.

      And he said that upon their return they are finding that the same beliefs in free trade, no quotas and no foreign exchange controls apply.   We are capitalism, he added.

      Although the territory has not escaped the effects of the Asian economic crisis, he said, We are Asians with a difference. What we have is what others lack, namely transparency and accountability.

      And when it came to doing business in Hong Kong, he indicated that market forces ruled.  When asked what he thought of the merger between Bank of America, which has an office in Hong Kong with some 6,000 employees, and NationsBank, which had only a small office there of 18 employees, he thought it was a good marketing move.

      But in the final analysis, it was the market that would decide how good a move it was.  If you gain, congratulations, he said.

      For more information about programs of the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta, call Gene Hanratty at (404) 238-0875; fax, (404) 364-6552.