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Posts Tagged ‘Hongkong’

Can Hong Kong Avoid Tragedy?

Posted by hkarner - 28. November 2019

Andrew Sheng, Distinguished Fellow of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the UNEP Advisory Council on Sustainable Finance, is a former chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. His latest book is From Asian to Global Financial Crisis.

Xiao Geng, President of the Hong Kong Institution for International Finance, is a professor and Director of the Research Institute of Maritime Silk-Road at Peking University HSBC Business School.

To protect their own futures, the people of Hong Kong must reflect carefully on the need to end violent protests and work together to address genuine grievances. The alternative is not some fantasy of an independent and thriving Hong Kong. It is a devastated economy, a divided society, and a lost generation.

HONG KONG – Nearly six months after they began, the protests in our city have reached fever pitch. On one particularly devastating day earlier this month, police fired more than 1,500 rounds of tear gas, a police officer shot a demonstrator at point-blank range while being attacked, and protesters immolated a man who disagreed with them. More than 4,000 people have been arrested, infrastructure has been destroyed, and the economy has sunk into recession. And for what?

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China’s Hong Kong at 20

Posted by hkarner - 29. Juni 2017

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Can Hong Kong Overcome Complacency?

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

By on October 23, 2015  RGE EconoMonitor

In the past, so the legend goes, Hong Kong feared nothing. Today, the city seems frozen by its obstacles. Can it change, once more?

In a recent commentary, I argued that, in the absence of a radical new growth strategy, Hong Kong is facing an eclipse. In a response, “Hong Kong’s strength lies in China’s weakness,” Jake Van Der Kamp argues that Hong Kong’s ageing population is not a major challenge; that the industrial base of the Chinese province of Guangdong is relatively low-tech; and as a result, further integration with it would not enhance Hong Kong’s growth prospects.

I beg to disagree on all three counts; big time. In each case, facts are pretty clear. In the past, Hong Kong benefited from China’s vulnerabilities. In the future, it must find a way to complement China’s strengths.

Graying Hong Kong

Jake’s view is that Hong Kong’s erosion by ageing population is not that big of a deal and, really, not that different from China. Well, let’s look at the facts. A simple comparison of countries by median age will do.

In the list of the grayest populations worldwide, the top positions belong to Monaco, Germany and Japan in which the median age is about 46-51 years. Without elevated immigration, these countries will soon suffer from severe population decline.

With its median age of 45 years, Hong Kong comes right after them, unfortunately. It is graying far faster than other SARs, such as Taiwan (38.7 years, 53rd) or Macau (37.2 years, 62nd), not to speak of China (36.3 years; 65th).

Today even the city’s leaders are lamenting about the aging population, the explosion of elderly poverty and youth unemployment. In such circumstances, ignorance is not bliss.

Guangdong myths and realities

According to Jake’s view, the [Guangdong] province’s industrial base is not built primarily on fancy electronic high-technology but on low-technology plastic moldings and cheap toys.” That view of Guangdong is severely flawed.

Contemporary Guangdong has more than 106 million people, which accounts for almost 8% of the total in the mainland. It is China’s largest province by GDP and the home of a broad set of multinational and Chinese global corporate giants.

In China, Guangdong has led the way in moving up the manufacturing value chain from light industry to high-end manufacturing. Ranked in terms of the value-added, its key industries include information and communication technology (22%), electrical machinery & equipment (9%), raw chemical materials and chemical products (5%) and automobiles (5%).

In light of these facts, the idea that Guangdong’s industrial base is today based on “low technology plastic mouldings and cheap toys” is just a Rip Van Winkle fantasy.

Financial and innovation risks are immediate

In the past, Hong Kong has thrived thanks to vibrant tourism, dynamic trade and rising property prices. Today, tourism is falling, trade is lingering and property prices are facing a mean correction. What’s worse, some of these trends are no longer just cyclical, but secular.

Moreover, disintermediation of Hong Kong as China’s privileged financial channel is reflected by the new free trade zones in the mainland, the proliferation of offshore RMB centers and the evolving Shanghai-London Stock Connect. Shanghai is China’s new financial center, supported by a set of rising financial niche cities.

Finally, the notion of Hong Kong’s innovation edge is a myth. Let’s be clear: As long as the city’s R&D per GDP is around 0.7%, it trails behind India and Ukraine, and barely holds its own against Pakistan or South Africa.

These cold facts led to my conclusion that economic integration with Guangdong could alleviate the erosion of Hong Kong’s maturing economy and aging population, while boosting entrepreneurship, venture capital and innovation across the region.

The hard reality is Hong Kong’s growth has eclipsed. Without an aggressive growth strategy and China’s innovation, the city’s living standards will deflate over time. Those who care about the city should fight for its future, not lament over its fading glory.


Dan Steinbock is research director of international business at the India China and America Institute (US) and a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Centre (Singapore). See http://www.differencegroup.net

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Beijing Versus the Billionaire

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2015

Photo of Sin-ming Shaw

Sin-ming Shaw

Sin-ming Shaw, a former fellow at Oxford University, was, most recently, a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

OCT 7, 2015, Project Syndicate

BANGKOK – China’s government and Hong Kong’s wealthiest man, the much-admired Li Ka-shing, have been waging an acidic spat – one that increasingly looks like a bitter divorce being played out in tabloid newspapers. Indeed, Chinese media have lately been directing a relentless stream of vitriol at Li. His “crime”? Buying low in Europe and selling high in China – that is, acting like an investor.

The trigger for this wave of scorn was Li’s sell-off of some of his prime Shanghai properties, after relocating his corporate registry from Hong Kong to the Cayman Islands. This is a completely mundane and rational business decision, aimed at minimizing tax obligations. Indeed, some 70% of all Hong Kong-listed companies have a Caribbean registry, and even a number of major mainland companies, including the Internet giant Alibaba, are registered in offshore tax havens. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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