The huge market and economic opportunities brought about by the rapid growth of the economy of the Chinese mainland are the strong support that Hong Kong needs for its further economic development.
Hong Kong must also take up the role of a bridge that connects China and the world.
However, its development cannot, and should not rely solely on the mainland. Only when Hong Kong embraces more changes will the city’s future become more distinctive and international.
In this position, it can help the mainland further deepen its reforms, promote the implementation of policies, including the Belt and Road Initiative and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and boost the steady development of Hong Kong’s society and economy.
Besides the issues of hollowing out, rising property prices and the widening gap between the rich and the poor, Hong Kong’s economy is also facing several new problems.
For example, Hong Kong, an international city, has not been as international as before.
The vision and views of the people of Hong Kong have become narrower.
Hong Kong has lost many development opportunities because of their failure to capitalise on the rapid changes in many emerging economies and developing countries in time.
In the past two decades, Hong Kong has attracted over one million people from various fields, which is similar to the situation in Singapore. However, the difference is that most of the people who went to Singapore were highly educated talent; and most of them working there became residents.
Whereas many of those who went to Hong Kong had received a limited education and failed to make effective contributions to the local economy.
Hong Kong needs to work on the following four aspects if it wants to regain its former glory.
First, Hong Kong should re-develop its manufacturing industry. Hong Kong factories have become “empty shells” since Hong Kong’s manufacturing industry started to shift to the mainland in the early 1980s.
Hollowing out has become a major dilemma for Hong Kong’s economy in recent years. Hong Kong’s economy will cease to expand if Hong Kong’s people continue to depend on quick money for their development, such as property and the stock market, and “easy money” earned as a result of preferential policies provided by the mainland.
What Hong Kong needs is to create more high-end manufacturing and innovative industries and produce more “Made in Hong Kong” products than just “Made by Hong Kong” ones.
Second, Hong Kong must return to its position of an export-oriented economy and become the new trade center of Asia.
The new type of trade is not the traditional trade of importing and exporting commodities, but “offshore trade.”
Hong Kong should further rely on the “offshore” development model in the future in order to continuously expand and transfer the outreach network, link investment and trade with the international market, and combine Hong Kong’s strong financial and service industries to jointly promote Hong Kong as a new trade centre in Asia.
Third, Hong Kong should be more international and become the bridge between the mainland and the outside world.
As an international financial hub, Hong Kong’s core competitive advantage is the “clustering” of professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, investment bankers and professional consultants, which laid a solid foundation for the consolidation and development of the status of Hong Kong as the global financial centre.
Fourth, Hong Kong must enhance its innovation. Hong Kong’s innovative ability has always ranked among the best in the world.
The voice transmission function in WeChat was invented by a Hong Kong company “Green Tomato.”
However, Hong Kong also has its own problems. The evaluations on teachers’ performance in Hong Kong are mainly based on their academic papers.
The commercialisation of patents the teachers obtain and whether the patents have authorised buyers are not listed as evaluation standards.
The faculty and staff members in Hong Kong universities are usually paid a high salary, so professors do not have the incentive to commercialise patents.
Hong Kong’s universities also have different policies on intellectual property rights, and professors and students normally are not the ones who benefit the most from their research accomplishments.
These universities need reform in order to foster innovation. The central government’s policy toward Hong Kong will not change. Hong Kong is still a blessed land as long as Hong Kong’s people reach consensus and focus on issues of economic development and people’s livelihood.