April 03, 2006

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China's Explosive Growth

A fantastic, even if Photoshopped, picture of urban renewal in Shenzhen, just across the river border from the New Territories of Hong Kong.

It has stirred controversy because it is an amalgamation of two different pictures, but it is at once a statement of China's steriod-fuelled development (the steroids being the limitless amount of cheap credit for property development), and the eclipse of Hong Kong as a center for wealth creation when the action is north of the border. Yet as Cindy Sherman, a famous American photographer once said, the camera can turn lies into truth; the photo over-simplifies the relationship between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and masks their interdependence.

posted by HK Dave on 04.03.06 at 02:21 PM in the China economy category.


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Where do you think the rise of the mainland will leave HK in the next coming decades? Will it still be the major financial hub that it is now? Or perhaps do you think HK's place in the world is on the decline?

posted by: Chris on 04.03.06 at 02:33 PM [permalink]

Hi Chris,

I think Hong Kong still has a role to play in the growth of China. Many people ave likened Hong Kong to Venice, a city that built itself around trade, commerce and the financing of exciting voyages, but that was ultimately eclipsed by the discovery of new trading routes that put it off the map.

However, while there are many similarities (a prosperous city-state, local magnates that own ports and shipping across the known world), Hong Kong is also part of China. For that reason, Hong Kong is not a Genoa or Venice in competition with someone else (i.e. Spain, Portugal, Holland) but an asset to be utilized by China.

Of course, Hong Kong has long since ceased being a 'gateway' to China, since direct contact of all kinds are now possible between the rest of the world and China. But Hong Kong still offers many advantages as a safe haven for investment, one governed by the rule of law, and as a center for finance and logistics.

Just because China's companies do not have their headquarters there does not mean that it is cut off - how many of the Fortune 500 have their HQs on Wall Street (or midtown, for that matter?). However, longer term, it needs to continue to re-invent itself as a sophisticated pleasure and haven for exclusivity for the wealth of China, and will need to do more in the years ahead to continue to impress its mainland clientele. It will also need to do a great deal to ensure that its ways of governance are not trying to meet those of China halfway, when China's methods are clearly inadequate.

posted by: HK Dave on 04.03.06 at 06:01 PM [permalink]

Photographer and judges with Chinese characteristics to create a harmonious prize winning photo.

posted by: PJ Davis on 04.04.06 at 03:29 PM [permalink]

The photo of Shenzhen reminds me of the sad state of HK. Hong Kong seems to be the ultimate victim of China's economic growth, with jobs and investment outsourced to China and HK government is mostly to blame.

posted by: daco on 04.05.06 at 02:29 PM [permalink]

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