In the press

Updated: 2013-04-30 06:52

(HK Edition)

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In the press

Diversify or deteriorate

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said in a meeting with leading members of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong in Beijing on Friday that Hong Kong's top priority today is economic development. He emphasized the importance of economic development mainly because Hong Kong's deeper problems have begun emerging while some of its competitive edges have weakened. If Hong Kong society remains preoccupied with political issues such as how the 2017 Chief Executive (CE) Election by universal suffrage should be conducted to the neglect of economic development and people's livelihood, it will end up missing an important window of opportunity for economic growth.

As a matter of fact, some countries in the region, such as Singapore and South Korea, were able to recover from the international financial crisis quickly in recent years mainly because they focused on industrial diversification. Singapore invested a great deal in the bio-tech pharmaceutical industry while South Korea boosted its high value-added manufacturing industry to maintain strong economic growth. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has noted repeatedly in its Annual Report on Urban Competitiveness in recent years that Hong Kong is losing its competitive edge and warned the SAR could fall behind mainland cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Economic development is like boating upstream. It begins drifting backwards as soon as one stops rowing.

The deeper problems facing Hong Kong's economic development include under-diversified economic structure, widening income gap, dwindling upward mobility, soaring property prices and rents and inability to transform the economy effectively. Political confrontation cannot find the city a way out of this limbo. Only by seizing the opportunity to push the economic development forward and forging new competitive edges can Hong Kong solve its deeper problems.

This is an excerpted translation of a Wen Wei Po editorial published on April 29.

(HK Edition 04/30/2013 page1)