In the press

Updated: 2013-09-19 07:38

(HK Edition)

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Say no to 'Occupy Central'

Li Ka-shing, chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd, on Tuesday expressed his objection to "Occupy Central" and stressed once again he loves Hong Kong as well as the country and will never move his business empire out of Hong Kong.

As a standard bearer among business owners, Li wields significant influence in the city. His words clearly indicate Hong Kong's business community is strongly against "Occupy".

In fact, the business community here not only supports democratic development but also wishes it would be free of chaos and never harm Hong Kong's business environment. Local businesses have now spoken against "Occupy" because it is designed to hurt Hong Kong's economy and ruin the city's reputation as an international financial center.

Central is Hong Kong's economic nerve center and heart of its financial industry and home to 80 percent of the city's international finance and trade operations. "Occupy" will disrupt normal operations of businesses such as the securities exchange, public transport and police duties, exacting a heavy toll on Hong Kong's global reputation. According to expert estimates, Hong Kong will suffer at least HK$1.6 billion in economic losses if "Occupy" paralyzes Central for just one day; while HK$10 billion worth of stock-exchange deals will be lost if the operations are delayed for one hour by "Occupy".

An opinion poll by the Hong Kong Business Opinion Poll Company earlier this year showed 37 percent of the respondents believe "Occupy" will cause "serious damage" while 45.7 percent think it will cause "damage". The poll also found 13 percent of the respondents believe "Occupy" will cause "slight damage" and only 4.3 percent think it will cause "no damage". Those who believe "Occupy" will ruin Hong Kong's reputation as a financial center account for more than 80 percent of respondents and 76 percent believe it is illegal. Clearly Li's objection to "Occupy" represents not only his own opinion but also the Hong Kong business community's standing on the issue. A business heavyweight like Li certainly adds tremendous sway to public opinion when he speaks up against "Occupy".

This is an excerpted translation of a Wen Wei Po editorial published on Sept 18.

Hong Kong to star in FTZ

Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan said on Tuesday after the 16th meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference in Hong Kong that the proposed Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Free Trade Zone (FTZ) is currently under consideration and its positioning is different from the Shanghai FTZ in that it will be a regional trade hub focused on powering economic development in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region with Hong Kong playing a key role with its unrivaled strengths.

The idea of such an FTZ reflects the growing desire to push Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation to another level and promises an opportunity for Hong Kong to step up its economic prowess amid rising competition in the region. Hong Kong must seize this opportunity and put its unique competitive edge to full use by playing its role as a professional services provider to the fullest. This will not only boost regional economic integration but also expand the room for its own economic development.

After the central government approved the Shanghai FTZ, Guangdong is now convinced that a Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao FTZ is in order. Zhu spilled some more beans by telling the press that a team of experts hired by the central authorities have just left Guangdong and will report to the State Council about what they found out pertaining to the establishment of the FTZ so that its functions and positioning can be decided.

It is common knowledge that the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region and PRD region have always been the main engines of China's economic development. The Shanghai FTZ will no doubt put more pressure on Guangdong because the southern province has long been considered the head of the PRD region, as Shanghai is of the YRD region. Hong Kong, meanwhile, is feeling the pressure just as much if not more so, as its status as the leading free port of the country faces strong competition. It needs an FTZ to enhance its competitiveness, which in turn will further strengthen the PRD regional development, particularly in finance, modern services and foreign trade.

Hong Kong's leading role in the PRD regional development is irreplaceable. And an FTZ will no doubt boost its stardom if it does its best.

This is an excerpted translation of a Hong Kong Commercial Daily editorial published on Sept 18.

(HK Edition 09/19/2013 page5)