'Only those who manage to catch ride will thrive'

Updated: 2017-03-14 09:13

By Luo Weiteng(HK Edition)

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Hong Kong risked being left behind if its companies and talented people did not actively and aggressively seize the opportunities the country's rapid development presented, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) has warned.

"Out of the batch of firms included in Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index three decades ago, merely one or two remain today," Andrew Yao Cho-fai, an NPC deputy and the chairman of Hong Kong Shanghai Alliance Holdings, pointed out.

"One could hardly survive and thrive without embracing change, as there is no dearth of up-and-coming firms ready to catch up and join the fray," he said. "Such a sense of crisis is exactly what the city's companies and individuals lack nowadays."

His words echo remarks by NPC Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang, who warned in a closed-door meeting with Hong Kong's delegation to the NPC in Beijing that Hong Kong was likely to lose ground to Shenzhen, one of its fast-growing rivals, within two years if it did not keep its focus on economic development.

'Only those who manage to catch ride will thrive'

Yao believed Hong Kong people with foresight were already moving to snap up opportunities that the rapid development of the world's second-largest economy gave them.

"Those who lose no time to catch the ride could survive and prosper, while those who remain satisfied with the status quo and refuse to change would be gradually kicked out of the game," he noted. "In that sense, the pain of 'natural selection' is not necessarily a bad thing."

To be sure, it is an old story of "survival of the fittest" which Hong Kong people have long lived with. Looking back to 1950s and 1960s, businesses which responded too slowly to the trend toward export trade were eventually driven out of the market.

Now, people in Hong Kong are witnessing another big trend, underscored by a cluster of bold moves, including the mainland-spearheaded Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative and the ongoing internationalization of the renminbi, which pointed to potentially huge opportunities ahead, Yao told China Daily during the NPC gathering in Beijing.

Such times called for a shift of mentality; talented people in Hong Kong should be encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and muster their courage to start new businesses in markets along the B&R route, he observed.

It was important to "set sail with ships from mainland" by collaborating with cash-rich mainland Stated-owned enterprises (SOEs) such as China Merchants Group and Bank of China in the B&R push.

This massive trade and infrastructure project, spanning 60 countries and regions, offered Asia's financial hub a wealth of opportunities to export its expertise in common law, international currency settlement and language. By joining hands with mainland SOEs, the SAR was well positioned to enjoy the first-mover advantage and play a bigger part in the initiative.


(HK Edition 03/14/2017 page5)