No.2: Capacity Challenges and Countermeasures for Hong Kong as an International Financial Centre

Alan Lung (June 2022)

In the name of protecting Hong Kong’s freedom and high degree of autonomy, “hawks” within the U.S. Government has been pushing the Trump and now the Biden administration to deploy the financial decoupling ‘toolbox’ on Hong Kong and Mainland China. As the geopolitical conflict between China and the United States continues, the risks for Hong Kong losing its position as an international financial centre are real.

The success of Hong Kong as an international financial centre has been built on: political stability, openness, transparent governance, rule of law and freedom of the press. It is necessary for Central and HKSAR Government officials to acknowledge that China’s Reform and Opening had its roots in Hong Kong when communicating Hong Kong politics to the international media. Since the handover in 1997, the HKSAR Government has not improved its governance capability significantly. Assertive statements from Central and HKSAR officials beyond the need for national security could undermine the confidence of international investors in rule of law and press freedom in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s soft power comes from its diehard liberalism accumulated over the past 150 years. In future, Hong Kong must take on the role of “Hong Kong, China” and tell the new “Hong Kong story” and new “China’s Story” to the international community. This paper highlights Hong Kong’s irreplaceable role as China’s international financial centre. It also highlights the need to adopt a moderate approach in the implementing the National Security Law and responding to external political challenges.

Full paper (available only in Chinese)

 No. 1: A Comparison of the Political and Economic Structure and Governance Capacity between Hong Kong and Singapore

Alan Lung (May 2021)

It is easy to see Singapore’s political stability, economic and general social resilience. Despite Hong Kong’s distinct geographical advantages, Singapore has outperformed Hong Kong and is beginning to challenge the latter’s status as Asia’s Financial Centre. Singapore’s outstanding performance is not an accident. It was the result of a highly effective and efficient ‘hybrid’ governance structure that outgrows its colonial archetype. On the other hand, the unresolved political dilemma in Hong Kong together with the ambiguity of keeping the ‘colonial’ government structure and reversion of sovereignty to China, is beginning to surface in the form of public discontent, less than vibrant economic growth and lack of upward mobility for the younger generation.

By comparing the similarities and differences in governance between Singapore and Hong Kong, this paper analysed the economic and social successes of Singapore.  The “Switzerland of Asia” vision is not measured in gross GDP terms alone. Singapore’s success is corner-stoned by Lee Kuan Yew’s early vision of racial, education and housing equality and a cumulation of vision-driven development policies, socio-political stability, racial harmony and vigorous national security measures.

Full paper (available only in Chinese)