As Hong Kong counts down apprehensively to the October 1 National Day holidays, attention is focusing on how the government might address the underlying causes of the protests. As we wrote recently, CE Carrie Lam’s “Four Actions” are a decent game plan. But time is running out for specifics to be researched and decided ahead of the Policy Address at the end of October. The government cannot properly canvas public opinion by then. It is going to have to draft some measures on the fly, based on a less-than-perfect consultation mechanism.
As US media outlets continue to heap public pressure on Hong Kong and China over the street protests, more worrying news about the state of the Chinese economy is piling up, too. The Wall Street Journal has an article today questioning whether official statistics are telling the true picture of the country’s economic health, based on research taken from other public sources. Bloomberg, meanwhile, has a report highlighting the sharp fall in outbound tourism from China to southeast Asia. And the SCMP goes into our backyard to look at how consumers are holding up, finding that many are fearful.
As the Hong Kong protests drag on at the end of a hot and wet summer, it seems like there is a lot of waiting around happening. Protesters are waiting for the government to agree to their demands; the government is waiting for the protesters to stop vandalizing MTR stations; and everyone is waiting for the Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, to put us all out of her misery by resigning.
Today, she refused to, despite a leaked recording that clearly shows her at her wits’ end because she can’t get to the hair salon without running into protesters.
In case you haven’t noticed their ads, HSBC is bullish on the Greater Bay Area. Now, the bank believes that the US-China trade war could actually speed the region’s development.
This week HSBC held a Greater Bay Area Exchange Forum in Hong Kong, at which George Leung Siu-kay, chief executive for Asia, was upbeat. It does not seem that trade tensions between the US and China will be resolved quickly and it could “take a long time before everything is back to normal”, he said. As a result, the Greater Bay Area initiative will be even more important a priority for the country, he said.
His view was echoed by Helen Wong, HSBC’s chief executive for Greater China. “The Greater Bay Area as a whole can start to function as an integrated supply chain,” Wong said. “What might this look like? Research developed by a Hong Kong start-up working in partnership with a local university is used to create a prototype in Shenzhen. Once refined in the lab and financed by a private equity investor in Hong Kong, a final prototype is mass produced in a Dongguan factory. The finished products are then shipped domestically and overseas from Guangzhou.”