Category Archives: News

Hongkongers vote with wallets

One of the SCMP’s bigwigs recently posted the rhetorical question of whether Hong Kong has a silent majority or a terrified minority suffering through the protests in, well, silence and terror. His hunch was based on people writing, as well as those yearning to write,  anonymous Letters to the Editor.

We will never know how many people there really are in this minority group.  Lacking a really thorough market-research survey, all we can go with is anecdotes, such as those from agents talking about how many people are buying overseas properties to get Golden Visas. SCMP has another one today that is worth reading. Even though no one should confuse it with hard evidence of a sizeable percentage of the population.

Who will step up and do such a survey? Come on, SCMP. There must be plenty of students who would welcome the standard HK$60 an hour fee to poll people who are not joining the marches. Unless they are all in the marches themselves, that is.

It would be really interesting to know. We keep hearing that there are large numbers of people turning against the protests. If so, it would be helpful to see the evidence.

Hong Kong Wrap: 22/10/2019

New handouts: Finance Secretary Paul Chan is handing out HK$2 billion of relief measures to the logistics and tourism sectors, saying it will boost GDP growth by 2%. Read more.

How about a buck: Office vacancy rates have jumped from 4% to 7.6% within a few months in the world’s most expensive commercial property market as mainland firms stay away in droves, resulting in some desperate landlords offering deals as low as a token one dollar. Read more.

Foreign meddling: China’s foreign minister says the protests are about “violence, pure and simple” as the central government dials up the anti-foreign sentiment. Read more.

No middle ground: Neither side is showing the courage required to end the protests, writes columnist Tom Plate. Read more.

Judge not: A regional conference for top judges has been put on hold as Hong Kong’s lure for meetings and conventions dims. (Besides, what would they have to discuss?) Read more.

Knife attack: A man has been remanded in custody after turning himself in for the knife attack on a teenager at Tai Po’s Lennon Wall. Read more.

Mob justice? Police say they are investigating the Yuen Long triad attacks, having made 34 arrests. Protesters who showed up in the neighbourhood yesterday say it’s not enough. Roadblocks and tear gas ensued. Read more. 

Surreal estate: To understand how warped Hong Kong’s property market has become, read this explainer of the government’s new policy on relaxed mortgage caps for homes worth over US$1 million. It’s being pitched as a godsend for first-time buyers. Read more.

Cross-Strait conundrum: Taiwan and Hong Kong cannot agree on how to handle the voluntary surrender of the fugitive that sparked the crisis. Read more.

GBA Briefs: 14/10/2019

Baoan full-speed 5G: Shenzhen’s Baoan district, which includes the international airport and the new Shenzhen World expo center, will have its major facilities covered by 5G before the end of this year, with full coverage by August 2020, Shenzhen Daily reports. The district is currently at 41% coverage, and will build 3,684 5G base stations this year, covering the airport, expo center and Metro lines.

Guangfo Line 2020: The much-anticipated Guangzhou-Foshan Intercity Railway, known as the Guangfo Line, will open in March 2020. This will connect six stations in Foshan with the Guangzhou South hub, effectively bringing all of Foshan’s key towns within easy reach from Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Read more.

Dongguan ferries to Macau: Dongguan’s Humen district now runs ferries directly to the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Macau, which serves the major casinos in Cotai. The journey takes 100 minutes and there are four sailings daily. See

India flights: Guangzhou will soon begin a direct flight to the Indian city of Kolkata. Read more.

Hong Kong Wrap: 11/10

Hexit: More than 40% of Hongkongers want to emigrate, according to a new survey. Read more

Swim canceled: The Harbor Race swim is the latest victim of the protests, as its October 27 event has been canceled. Read more.

Unhappy in HK: Happiness levels are plunging in Hong Kong, amid ‘alarming’ stats for mental health. Read more.

Young, not innocent: More than one third of those arrested in the protests are younger than 18, the police admit. Read more.

Apple winces: Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended the company’s decision to pull the app from its store that let protesters track police movements. Read more.

Central jammed: Hong Kong’s main business district saw a record number of people take their lunchtime break to march today. They went back to their desks afterward, of course. Read more.

GBA Briefs: 10/10/2019

GZ Metro record: During the recent National Day holiday, the Guangzhou Metro carried 60.027 million passengers, a daily average of 8.704 million, up 7.4% YoY, and first in the country.The single-day record was actually set on September 30, the day before the National Day, at 11.134 million passengers. Read more.

Beijing giveth: The central government is extending its deal with local governments on tax revenue-sharing, Caixin reports. This should boost the nine cities of the GBA inside Guangdong, as they will get to keep around 50% of VAT revenue rather than 25%. The policy has been in place since 2016. Read more.

Lame Speech? Carrie Lam may disappoint high expectations for her upcoming Policy Speech, according to sources quoted by SCMP. Nothing truly bold seems to be under consideration. Read more.

SZ no threat to HK: Hong Kong’s former monetary chief, Joseph Yam, and others weigh in on Shenzhen, saying it is no threat to Hong Kong’s position as a financial center while the Renminbi is not freely convertible. Read more.

Oh, really? Henny Sender of the FT says Hong Kong’s biggest challenge is that it has been resting on its laurels as a financial center for too long. Read more.

GBA Briefs: 09/10/2019

Golden Week woes: Hong Kong lost HK$2.8bn over the recent National Day holiday period, according to according to local analysts and business leaders quoted by SCMP. Read more.

Senseless: Hong Kong-based AI unicorn Sensetime is in danger of losing a precious relationship with MIT, the world’s premier tech university, due to its landing on the US Entity List, SCMP reports. Read more.

Megvii may lose Goldmans: Another AI unicorn that had been hoping to list in Hong Kong, Megvii, might lose its sponsor, Goldman Sachs, for the same reason, Caixin reports. Read more.

Contrasting Views: Washington-based academics like David Meyer think Hong Kong is irreplaceable as a financial center and that Beijing backs it to the hilt. Jamil Anderlini of the FT, on the other hand, believes “Beijing will have its revenge on Hong Kong”. Read them on SCMP and FT.

GBA Briefs: 25/9/2019

Scapegoats or scoundrels? SCMP takes a closer look at the political weight of Hong Kong’s property oligarchs and notes that they have been shedding pounds ever since President Xi Jinping came to power. Read more.

No force necessary: An online opinion poll claims that most Hongkongers would rather see the police force disbanded than merely held accountable for recent alleged violent acts. Read more.

Alibaba preps for IPO: Alibaba has bought out a direct one-third stake in its finance subsidiary, Ant Financial, which analysts see as a precursor to its next mega-listing. This IPO would give the battered HK Stock Exchange a major boost. Read more on Caixin.

CICC teams with Tencent: One of the country’s biggest asset managers has established a joint venture with Tencent to run an online wealth-management firm. Talk about a fintech disruption. Read more on Caixin (in Chinese).

GBA Briefs: 23/09/19

HK IPOs: Initial public offerings are returning to Hong Kong, as valuations have bottomed out after a dismal summer disrupted by the street protests. Read more on SCMP

Mozzies out: Caixin has a good read about a Guangzhou experiment in exterminating mosquitos that carry deadly diseases. Read more about the “mosquito factory” on Caixin

D-RMB not yet: The new digital currency won’t be out as soon as November, the PBOC has clarified, without providing further details. Read more on Technode

GBA Briefs: 20/09/19

UOB in Zhongshan: Singapore’s UOB Bank sees the potential in Zhongshan, becoming the first international bank to open a branch in the city. Read more.

Financial Rankings: Even without a convertible currency, Shenzhen has climbed into the global rankings as a finance center, making 9th place on a list compiled by a UK-based think tank and a … Shenzhen-based institute. Read more.

GBA Briefs: 19/09/19

Alipay in Macau: Alipay has launched a version of its service for Macau residents. Local users can bind their Macau bank accounts to it and pay each other as well as local merchants. Read more.

Clean Shenzhen: The city has retained its clean-air ranking, running in third place between Haikou (Hainan) and Lhasa (Tibet). Read more. 

Dongguan going digital: Huawei has won a contract to help the Dongguan government “go digital”. It is worth RMB 2.7 billion. Read more.