Beijing’s call for ‘new mindset’ in Hong Kong shows city leaders must step up, analysts say

“We cannot look at today’s new situation with yesterday’s old eyes. We cannot use yesterday’s old thinking to solve today’s new problems,” he said.

“We need to unite and look ahead to solve the problems we face using new thinking, new methods and new routes. [We should] dare to say new things that have not been said by our predecessors and dare to do things that have never been done before to make constant breakthroughs.”

Hong Kong’s traditional advantages should not remain “static” and maintaining the city’s “golden brand” required constant effort, he added.

Hong Kong cannot rely too much on the central government for guidance and policies, says analyst Lau Siu-kai, adding Beijing is “definitely” expecting more proactive plans and actions from officials. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Veteran China-watcher Lau Siu-kai, a consultant for semi-official think tank the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said the central government expected the city to propose bold fixes for deep-rooted issues now that less political friction existed with security safeguards firmly in place.

“The central government is indeed worried about Hong Kong’s economic situation,” Lau said. “So, it must encourage and supervise the government and all walks of life in Hong Kong. This is also to spur the government.”

Lau said he believed Beijing was “definitely” expecting more proactive plans and actions from city officials.

“Hong Kong cannot rely too much on the central government for guidance and policies,” he said. “It must have its own opinions and suggestions based on studies and research, so that the central government can formulate more effective policies for Hong Kong.”


Leaders urge development, vow vigilance as Hong Kong marks National Security Education Day

Leaders urge development, vow vigilance as Hong Kong marks National Security Education Day

Political scientist Hung Wing-lok, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s faculty of social science, said: “Beijing possibly wants Hong Kong to nurture and attract new talent to work in new industries and digital economies, especially in the Greater Bay Area and belt and road countries to ensure Hong Kong’s successful economic transformation.

“At this moment, the Hong Kong government is lacking new thinking because our officials were trained to work in an industrialised society and financial society. But now we need new talent to work in a digital society with new industries.”

But he added: “It is difficult to boost Hong Kong’s economy quickly as the city is suffering from the effects of growing Sino-US competition.”

The bay area is Beijing’s plan to link Hong Kong, Macau and nine other southern Chinese cities into an economic powerhouse, while the Belt and Road Initiative aims to create a China-centred trade network that spans more than 100 countries.

Hui Ching, research director of policy think tank the Hong Kong Zhi Ming Institute, said: “Xia’s remarks are the clearest indication that Beijing will have a more hands-on approach to Hong Kong affairs and will give the Hong Kong government orders directly and straightforwardly on what it should do.

Favourable policies designed to boost Hong Kong in pipeline, Beijing official says

“Xia is to tell Hong Kong to change its economic policies and there is such a need because of frictions between China and the West.

“But how successful it can be is another story. Hong Kong is a free capitalistic market. We are used to following the market. Does Beijing now want us to give up the old ways that have made Hong Kong successful and turn to trying some new mindset while hoping it can make us as successful?”

Economist Simon Lee Siu-po, an honorary fellow at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Asia-Pacific Institute of Business, was more pessimistic, saying the city had been relying too heavily on land and property for the basis of its economy.

“In the new era, most companies with high market value are focused on innovation,” Lee said. “But we are still talking about property prices and the housing market.”

But senior economist Gary Ng Cheuk-yan, of Natixis Corporate and Investment Bank, disagreed.

“It is unfair to say the Hong Kong government relies too much on traditional advantages as many are the economic cornerstones nurturing different sectors, such as finance and logistics,” he said.

Hong Kong should make more effort to “regain its charm in connecting China with the world beyond the inward integration push with the Greater Bay Area”, he argued.

“For Beijing, the value of Hong Kong is it can connect trade, investment and technology cooperation in a way mainland China cannot do,” Ng added.

In his speech, Xia also pledged that the central government’s support for Hong Kong would only strengthen and not weaken, adding: “There will be more policies supporting and favouring Hong Kong to come.”

Watch out for security threats that can ‘spread like viruses’: Hong Kong leader

Ng said the easiest area to improve was the financial services industry

“If Beijing can relax restrictions and have more favourable policies on cross-border finance, it can create a positive effect on wealth, consumption and other sectors,” he said, citing as an example allowing mainlanders to invest directly in Hong Kong’s initial public offerings.

“If Hong Kong can rebuild growth prospects and confidence, all other problems will be easier to solve.”

The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong political party also urged the local government to seek deeper integration with national development and serve as the country’s window to the world.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.