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Friday, Feb 03, 2023

‘Fundamental problems’ drive foreign investors and elites away

‘Fundamental problems’ drive foreign investors and elites away

There are fundamental problems in various aspects like culture and sports, education, politics, and the living environment when the SAR government faces difficulties in attracting overseas talents, said Executive Councilor Ronny Tong Ka-wah.
In an article published on Facebook Thursday morning, Tong said the protests in 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic should not be blamed for the retreat of foreign investors.

Tong highlighted huge differences in attracting investors and elites from overseas, as investors care about making money, but elites pay more attention to the quality of their lives here.

He continued that while Hong Kong is an excellent place for people to make money, there is room for improvement in quality of life.

Tong noted that overseas elites are enthusiastic about arts, culture, and sports. Although introducing the West Kowloon Cultural District is a big step, Hong Kong’s facilities in sports like rowing, water skiing, and golf lag behind other cities.

The recent government suggestion of recovering half of the Fanling golf course for building public housing flats goes against the goal of attracting overseas talents, according to Tong. He gave Singapore as a counterexample – the Lion City, with a 5 million population, has 17 private and public golf courses.

Tong mentioned the average living area in Hong Kong is 13.5 square meters per person, while that in Singapore is 24 square meters. “Hong Kong is but a ‘concrete jungle’ to many foreign professionals,” he wrote.

“Changing the ratio of public housing to private housing to seven to three further boosts private home prices to the top,” he added.

As for education, Tong pointed out there are not enough places for international schools in Hong Kong.

Although Hong Kong is more democratic and open than Singapore, Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China and is a “cardinal sin” for the west.

Tong hoped authorities could strike a balance between providing quality lives to foreign investors and the elite and fulfilling the demands of grass-root citizens without sacrificing one another.

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