Hong-Kong-the End of an Era

November 6, 2014 6:09 am  /  Asia
Hong-Kong-the End of an Era

Hong-Kong is a magical place. It’s a city where transportation companies issue public apologies for being a couple minutes behind schedule, where companies can be registered within 24 hours, and where hospitalization costs you a flat US$10/day. Most of Hong-Kong success is directly attributable to the United Kingdom: what began as a small fisherman island became one of the world’s largest export hubs.

How did they achieve this? One answer: smart planning. Everything, from transportation to energy providers is privatized; the government has little to no input, with a couple of exceptions including healthcare, where doctors are forced to split their time equally between private and public practice. Most of the government revenue is made from stamp duties (exports, and commercial transactions), which has drastically reduced the tax burden for the population.

However, Hong-Kong’s overwhelming success has caused a number of issues that are yet to be resolved. The cost of housing, for instance, has become prohibitively high for most Hong-Kongers, due to the influx of foreigners (Chinese included), and rampant speculation. Quality of life has also been deteriorating, as pollution from China has been steadily increasing over the years: blue skies and pink dolphins have been replaced with murky waters and foggy skies.

The Umbrella Revolution, which took place in 2014, has highlighted the urgent need of a clear strategy in tackling existing structural issues. The billion dollar question is regarding Hong-Kong’s political status: can a balance of power be achieved with Beijing?

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