2021-09-27
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Hong Kong Today
今日香港


Be fair and transparent when sponsoring industries with an edge
資助優勢產業要公正透明


    The Task Force on Economic Challenges convened by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen listed the six industries of Hong Kong's knowledge-based economy knowledge-based economy 知識型經濟 in which Hong Kong already has an edge and said the government would provide assistance in terms of policies and land supply. To ensure that public money and precious land resources will be used most efficiently, the government's selection process must be highly transparent so that resources will go to organizations or businesses that are the most competitive and most capable of creating wealth for Hong Kong in the long term.

    Earlier before the financial tsunami struck, developing a knowledge-based economy was already a trend in advanced regions around the world. Especially for Hong Kong which is lacking natural resources other than a deep port, it has to depend on soft power such as talents and policies to give the economy and employment a push. After the light industries that kicked off the economy in the previous century shifted into the mainland, the financial, logistics logistics (n) 物流 , tourism and professional services have in recent years faced stronger and stronger local and overseas competition. Hong Kong's economy has long since been looking for a new way out of the bottleneck bottleneck (n) 瓶頸 situation. The financial tsunami wiped off the myth myth(n)	神話 that Hong Kong could solely depend on its financial sector, which has become a catalyst catalyst(n)催化劑 for Hong Kong to seek opportunities in risk.

Exploit business opportunities with soft power of HK brand

    The Task Force on Economic Challenges, which is responsible for the above mission, revealed its final suggestions on Monday, listing the six industries in which Hong Kong already has an edge: education, medical services, testing and certification certification(n)	檢定 , environment, innovation and technology, and culture and creativity as the future direction of the economy of Hong Kong in exploiting opportunities. Hong Kong people are familiar with these industries. Most of them have established a sound foundation in Hong Kong and their products have great market potentials. The 1.3 billion population of China has great demands for educational, medical and environmental products. The testing and certification services in Hong Kong also enjoy much better public trust than those in the mainland. All these industries can make use of the Hong Kong brand to show great value-added effects and go in line with the opportunities that come with the quality living circle quality living circle 優質生活圈 in the Pearl River Delta Region. It all depends on how the government and businesses implement them.

    In this era of strong belief in positive non-intervention positive non-intervention 積極不干預 , both the officials and public are suspicious suspicious(adj)懷疑的 of governmental assistance towards certain industries, worried that it would cause chaos chaos(n)混亂 to the "invisible hand" of the free market operation. Now the government has found six industries and is inclined towards them in its policies, including purchasing more environment-friendly products or providing land for private hospitals and universities. It will inevitably raise social concerns.

Land allocation should be done on a point system

    Even during the British rule, the government would, based on economic and social needs, not take a laissez-faire approach on the markets. There were also inclinations in policies and actual assistance. The most obvious example is in the first round of economic takeoff in the 1970's moved by light industries when Hong Kong became one of the Asia's Four Little Dragons. In addition to the competitiveness of the industry itself, the government has also provided land subsidy for small scale factories through building low-rent factory buildings.

    Market power is not without a blind spot blind spot 盲點 , especially in the property market which is full of inclinations towards short and intermediate term returns. The government has the responsibility to consider long term economic and social effects and adjust the land supply. The Industrial Park, Science Park, Eco Park, private hospitals and universities have all enjoyed such privilege of land allocation. The proposals made by the Task Force on Economic Challenges are not new. But because they involve land and profits, the authorities have to exercise caution.

    No matter if it is land or other form of assistance with public money, the authorities had better do it in an open tender for the industry. Just like in the earlier arrangement for revitalization revitalization(n)活化 of historic sites, the selection is made with due consideration for the strengths and pledges made in the proposals of the tenders. The best is to have a point system with higher transparency to be fair and prevent any cause for complaint of collusion collusion(n)勾結 between businessmen and government officials and avoid side issues while promoting a knowledge-based economy .

 

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