As one energy descends another ascends. The flitting of Cheng Yu-tung (1925-2016), skill aristocrat and owner of New World Development, outlines a shutting of a Hong Kong era. It also ushers in a formidable and capricious future.
Hong Kong’s business stage in a twentieth century was and still is dominated by 5 large tycoons: Cheng Yu-tung (aged 91) of New World, Li Ka-shing (88) of Cheung Kong and Hutchison Groups; Lee Shau-kee (88) of Henderson Land, Stanley Ho Hung-sun (94) of Shun Tak, and a Kwok family (32 to 67) of Sung Hung Kai.
All of them flourished in pre-1997 Hong Kong from a 70s to a 90s where smallest regulation, domestic stupidity and a fast flourishing economy authorised them to feat any probable opportunity. Nothing wrong with being an opportunist, generally during a duration of abounding opportunities in Hong Kong for everybody from starved skill developers to a flourishing center category who could means rising prices for their possess flats. And in their era, creation as most income as probable though carrying to comment to a rest of multitude was a Hong Kong right that done a city special.
Their success is not distinct a pharaohs of Egypt – a immeasurable accumulation of monarchy-like family resources by forcing a rest of a race to grind and compensate for flats that upheld their pyramids. The usually problem is that a whole Hong Kong economy and amicable swell will be entombed along with them in their sarcophagus.
Their families have turn a largest holders of private resources in Hong Kong. So it is no warn that notwithstanding a negligence economy, a rents and prices of residential flats and bureau space sojourn high and unaffordable.
The winter of a aged tycoons contingency historically coincide with a arise and mercantile dispute with a young, localist, anti-establishment politicians in Legco. Much has been created about how Hong Kong’s supervision and economy needs to remodel over skill dependency. Many things in Hong Kong will change, though a ubiquitous energy of large skill developers is not one of them. The subsequent era of tycoons will get adequate income and energy to lift on in silence.
For a stream immature generation, if their hopes and final for democracy and improved vital standards and cheaper housing are not met, a healthy prolonged tenure response is not polite strife. Hong Kong people will never salary a ubiquitous strike over peculiarity of life, distinct a French, since their timidity is lined with money.
Instead, a new, solid call of flight out of Hong Kong and to Canada, a US and Australia will revive itself. Disaffection with a domestic routine will outcome in immature people emigrating as shortly as they connoisseur and validate since they can’t means to live here.
Beijing will phlegmatically respond by augmenting mainland immigrants over a one approach assent intrigue where 150 mainlanders are authorised any day to reunite with families. While flight in a 80s and 90s took a fee on Hong Kong’s talent pool, prepared mainlanders could simply reinstate those leaving. But afterwards can mainland immigrants means Hong Kong prosaic prices? At a stream rate, 180 block feet flats will mutate into 100 block feet stalls.
Hong Kong is apropos a city decorated in a famous 70s sci-fi film Soylent Green. (Warning-spoiler alert). The place can usually tarry by immoderate a inhabitants since there is zero left to beget sustenance.
Peter Guy is a financial author and former general banker