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  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 7:42am
NewsHong Kong

Don't bank on trade from mainland Chinese mothers, CY warns medics

Maternity wards told not to rely on such clientele, as chief executive says they burden city's hospitals and education system

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 4:44am

Hong Kong's medical industry should not rely on the "doomed" business of treating mainland mothers-to-be, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has warned.

The city's chief executive was addressing how the zero-tolerance policy for expectant mainland mothers in Hong Kong's maternity wards could affect the city's obstetrics industry. Yesterday marked the first time he had done so since the ban came into effect in January.

"If the medical industry cannot be developed without the clientele of babies born to mainland parents, we have to seriously reconsider the idea of the medical industry," he wrote in his blog.

His comments came four days after Leung's government scrapped a tender to build a private hospital in Tai Po after the sole bidder failed to meet conditions attached to the project.

In his debut policy address in January, Leung also said the government-appointed Economic Development Commission would consider how to remove the medical and education sectors from the six cutting-edge industries named by predecessor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen as key areas of development. Leung yesterday said: "The business derived from mainland pregnant women is doomed. The government is determined. The reason is simple: the price Hong Kong society has to pay is too great."

Before the ban, he said some 30,000 babies were born in the city to mainland parents every year, with a total of 200,000 such births in recent years.

Leung said that while obstetricians and hospitals made money from the influx, it burdened the city's health-care and education services, as evident in the strained allocation of Primary One seats.

"When developing any industry, we should not only consider the interest of the industry, but also the overall interest of society, and the direct and indirect costs to the community," Leung wrote.

The Economic Development Commission, led by Leung, held its first meeting on Wednesday.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah disclosed in his blog yesterday that commission members were divided over whether the city should redevelop the city's manufacturing industry, which was diminishing.

"It is impossible for Hong Kong to make a U-turn and adopt labour-intensive ways to make low-value products," John Tsang said.

He added that if production was carried out in the city, it should be making high-value products, such as hi-tech, well-designed and highly customised goods.

Tsang said some members had suggested that Hong Kong should "develop industries but not factories" and that it should retain high-value sectors, such as design, brand management and supply chain management.


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"He added that if production was carried out in the city, it should be making high-value products, such as hi-tech, well-designed and highly customised goods." Sounds reasonable but won't work as long as HK is land driven. You won't see the creations of Apple or Samsung alike if properties were the only way to make money.
In the dot com age we have few companies in HK raised billions of dollars, but what are they doing now? This proved Hk failed in hi tech is not capital but just too much competition with the easy way to make money, ie property.
Plus Hk is very low tech if you look at all major corporate websites, all are below standard. Even Hk has high rent, we still have very little online shopping this is also proving we are very low tech. Some may say it it convenience to shop in Hk but please this is no excuse. Hk is not convenience to shop unless you live in Ming kok or causeway bay. If you live in island south, mid level, or tai po, u will have a hard time to even try to buy a hard drive or a hi end router! Will take u at least an hour to drive or take a public transportation. Vs take me 5 to 10 minutes to drive to bestbuy or Office Depot or zero driving using amazon in US.
Sonce when do Hospital Obstetrics departments engage in foreign trade?
Well put.
One idea why instead of discouraging hospital industry what about encouraging development of more and better primary schools. Primary school attendance has actually been going down the issue is appropriate high level schooling. Look at Singapore which the government has invested in all levels of education.
A simple math government before Leung was ignoring. Hospital made around 100k per baby but we Hk society will spend easily 2m to raise a kid ( 4 yr university education is over 1m for sure) and no guarantee they will stay behind to contribute to the economy.
Well said, well said!
It is time the government stood up to those greedy interests we all know too well about..................
Hospital has become a means of generating wealth for certain people, how sad!


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