Shape up and keep up, business leaders tell Hong Kong at forum

They want city to draw from its rich history and culture, and become a unique nexus for region

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2017, 11:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 June, 2017, 9:32pm

Hong Kong should strive for the title of Asia’s cultural hub as well as have the courage to break out of its comfort zone, according to panel members at the “Celebrating Hong Kong’s Coming of Age” conference organised by the South China Morning Post on Monday.

Douglas Young, the co-founder and CEO of lifestyle products brand Goods of Desire, said he was optimistic about the city’s future and hoped Hong Kong could position itself as a cultural hub in Asia.

“I wish for the future government to really grab this title,” Young told the conference, adding that the city’s history, rule of law and freedom of expression had given it a huge edge in moving towards this goal.

Citing some successful events, such as Art Basel, he said that a cultural hub would mean hosting movie festivals, fashion shows and sports programmes regularly.

Young also said that malls in the city had become more homogenised with the influx of international labels which had flooded the market as China opened up after the 1997 handover.

Meanwhile, Annie Yau Tse, chairman and CEO of Tse Sui Luen Jewellery (International) Limited, called on Hongkongers to leave their comfort zones.

“We are happy with our lifestyles, and just want to stay in this [state],” she said. “That is one of the reasons why Hong Kong is so behind others. We do not have the demand and supply to [improve] technology.”

Citing how mainlanders had been aggressively using digital wallets for payments – including taxi fares – instead of cash, Tse called on Hongkongers to ditch old habits. “People in Hong Kong need to change,” she said.