The business community's influence is being diluted by the growing concentration of power in the hands of politicians and interest groups, according to Hang Lung Development chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung. Mr Chan told a Better Hong Kong Foundation symposium on Hong Kong's long-term development that the business community had to act now or the SAR's long-term competitiveness would be threatened. 'Hong Kong has changed. Before it was a economy-led city and now it is a politics-led city,' he told the seminar. Mr Chan's comments echoed those of a growing number of people in the business community concerned about the power of the legislature, which they claim is damaging Hong Kong's reputation as a free market economy. Mr Chan hinted broadly that democracy as it stood in the SAR was not effective and was proving counterproductive to Hong Kong's interests. Part of the problem lay in the new legislative set-up, allowing politicians to say whatever they liked with little or no accountability. The result was an increasingly discordant society in which Hong Kong's traditional strengths were being compromised. 'People used to say last year, before the handover: 'The communists are coming.' But the local community are the communists.' Mr Chan called for more balanced representation and said deliberations over salary cuts and other labour union issues were hindering the ability of the Government to show leadership during this time of economic crisis. 'We now have political problems and constitutional problems and these things need to be addressed if Hong Kong is to thrive,' he added. 'We can't have leadership when we don't have any clear picture about who leads.' Mr Chan offered grudging praise to Singapore for its ability to act quickly on cost-cutting measures for business and said Hong Kong needed to show similar dynamism. Hong Kong had to develop new industries and strengthen its three key sectors - financial services, property and tourism - in order to remain attractive, he said. Hong Kong would never become a technology hub but had a lot to offer in terms of commercialisation and product development. It also had to look more to the whole region, rather than focusing on becoming the gateway to the mainland, Mr Chan said.