Hong Kong: America’s Showcase to China

C.Y. Leung, Chairman of Asia Pacific DTZ, at Asia Society New York on September 24, 2010.

NEW YORK, September 24, 2010 - "What sells well in Hong Kong, sells well in mainland China," said C.Y. Leung, Chairman of Asia Pacific DTZ, referring to the importance of Hong Kong in the retail industry in mainland China. Leung continued, "It is the popularity of the brand established in Hong Kong that carries the goodwill that gives people the extended popularity of the brand in the rest of the country."

Leung was introduced by Vishakha Desai, President of the Asia Society, and Jeffrey Shafer, Vice Chairman, Global Banking at Citigroup, at the Asia Society's Headquarters in New York, where he discussed the mutually beneficial relationship of Hong Kong and America in the past and the many future opportunities available for America as Hong Kong grows and reinvents itself.

Highlighting the rapid growth of mainland China and its positive effect on Hong Kong, Leung focused on Shenzhen, a border city in close proximity to Hong Kong. He stated, "30 years ago, Shenzhen was a fishing village with less than twenty thousand people." Today, "Shenzhen has a population of 10 million people and it has one of the highest GDP per capita in the country." Of the 10 million residents, thirty-six thousand visit Hong Kong each day. Visitors from Shenzhen and many other Mainland tourists come to Hong Kong to buy retail products, including baby milk powder, consumer electronics, and even Chinese herbal medicine, which is actually imported from Mainland China in the first place. In referring to this bizarre fact, Leung stated, "This phenomenon illustrates the general higher level of competence in the retail industry of Hong Kong." He continued, "This is where American producers and suppliers can find Hong Kong very useful."

Later in his speech, Leung looked beyond the retail market into other areas of potential for America in Hong Kong, including education, professional services, and the financial industry. In terms of the financial industry, he added, "Hong Kong is one of the major global financial centers in the world, but compared to New York and London we are tiny." He noted that while Hong Kong is very skilled at Initial Public Offerings (IPO's) for mainland enterprises, significant opportunities for other financial activities exist as well. In the Q&A session, Leung suggested that Hong Kong has the available land to build another financial district of the same size as the current one located in Central.

Leung concluded the talk with the following message: "There is a case, in my view, for America businesses and the American people to rediscover Hong Kong as Hong Kong keeps reinventing itself."

Reported by Philip Willner