News from Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Student Ambassador London Delegation

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr Sun Yat-sen, “Father of Modern China”. To commemorate the anniversary, a delegation of student ambassadors from Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs), Hong Kong’s century-old charitable organisation, visited London to meet with local Chinese, get to know British society and learn more about the life of local Chinese people from 29 October to 5 November.

TWGH

Members of the TWGHs Student Ambassador London Delegation met Lord Wilson of Tillyorn (the second row, left 7) to explore features of Chinese culture from a Western perspective.

Please click here to view the press release for full details


Hong Kong Yearbook

The online version of the latest edition of yearbook, is available via the following link:

http://www.yearbook.gov.hk/


Below is a letter, which reports the situation in Hong Kong from the Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London.

Updates on Hong Kong: Hong Kong Government launches second round consultation

on the method for selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage

Dear Friends,

On 7 January 2015, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government published the “Consultation Document on the Method for Selecting the Chief Executive (CE) by Universal Suffrage” to launch a two-month second round public consultation, ending on 7 March 2015. This is the next crucial step towards our common aspiration: that five million eligible voters can elect Hong Kong’s next CE in 2017 through “one person, one vote”.

The consultation document invites the public’s input on the key issues regarding the specific arrangements for electing the CE by universal suffrage in 2017. The four main issues are:

*        composition and formation method of the Nominating Committee (NC);

*        procedures for the NC to nominate CE candidates;

*        voting arrangements for selecting the CE by universal suffrage;

*        other related issues for the selection of the CE by universal suffrage.

The consultation document can be downloaded from the website www.2017.gov.hk.

The Central Authorities of China, the HKSAR Government and the general public in Hong Kong all look forward to successfully implementing universal suffrage as scheduled.  To attain this common goal, we must proceed in accordance with the Basic Law and the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) adopted on August 31, 2014.

Constitutional development is a challenging and sometimes controversial issue.  Since the NPCSC Decision last year, there have been divergent views within the community on how to proceed.

As you may recall, some groups and people initiated the unlawful “Occupy Movement”. Some of the protesters continue to insist on a constitutional reform model that is inconsistent with, or even falls outside, our legal and constitutional framework. As a society that cherishes the rule of law, such suggestions are neither possible nor practical.

The occupation ended in mid-December 2014 after 79 days and social order has generally been restored. It is now time for society to refocus on, and discuss, constitutional development in a rational and pragmatic manner.

This is a great opportunity for Hong Kong, which will have far-reaching consequences on political life in the city. If the package of proposals put forward by the HKSAR Government on the method for selecting the CE by universal suffrage in 2017 can be implemented, all CE candidates will need to be responsive to the aspirations and needs of voters. It is important to remember that electing the CE by universal suffrage in 2017 is not the end of the process: the election system may be further fine-tuned after 2017. It also paves the way towards implementing universal suffrage for the Legislative Council (LegCo) elections in 2020, which is premised on the implementation of universal suffrage for the CE elections in 2017.

So, what next? After the second round public consultation, the HKSAR Government will consolidate and summarise the views received and submit a resolution to the LegCo in the second quarter of 2015 to amend Annex I to the Basic Law regarding the method for selecting the CE. To move forward, the eventual package of proposals has to be passed by a two-thirds majority of all Members of the LegCo. We are under no illusions: this will be the hardest part of the process.

If the package of proposals is vetoed – which we will work hard to avoid – then Hong Kong’s democratic development will be delayed further. Not only will there be no universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017, universal suffrage for the LegCo elections in 2020 will also be put back. It therefore boils down to the question of whether constitutional development can move forward, or remains at a standstill.

Universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017 is the shared aspiration of the entire community. It is about whether five million eligible voters will be able to elect our city’s leader for the first time in history. We hope that different sectors of the community will engage in discussions in a rational and pragmatic manner to forge a consensus, so that we can establish a suitable system of universal suffrage in Hong Kong.
Erica Ng
Director-General
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London

13th January 2015


Hong Kong’s First 3D Museum opens.

Full details here


 

Business News from Hong Kong

Where to begin?  in a year which has so far proved to be uncertain, politically, economically and socially in Hong Kong. I was asked to prepare a few lines much earlier in the year but the uncertainties have made it difficult to even understand where things were going. Let me start with the politics, this year has seen the election of a new Chief Executive and the addition of seats in the Legislature. If I begin with the election for the Chief Executive, I think that back in February most of us thought that it would be a ‘shoe in’ for Henry Tang a former Financial Secretary and until last November, the Chief Secretary. But a series of scandals perhaps the most publicized being the discovery of underground works at his home in Kowloon led to his withdrawal from the election

All of this occupied much of the early summer followed on by the Chief Executive (Elect) attempting to get his proposals to restructure the administration at the senior level and to broaden the base with more clearly defined responsibilities agreed and approved by the Legislative Council unfortunately for him there was a perception that he was attempting to rush these things through without proper scrutiny plus they fell afoul of a major filibuster of a bill that was passing through the legislature and occupied most of the available time for a debate on the Chief Executive’s proposals. To cut a long story short he did not have his proposals approved and he has had to commence his administration with the existing structure.

Since taking office the new administration has been dogged with accusations of either being economic with the truth over illegal structures to the house of the Chief Executive which he had failed to admit to at the time that Henry Tang was forced to withdraw from the CE elections. There were also accusations of fraud and or corruption on the part of one already appointed Policy Secretary who had to resign within days of taking up his appointment only to find that his replacement who also had issues to contend with!  So a very troubled start for the new administration and the troubles continue with significant opposition to the introduction of National Education teaching in State schools. Accusations of ‘brainwashing’ and a large demonstration in early July with some 90,000 plus opponents of the measure and this continues to this day with hunger strikes and large demonstrations of supporters outside the new Government Headquarters on Tamar. There seems to be little room for discussion between the government and those opposed to the new policy although there is a grace period of 3 years but the opponents are adamant that this is the beginning of the ‘mainlandization’ of Hong Kong. Perhaps paradoxically this policy was launched by the previous administration!

If I could now turn to the question of Hong Kong’s economy and look at where it stands relative to opportunities going forward. It is of course deeply influenced by how China is performing in its economy. Increasingly there is a growing awareness that there is a cause for some concern as there had in spite of active intervention by the Central Government been no turn around or uptick in Q2. Exports are down affected by events in its major markets and there will be a drop in industrial profits as the recent official PMI figures have indicated. Of course all of this is not helped coming as it does in the midst of the transition from the 4th Generation Leadership to the 5th Generation Leadership

As regards  Hong Kong it has become clear that in fact Hong Kong currently has a two tiered economy with on the one hand low unemployment, strong domestic consumption and retail remains strong driven largely by the number of mainland visitors and last but not least property prices in both retail and rental markets remains robust. The second tier is clearly that linked to China where there has been a decline in shipping and air cargo and related industries.

With regards to SE Asia given the number of regional headquarters based in Hong Kong this is now regarded as a very significant regional market. The region has performed strongly in Q1 & Q2 though exports have flattened as events in their principal markets have reduced demand due to the ongoing economic crises. Demand for commodities has also declined but it is anticipated that these will strengthen as the global recovery gains pace.

So what of employment opportunities in Hong Kong going forward and what impact have the financial service calamities in the US, European and UK had on local employment in this sector in Hong Kong. There can be no doubt that there has been downsizing exercises going on throughout the past twelve months and these are ongoing with the latest announcement of cuts in Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong and Japan. Obviously this is affecting expatriates but in many cases it is highly selective with the shedding of certain functions or in some case the redeployment elsewhere in the region. Our sense is that there will continue to be opportunities will particular skill sets here. In the wider range of sectors again it has become tighter for expatriates and the demand for at least candidates with both English and Putonghua are almost becoming an absolute.  However taking a longer term view with a rapidly ageing population it is our view that as global markets recover Hong Kong’s importance will remain undiminished and demand for highly qualified individuals will grow. This is an opportunity for young executives with a sense of adventure and especially those whose families originated from Hong Kong and China.

Christopher Hammerbeck CB. CBE
Executive Director at The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
5 September 2012


Hong Kong Happenings – the latest hot bites and sites

So Lady Gaga came and went, with Hong Kong literally at her mercy.

Tickets are purported to have cost up to HKD 4,000 a piece, and unsurprisingly, many spent the night queuing round the corner for them. The latest Macbook air will be available soon, and we are bracing ourselves for more HK fanaticism at its gigantic flagship at ifc Mall.

Ocean Park outdoes Disneyland again with its latest attraction – Old Hong Kong, an authentic replica of a typical Hong Kong street from the 60s, complete with street food stalls and old tenement buildings housing vintage games, most of which are long gone from the city today. While you’re there, don’t forget to say hello to the pandas and the psychedelic jellyfish!

Hot summer weather is at its peak, meaning weekends are spent sun-bathing on the beaches and hiking out to the New Territories to camp or jump waterfalls. It is also officially junk season, when boats are hired out for a full day of drinking, eating and banana boats.

On a cloudless day, Hong Kong looks stunning from the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), the world’s fifth tallest building.

Sky100 is a 360-degree rotating indoor observation deck giving a panoramic view of the city and includes a multimedia exhibit that tells of local history and culture.

2012 is the official Year of Design in Hong Kong, and to get your artistic juices flowing, pick up a copy of the Creative City guide (available for purchase through www.whitespace.com and at select bookstores) to explore the city’s artsy side, including the hidden cafes and boutiques according to the region’s artists and creatives. We’ve just wrapped up the annual Hong Kong Art Fair as well as Daydreaming With… The Hong Kong Edition. The alter is was a first-of-its-kind-in-Hong Kong interactive exhibition curated by James Lavalle from the UK sensation U.N.K.L.E. and Hong Kong’s Simon Birch of Future Industries. Hong Kong also gets a taste of an old world master as the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin hosts PICASSO – Masterpieces from Musée National Picasso, Paris. With a month jammed packed with gallery openings and a host of other art happenings, don’t let anyone tell you HK has no culture!

No news from Hong Kong is complete without delving into the restaurant scene. Restaurant openings and closing are so frequent that it’s hard to keep up! In the last few months, we’ve seen the arrival of two steakhouses – Harlan Goldstein’s Striphouse and The Blue Butcher – as well as Lupa, by celebrity chef Mario Batali. Head-spinning views are available from the newly refurbished restaurant View62, featuring the culinary direction of one of Europe’s most influential chefs, Paco Roncero. Now serving gourmet Spanish cuisine, the spot atop the Hopewell Centre has had many incarnations spanning its 32 years and remains Hong Kong’s only revolving restaurant.

The stunning Asia Society Hong Kong Centre gives us another excuse to bathe in its serene, iconic ambiance: Ammo Café, an art deco style bar and restaurant, serves up a delicious menu of Asian inspired Mediterranean dishes. Doppio Zero, Hong Kong’s own Italian trattoria, has just turned one, and continues to churn out buzz worthy dishes on a weekly basis, making it a favourite with the foodies, not the mention the Michelin critics. If the menu seems daunting, simply chose a pasta and a quartino of boutique Italian wine for guaranteed satisfaction.

If fine dining isn’t your thing, the new crop of Mexican restaurants could be a fun alternative. One of the most commonly heard complaints about the food choices in Hong Kong is the lack of authentic Mexican fare. Recently, Taco Truck, Taco Chaca, and now Brickhouse in Lan Kwai Fong have stepped up add to the diversity of North American cuisine, and word has it that the latter may just be the next hip hotspot.

Quinary is the new kid on the bar block, providing cocktails made with attention to the details and a laid back environment that is simultaneously chic and rustic. With the goal of combining food and science, the drinks are certainly refreshingly different – highly recommended is the Early Grey Caviar Martini.

Don’t forget to venture off Hong Kong island to savour some of the tastiest bites in town. Visit the legendary dim sum eatery Tim Ho Wan in Mong Kok, famed for being the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, or swing up to Sha Tin for some delicious vegetarian food at Kung Tak Lam Shanghainese Buddhist Restaurant. For some of Hong Kong’s freshest seafood, visit Rainbow Seafood Restaurant on Lamma Island or head out to Sai Kung for the best and freshest bites, both locations are also home to great hiking trails and crisp fresh air to round off your day.

Hong Kong celebrates its 15th year since the handover on July 1st! To catch the grand display of fireworks over Victoria Harbour, stake a good spot amongst the crowds on Avenue of Stars, or be elevated to the top of the Ritz. Alternatively, book a table and champagne in advance at the Intercontinental.

Kiri Sinclair
18 June 2012 in Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Kiri Sinclair – Born and bred in Hong Kong, the gregarious Kiri Sinclair is the founder and director of Sinclair Communications, a boutique strategic marketing and public relations agency for the Asia Pacific region. Having worked in the corporate and lifestyle marketing communications industry for ten years, Kiri built her own agency that services a diverse range of clients, including some of the leading restaurants, bars, F&B and lifestyle brands in the region.

Passionate about PR and Communications, Kiri has offered her professional advice and assistance to a great deal of local charities and start-ups. Brought up in the New Territories and with parents who have passionately supported and shaped the city, Kiri has a keen understanding of Hong Kong’s strengths and issues at a grass roots level. Balancing work and family life, sport and the recent completion of an MBA from Hong Kong University – Kiri certainly enjoys a challenge.  An energetic advocate for Hong Kong, Kiri wholeheartedly believes in supporting Hong Kong and its unique community.)

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