Professor Joshua Mok Ka-ho
Over 60 per cent of local respondents believe that Hong Kong retains its competitiveness in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) while 43 per cent hold the view that such competitiveness will decline in the next 10 years. These are the findings revealed today of a survey conducted by the Joint Research Centre for Greater Bay Area -- Social Policy and Governance co-founded by Lingnan University and the South China University of Technology.
The survey, entitled “Hong Kong Citizens’ Evaluation of Hong Kong’s Competitiveness in the Greater Bay Area”, was conducted from 16 to 28 September 2019. A total of 1,216 Hong Kong citizens aged 18 or above were interviewed in random phone calls. The survey was in four parts: (I) Local Citizens’ Satisfaction with Hong Kong’s Current Situation and Attitude towards its Future; (II) Local Citizens’ Evaluation of the Changing Trend in Hong Kong’s Global Competitiveness; (III) Local Citizens’ Evaluation of Hong Kong’s Competitiveness in the GBA; and (IV) Local Citizens’ Evaluation of Shenzhen’s Becoming the “Pilot Demonstration Area” and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Relationship.
1. Local Citizens’ Satisfaction with Hong Kong’s Current Situation and Attitude towards its Future
The respondents indicated their levels of satisfaction with Hong Kong’s current situation in eight aspects: “Economy”, “Environmental Protection”. “Social Equality”, “Personal Development Opportunities”, “Education”, “Medical Service”, “Housing”, and “Social Welfare”, on a scale of 0-10 (10 being Very Satisfied and 0 Very Unsatisfied). The results show that the average score for “Medical Service”, which ranked highest, was 5.7, while those for other aspects were all below 5 (Economy: 4.7; Environmental Protection: 4.5; Social Equality: 4; Personal Development Opportunities: 4.3; Education: 4.7; Social Welfare: 4.8). Among the eight aspects, “Housing” ranked lowest (3.4), reflecting Hong Kong citizens’ low satisfaction with the current situation.
Regarding whether Hong Kong will improve in all these aspects, the respondents indicated their attitudes on a scale of 0-10 (10 being Very Positive and 0 Very Negative). The results show that the scores were in general lower than those for the satisfaction felt with Hong Kong’s current situation. The average score for “Medical Service”, which ranked highest, was 5, and those for other aspects were all below 5 (Economy: 4; Environmental Protection: 4.1; Social Equality: 3.7; Personal Development Opportunities: 4; Education: 4.2; Social Welfare: 4.4). Among the eight aspects, “Housing” ranked lowest (3.5), reflecting Hong Kong citizens’ negative attitude towards the future.
2. Local Citizens’ Evaluation of the Changing Trend in Hong Kong’s Global Competitiveness
Regarding changes in Hong Kong’s global competitiveness compared with that of other cities in recent years, 76 per cent of respondents believed that Hong Kong’s global competitiveness has declined to a certain extent (slightly declined: 40 per cent; greatly declined: 36 per cent). A total of 7 per cent of respondents believed that Hong Kong’s global competitiveness has increased.
3. Local Citizens’ Evaluation of Hong Kong’s Competitiveness in the Greater Bay Area
Respondents were asked about the change in Hong Kong’s importance to the mainland’s economic development compared with 10 years ago. 51 per cent of respondents believed that Hong Kong’s importance has declined (slightly declined: 30 per cent; greatly declined: 21 per cent) A total of 24 per cent believed that Hong Kong’s importance has increased.
Regarding Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the GBA, respondents indicated their attitudes on a scale of 0-10 (10 being Very High and 0 being Very Low). The results showed that over 60 per cent believed that Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the GBA is 5 or above, reflecting their view that Hong Kong currently retains its competitiveness. However in response to the question about Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the GBA in the coming 10 years, 43 per cent believed that it will decline while 23 per cent believed it will keep increasing.
4. Local Citizens’ Evaluation of Shenzhen’s Becoming the “Pilot Demonstration Area” and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Relationship.
The respondents evaluated Shenzhen’s becoming the “pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics” and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong relationship. Nearly 34 per cent believed that Hong Kong is less competitive than Shenzhen; while over 38 per cent believed that Hong Kong is more competitive. Over half (54.4 per cent) were not worried about Shenzhen becoming Hong Kong’s rival or replacing Hong Kong’s position in the GBA. Nearly 49 per cent believed that the mainland’ current preferential policies for Hong Kong citizens are not sufficiently attractive.
Recommendations suggested by the Joint Research Centre for Greater Bay Area - Social Policy and Governance”
Prof Joshua Mok Ka-ho, Vice-President of Lingnan University, who was in charge of the research, said that the survey results showed that Hong Kong citizens are least satisfied about housing, which affected their attitudes towards the future. He recommended that the government solve the land and housing problem with comprehensive policies. ProfMok added that the Policy Address 2019 has pointed out citizens’ needs and primarily addressed the land and housing issue. From his point of view, it remains to be seen whether the policy of lowering the property price limit for a mortgage loan can truly achieve its goal, and whether the government can execute the work of land resumption smoothly under the Land Resumption Ordinance.
Prof Mok said the government should address citizens’ pessimistic view regarding issues such as social inequality. He recommended that the government should employ different strategies to increase the rate of social mobility and support socially vulnerable groups by, for example, increasing education subsidies for children in low-income families and providing more free vocational training for unemployed groups.
Prof Mok added that the survey results reflected Hong Kong citizens’ impressions about the decline in Hong Kong’s competitiveness. He called for disputes in the community to be set aside, Hong Kong’s economic development to be speeded up, and its global competitiveness and cooperation with cities such as Shenzhen and the GBA to be strengthened based on its strength in financial services, the creative industry, and the testing and certification sector. He also suggested that cities in the mainland should offer more startup preferential policies to Hong Kong citizens, in particular to youth. For example, they should offer tax discounts to Hong Kong young people who initiate startups in the GBA. Mainland cities should also lower the requirements for these people’s applications for “social security housing for talents” so as to speed up cross-border mobility and attract more Hong Kong citizens to work or live in Shenzhen.
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