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Mark Clifford: Hong Kong's Changing Landscape

by Steve Stine

This episode our topic is the changing Hong Kong landscape. My guest is Mark Clifford, Executive Director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Business Council. Over the last twenty years Mark has served as lead editor for some of the region’s most prestigious news and business publications, including The South China Morning Post, The Standard, and the much admired, now defunct, Far Eastern Economic Review.

Among other things we discuss the newly opened sea bridge linking Hong Kong to the mainland have started to bring about. On the one hand, the bridge is paving the way for a new Greater Bay Area – the brainchild of Chinese Communist Party planners who believe that linking Hong Kong with ten South China cities, they can incite a tech and development revolution. It’s a glittering 21st century set of mega-cities with a chrome plated infrastructure to match.

It might look great, but Mark Clifford has reservations. He puts more stock in the free flow of information than mass transit. In many ways, China is simply doing what China does best – building stuff! What happens, asks Mark, when the country exhausts the three cheap inputs—labor, land, and capital—that til now have powered decades of double-digit growth rates?

Change is in the wind. But how prepared is the South China workforce to toggle from export-led to import-driven? Is there enough slack in the domestic economy to get behind a new generation of software developers, robotics engineers, data scientists and entrepreneurs?

It’s a fascinating discussion. As always, thanks for listening.