The stage was set 12 years ago when after more
than a century and a half under the rule of the United
Kingdom, the city became the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of
China. An agreement outlining a “one country, two
systems” approach specified Hong Kong would remain
autonomous of China’s economic system.
It seems to be working just fine for Hong Kong.
In January 2009, The Heritage Foundation named
Hong Kong the world’s freest economy for the 15th
consecutive year. The U.S. think tank’s annual index
ranks 179 economies based on their commitment to
Dubbed one of the most vertical cities in the world
because of its many high-rises, Hong Kong is reaching
for new heights, literally and figuratively—558 of the
city’s skyscrapers top 400 feet (122 meters). Hong
Kong’s soaring giants include the second tower of the
International Finance Centre, known as 2 IFC. But the
88-story building will soon face competition from the
118-story International Commerce Centre scheduled for
completion in 2010.
During the past year, however, another presence
has loomed large: the global credit crunch. Although
increased government spending has helped buoy some
projects, the landscape is clearly shifting. Project
managers in Hong Kong now find themselves going
up against project managers from the mainland—
who usually aren’t as demanding in their salary
requirements. To stand out from the pack, they’ll
need strong people skills and a refined business
Like many metropolises around the world, Hong Kong
is waiting for the recession to end—and trying to speed
things up with a major infrastructure overhaul.
After the crisis has fully run its course, “the medium-and longer-term economic prospects for Hong Kong
remain promising,” according to a government report
released in February.
“The government, together with the private sector,
will continue to step up efforts to raise the competitiveness of the economy to complement the vibrant
developments in the mainland. [It will do this] by
striving to restructure the economy toward knowledge-based, high value-added activities, by enhancing our
roles as an international financial center and a leading
business hub, and by further strengthening our integration with the mainland,” the report said.
There are some signs the city is headed down the
road to recovery.
By mid-August, Hong Kong’s economy began to
rebound—with real GDP registering a 3. 8 percent
>>Dubbed one of
the most vertical
cities in the world
because of its
Hong Kong is
reaching for new
heights, literally and
the city’s skyscrapers
top 400 feet