Development of Hong Kong
Hello, and I am here to explain mostly about “The Industrialization of Hong Kong” and effects that came with it.
As we know, Hong Kong was originally part of China, until the British came along and had the “Opium War”. China lost and agreed to give a portion of land to the British under the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. This Southern part of the land became what we know as “Hong Kong”.
Hong Kong’s industrialization began here. At first, Hong Kong was used as a “center for financial and commercial services based particularly around the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank”. Then, there came the factories: making cardboard boxes, soy sauce, clothing, metal, shipbuilding for the British Navy, and some small engineering and electrical industries.
Things started to get more advanced in the 19th century, as “…sugar refining, cement, ice factories, and local workshop manufactures…” started to appear. Still, it was a mostly a labor-based and mass-producing country.
The big boom started in the 1950s.
First, the region of Hong Kong had a large effect in Hong Kong’s route of industrialization, since Hong Kong was “a natural geographic port for Guangdong province in Southeast China”, it became a “…commercial entrepot for China’s regional and global trade…”.
Hong Kong essentially became an exporter. Export in the 1960s was holding 54% of the GDP, which increased to 64% on the 1970s, and this holds true even till today; Hong Kong is one of the top exporters, especially to and from China.
One of Hong Kong’s top success during the 1950s was at being a “textile and garment exporter”. There were “…increasing numbers of small and medium-sized enterprises” and the “Government did not engage in active industrial planning..” Because of “….ideological sympathy for free market forces.”
“Average growth rate was 6.5% per year.”
During the late 1970s, Hong Kong’s reintegration with the mainland made investors put labor-related factories to China, especially in Guangdong, for their cheap labor fees. Additionally, China invested heavily in Hong Kong. “Hong Kong’s total domestic export to China in 1978 was 81 million Hong Kong dollars.”, and “…the PRC has invested as much as 10 billion dollars in Hong Kong in 1989”.
China became the biggest investor in Hong Kong, followed by Japan and the United States, assisting the growth of the Hong Kong economy.
Current State of Hong Kong – Economic Wise
Hong Kong’s GDP for 2016 clocks in at 320.9 billion dollars.
Hong Kong’s main GDP source remains trade, as “…the value of exports and imports taken together equals 400 percent of GDP.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5bw6TDfiT0 BackGround Video Link}
Hong Kong is a NIC country, along with being one of The Four Asian Tigers, which are four Asian countries who have economically developed, including Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Side-effects from Hong Kong’s Industrialization
Starting from the 1950s, Hong Kong has become from an undeveloped country to a major trading and investing giant.
This sudden change has created a massive effect on their lives and their environment.
First, living near Hong Kong costs a lot of money. Those who have jobs in Hong Kong but don’t earn much money live in “Coffin Homes”. They have only room for sleeping, and have extremely poor sanitation.
This problem comes from the fact that there is a huge difference in income distribution.
Several experts found a trend that “The wage ratio between skilled and unskilled labor in Hong Kong increases as Hong Kong’s investment in Mainland China increases.” This means that more investment equals more difference in income distribution, which also means wealth is focused on the extreme minority.
Additionally, thanks to Hong Kong being one of most extremely populated cities in the world, it has a monumental pollution and waste problem. It also comes from the fact that government officials “…try their best not intervene with the factory lines”. Therefore, companies are free to do the cheapest, not the most efficient nor eco-friendly ways of production.
Current State of Hong Kong – Manufacturing and Education Wise
Manufacturing wise, several manual-labor related works was moved to China and other Southeastern Asian countries; most high-skilled jobs, such as Information Technology, Banking, Research, and Development, remain in Hong Kong.
Education wise, the government was focusing on it starting from the mid-1960s. “By 1966, 99.8% of school-age children were attending primary school…” “….from 1978 the government offered compulsory free education for all children up to the age of 15. ”
Hong Kong’s education standards are one of the most competitive in the Southern Asia area. Several famous, top-tier universities, such as University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, are all top 200 in the World.
Hong Kong’s government}
The Government is very open with companies and investors, as “Trade is extremely important to Hong Kong’s economy…”.”…the value of exports and imports taken together equals 400 percent of GDP
Thus, policies of Hong Kong are in a way that makes attractive to investors. For example, “….The average applied tariff rate is zero percent.….There are no restrictions on foreign banks, which are treated the same as domestic institutions. ”
://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfMJqjoOIug Background video Link
Hong Kong’s Current Political Problem – “One Country, Two Systems”
In 1997, Hong Kong became part of the Mainland, free from the British.
“Under the “one country, two systems” agreement, China promised not to impose its socialist policies on Hong Kong and to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense policy for 50 years.”
However, in recent years, China has been putting socialist policies to Hong Kong and China’s government are allowing only certain candidates who share a socialist-view that goes accordingly with the Chinese government.
Politically, Hong Konger’s are concerned about their lifestyle being changed from the increasing pressure of the Chinese government.
Hong Kong’s Religion
When looking at several countries around the world, there are some similarities between the countries that are rich and countries that are poor. Rich countries don’t have most of the population believing in religion, while most poor countries all have citizens believing in religion.
Religion creates a mindset that “If we pray, God will help us”, or make people invest more in the afterlife. This decreases productivity, thus reducing the chance of industrialization. The exception to this rule is The United States, where several people are indeed Christians.
Hong Kong goes same as the United States, as 43% of the population of Hong Kong is religious. It goes on the list of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, some Christians and Islam.
On the topic of religion, Hong Kong has the largest outdoor Buddha statue in the world. Hong Kongers worship gods, especially those related with the sea, as trade became an important part of the economy of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s Future
Hong Kong will continue to be an important import and export location for China and other countries because of the location of Hong Kong and the fact that trade will still be a big part of Hong Kong.