Editorial : HK and Shenzhen

【明報專訊】Originally a small fishing village, Shenzhen has morphed into a modern and international metropolis. It has achieved such a status not only because it was in the right place and had the right people at the right time, but also because of its powerful inner motive force enabled by its endeavour, pragmatism and flexibility, which has made its never-ending self-perfection possible. Hong Kong and Shenzhen have been the characters of a tale of two cities for years. To this day, Hong Kong has still held on to some traditional advantages, but it is an indisputable fact that Shenzhen is rising while Hong Kong is sinking. Hong Kong continues to lose its inner motive force. If it remains complacent, it will only lag further and further behind.

Shenzhen was merely a remote rural area when the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was established. At that time, no one thought that Shenzhen would develop so rapidly to become "China's Silicon Valley". Ten years ago, Shenzhen's GDP was only half that of Hong Kong. Now its total economic scale has exceeded that of Hong Kong.

Some people think that Shenzhen owes its success to its geographical advantages, i.e. its proximity to Hong Kong. Some people think that the rapid globalisation since the 1990s was conducive to the development of Shenzhen. Some people think that it was the concerted effort of the government and the people, both dedicated to development, that created today's Shenzhen. For a city to rise rapidly, it is important to be in the right place at the right time and have the right people. Shenzhen's subsequent upgrading and transformation into a centre of innovation and technology has had little to do with Hong Kong. While the high-speed globalisation at the turn of the century brought major opportunities to many countries and cities in the world, there have also been many losers and laggards. There have been only a handful of unprecedented success stories like Shenzhen and the entire China.

Hong Kong has a capitalist system; its development model is very different from Shenzhen. The two cities have their unique systems and competitive advantages. In recent years, the two cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong have risen and fallen, and the inner motive force has been the key. There was a time when Hong Kong's strength lied with its down-to-earthness, pragmatism, flexibility and skills in grasping opportunities in response to the current situation. Today, Hong Kong has lost its inner motive force needed for development. Ideological constraints, vested interests and endless internal strife have made it difficult for Hong Kong society to resolve its deep-seated problems. Facing fierce global competition, people in many places are pondering how to grow in scale and strength. In Hong Kong, many people seem to be more willing to pursue small happiness. Many people are too politically oriented to remember that pragmatism was Hong Kong's key to success in the past. The development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong is lagging behind, and there is huge potential for Hong Kong-Shenzhen cooperation. Some people in the scientific and technological industry believe that Hong Kong should focus on a bigger world market. This may be the case only for a handful of fields of innovation and technology that possess the strength in the city. While it is a good thing to have global ambitions, there is no need to restrict oneself to the south of Shenzhen River.

The world is in a state of flux. Compared with the changes in the objective environment, the changes in people's minds are often slower, which can easily lead to a disconnect between perception and reality. When the gap between the two widens, one has to face the reality ultimately.

明報社評2020.10.14:雙城故事四十載 深港浮沉啟示錄








laggard : a slow and lazy person, organisation, etc.

success story : a person or thing that is very successful

down-to-earthness : the quality of being practical and direct in a sensible honest way

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