An interesting impression from HongKong

15:43 by Hubert Fromlet, Kalmar

The economic performance of Hong Kong is quite poor these days. The PMI shows that the private sector should do much better. Tourism and retail sales are also badly hit – partly reflecting the slowdown of the mainland economy. Major progress does not seem to be possible in the forthcoming months or quarters.

Most analysts dealing with Asia are probably aware of these problems in Hong Kong. I recently started talking with a businessman from Hong Kong about his city during a flight back to Stockholm, touching upon quite a different topic. He informed me about a development at home which really was striking me.

According to my neighbor on this flight, one third of Hong Kong’s population will be 65 years or older by 2035. This I knew. But I was not aware of the enormous need of apartments for the retired residents who are not sick or disabled – who are indeed healthy. There is obviously a major apartment shortage for these people.

This need urges for creative new business plans, incentives, solutions, practical planning, and partnerships for this major residential construction.  Could Swedish companies participate in these developments?  If yes and they were successful, a lot of the experience from Hong Kong could be applied to Mainland China simultaneously or shortly after the Hong Kong experience. Also to Stockholm?

Despite the current problems in the Chinese economy, we should not forget all the future opportunities in Asia and Greater China. Many of them are still there.

Hubert Fromlet
Senior Professor of International Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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