Xinhua Interview with Mr Li

24 June 2017
  • 1. Right before the reunification in 1997, many companies worried about Hong Kong’s future, including the British, and moved their domicile or divested from Hong Kong. What were your views of the city’s economy at that time? Looking back over the past 20 years, how do you see your decision made at that time?
  • The smooth transition of Hong Kong to China is an important landmark in our history.

    The concept of time and space created through the “One Country, Two Systems” framework eased the concerns of many as it allowed for the fostering of a mutual symbiotic relationship.

    Not only did It provide stability for Hong Kong, its people and its businesses, to thrive and evolve in an intensifying competitive environment, our “front row seats“ offered unparalleled views into the opportunities and changes in an advancing Chinese economy. With policy dexterity, both China and Hong Kong can stay competitive, enjoy multiple returns and be the power surfers riding the exponential economy.

  • 2. How would you evaluate the economic development in Hong Kong 20 years after its return to China? What do you think helped Hong Kong, as an externally oriented economy, to survive the Asia financial crisis, SARS, global financial crisis etc over the past 20 years? Does the Central Government play a part?
  • “One Country, Two Systems” epitomized the creativity and the flexibility of the Chinese leaders, Hong Kong understands that our city’s future and the Mainland is symbiotic and intertwined – Hong Kong is rooted in China, the ebb and flow of our daily needs, unique opportunities as well as our role as a financial bridge for China are all safeguarded under “One Country, Two systems”. Current Chinese leadership’s commitment to all aspects of “One Country, Two Systems” is critical to Hong Kong’s continual flourish and is particularly reassuring.
  • 3.“The race horses keep racing” and “punters keep punting” are common phrases used by Hong Kong people to describe the continuing capitalistic characteristics of the city following its return to China. Do you think Hong Kong has experienced any changes in its capitalistic system and in daily lives? What changed and what hasn’t?
  • Nostalgia is not the same anymore, let us not be stuck in a time tunnel. “One Country, Two Systems” is a profound concept. If we cherish freedom and opportunities, we need to be mindful of the essence of mutual tolerance and respect under “One Country, Two Systems”. I believe it is our duty to be engaged and to have faith, to develop our unique system together into a vibrant and civil society. President Xi’s unwavering commitment to “One Country, Two Systems” is a very strong and comforting undertaking.
  • 4. Did Hong Kong experience any changes to its role as China’s gateway to the world? How can Hong Kong bring its unique advantages to the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Big Bay Area? How confident are you in Hong Kong’s future development?
  • We are all witnesses to China’s economic miracle, three decades of reform and opening up policy unleashed tremendous productivity and boosted immense growth through successful and successive reforms. Hong Kong’s business sector has always valued every blueprint for reform and had actively participated in them. The new “One Belt, One Road” initiative in combination with innovation and past infrastructure investment will certainly be another conduit of growth.
  • 5. Cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong has become more intricate over the past 20 years. Your businesses have invested in many areas in the Mainland. How would you evaluate your investments in the Mainland? And what do you see for the cooperation Mainland and Hong Kong in the future?
  • Because our group’s investment in the Mainland is broad spectrum and diversified, I am not sure if one could calculate returns in a generic way. I believe high growth returns in the future will be innovative and tech-centric, government investment in reforming education is the key to the future – if you want to ride the wave of exponential growth. This is same for Mainland as well as HK.
  • 6. Many claim that Hong Kong is overly dependent on finance and property, at the expense of the development of other industries. What is your advice to the next administration on economic development?
  • The finance and property sectors are the twin pillars of growth for many cities, building capital reserves and are the main sources of Hong Kong’s rich coffers. I believe that the incoming administration will leverage them to push forward more effective policies to advance societal development and economic diversification. Hong Kong has many unique foundations to support innovation and technology – which have not been well tapped over the past several years.
  • 7. As a member of the Basic Law Drafting Committee, how would you evaluate the implementation of Basic Law over the past 20 years? What do you think is the key to ensure the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” will not change or waver?
  • President Xi’s unwavering commitment to One Country, Two Systems is a very strong and comforting undertaking. This is an indication of the Central Government’s will and resolve. But a mutual symbiotic ecosystem means Hong Kong must also uphold its part, to be respectful and safeguard the foundation of law and order and to stand and fight against the corrosive force of corruption. A flourishing “One Country, Two Systems“ civic habitat requires human mind and spirit to interweave with responsibilities and reason, as well as the importance of self-discipline.
  • 8. The younger generation in Hong Kong plays an important role in Hong Kong’s economic development, now and in the future. What are your hopes and advice for them.
  • Hong Kong has advanced significantly since 1997. With new technology and new mindset, we need to gear up for the future. Learning to think differently is more important than ever. The clear winners are those who know how to marry a high degree of creativity and discipline. We must make good use of creativity and imagination. As Albert Einstein wrote, “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts”. Same teachings in Confucius’ Analects, it is the individual who can carry forward progress and development, not the other way around.
  • 9. As a renowned business leader globally and widely respected for your entrepreneurial skills in building your business empire, how would you comment on lives of youngsters in Hong Kong? Will you encourage them to start their own businesses?
  • Same as above.