President’s Memo

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Hong Kong has long branded itself as “Asia’s World City,” staking its claim with a bold and colorful flying dragon logo.

This upbeat emblem last grabbed my attention in April, when it was emblazoned around the Hong Kong Stadium for the Rugby Sevens, a truly top-drawer event that burnishes the city’s global brand. Otherwise, the logo feels to have somewhat faded into the background as Hong Kong churns with other pre-occupations, including Belt & Road, local politics and integration with mainland China.

These are all worthy areas to explore. But from the perspective of the large American business community here, Hong Kong needs to build on what it does best: To provide a leading platform for transparent markets and internationally recognized rule of law coupled with an open and free environment for commerce.

Hong Kong can no longer rest on its laurels as an uber-efficient city at the heart of this fast growing region. Rivals such as Singapore and Shenzhen are fast developing formidable strengths of their own. To affirm its top-tier status, Hong Kong must take bold action – to innovate, reboot the brand and more effectively trumpet its capabilities.

After all, we have the financial firepower needed to become a shining example of a futuristic, sustainable and digitally connected city, if only we can unplug old attitudes and tear down silos.

We can continue to be a hub that attracts the best and brightest in fields from financial services to technology to education, but not if we fail to develop our homegrown talent as well. Hong Kong’s people must be equipped to embrace the workplace of the future, one that’s driven by collaboration and innovation and less constrained by hierarchy.

This city has so many unique advantages that give it a special role as a first-rate international trading hub, but now is the time to walk the talk of being Asia’s World City.