shen kong: the different faces of state capitalism

A recent article from the Epoch Times asserts that Shenzhen has surpassed Hong Kong in competitiveness because of the way Beijing has intervened in the economies of the two cities. Indeed, the establishment of the Qianhai Free Trade Zone speaks to the continued transfer of international economic functions from Hong Kong to Shenzhen through the deployment of “special” policies. This is, in fact, a solution to the one country-two systems policy that–for years–many foreign commentators ignored, when it was thought would Shenzhen become more like Hong Kong? Well, it has. And inquiring minds want to know: cui bono?

From the Epoch Times article: For the first time in a decade, Hong Kong no longer tops the list of competitive cities in China, and its due to the stifling hand of the Chinese regime, commentators note.

According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ recently released Blue Book on Urban Competitiveness—a survey of 294 China cities, Taiwan included—Hong Kong now ranks number two, falling behind its neighbor just across the border in mainland China, the metropolis Shenzhen.

The survey report claims Shenzhen topped Hong Kong, a bustling international financial hub and former British colony, because the mainland city better backed innovation—in 2014, Shenzhen government spent 4.05 percent of its gross domestic production supporting its innovation and technology sector compared to Hong Kong’s 0.73 percent.

The report also said Hong Kong’s standing was affected by last year’s student-led Occupy protests. From the end of September to mid December, hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers held three areas of the city to protest a restrictive Beijing diktat on political reform in Hong Kong (more).

4 thoughts on “shen kong: the different faces of state capitalism

  1. Quite fair. Shenzhen has been Singaporinised in many facets, notably the garden city concept and investment/innovation in STEM industries.

    • Does “Singaporinised” mean that the state controls economic opportunity and limits social possibility?

      • Yes, in the sense of their enterprise-like governance and decisive leadership, under which a series of projects could be swiftly put in place, run by state-controlled businesses and brought about tangible changes. On the other hand, Hong Kong government has been holding “free market economy” and “positive nonintervention” for decades, and its governance is somewhat democratised and constantly scrutinised by the public and media, which may hinder the process of policymaking, especially when the leader is not welcomed.

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