Talent drain: can Hong Kong shift from a financial to a tech giant?


Every few generations, Hong Kong transforms itself, evolving from a swampy fishing village to a 19th-century colonial port, to a capitalist outpost and factory after the 1949 revolution in China, to a 21st-century financial center.

As the former British colony marks the 25th anniversary of its return to China, bewitched by pandemic curbs that ravaged business and a crackdown on its pro-democracy movement, Hong Kong’s leaders say it’s time to transform again. They say the city needs to become a leader in technology that relies more on ties to nearby Chinese manufacturing towns than on global trade.

The government of elected Chief Executive John Lee is under pressure to generate new sources of economic growth, looking beyond COVID outbreaks and antivirus controls that have devastated tourism and business, and uncertainty over the legal environment following a crackdown on the pro- city’s democratic movement.