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Interview with Professor Deng Xiwei of the University of Hong Kong: Going to the United States at the beginning of the 20th year and returning to hope Hong Kong's "re-industrialization"|01 Weekly


The anti-revision law turmoil ushered in the "Hong Kong National Security Law" and set off a "Hong Kong immigration wave." Many young people want to leave, and as early as the year following Hong Kong’s return, they took the United States for 21 years and had already become a world-renowned economist.


Written by: Yang Yingwei

2020-11-30 15:37

Last update date: 2020-11-30 15:37

The anti-revision law turmoil ushered in the "Hong Kong National Security Law" and set off a "Hong Kong immigration wave."

Many young people wanted to leave, but Deng Xiwei, who had been living in the United States for 21 years after the return of Hong Kong and has become a world-renowned economist, officially returned on July 1 last year and joined the University of Hong Kong as the School of Economics and Business Administration. Professor, and served as the deputy director of the Institute of China and Global Development under the college.

Originally concerned with international trade theory, he is currently specializing in the transformation of Hong Kong's industrial structure.

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"Actually, I don't really understand what the labels of the six or four major industries do?" Deng Xiwei recently accepted an exclusive interview with "Hong Kong 01" and talked about the "Four Traditional Pillars" and "Six Advantage Industries" long advertised by the SAR government. , Can’t help but frown, seemingly unable to understand the logic of the authorities: “Does finance need you to mention it? The four major industries are our “smartest” things. Let’s talk about it again. Development should talk about “splendid” things. It’s not about "smart"."

Different from the SAR government and the general public, Deng Xiwei is far more concerned about Hong Kong's "smartest" finance and commerce, but instead focuses on Hong Kong's "smart" innovation, technology and industry.

He has repeatedly reminded everyone that the financial boom brought about by the IPO boom is not lasting. "Just like the free travel after SARS (SARS), the (industrial structure) issue will be delayed for another three or five years. He also urged that Hong Kong should no longer indulge in the role of an intermediary in "speculation, speculation, and sales". It must develop diversified industries and promote structural transformation of the economy. social problem.

Deng Xiwei hopes to use his knowledge of China and his experience in the United States to contribute to Hong Kong.

(Photo by Ou Jiale)

When Deng Xiwei was 18 years old, shortly after the return of Hong Kong, he left Hong Kong and went to the University of California, Los Angeles to study for a bachelor's degree in mathematics, and then completed a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2019, after 21 years of development in the United States, he was already a tenured associate professor of international economics at Johns Hopkins University, but he returned to Hong Kong resolutely and joined the School of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Hong Kong as a professor of economics And deputy director of the China and Global Development Institute.

"Hong Kong's international role has always been very compatible with my own background." Deng Xiwei said: "So, I feel that it is time to come back to the place where I grew up, based on my knowledge of China and my experience in the United States. Hong Kong contributes."

He believes that Hong Kong and the United States have many common problems, such as allowing a free economy to cause disparity between the rich and the poor, but the situation in Hong Kong is even worse. Because property prices are too high, the property owners can maintain wealth growth, but the proletarians cannot benefit at all, so the rich The richer, the poorer the poorer.

He also pointed out that the high degree of globalization has made wealth more concentrated in large enterprises, and technological development has also impacted traditional industries, causing many low-end skilled workers to lose their jobs, resulting in a growing disparity between the rich and the poor and hindering the upper ladder.

The problem is that the government originally needed to solve these problems, such as providing training and guaranteeing employment. "But the government of a "free economy" may not have aggressive measures."

The long-standing logic of laissez-faire economics has contributed to Hong Kong’s speculation and neglected industrial development.

Deng Xiwei explained that the "middleman" most hopes that the government will not interfere in order to maintain the free flow of the market and make the most profit.

However, he emphasized that as time changes, the Hong Kong government and citizens should raise their awareness of crisis and stop being indulged in the role of "middleman", because now is not a peaceful and prosperous world, and China is becoming more and more open. Hong Kong cannot be like the past. That way, it's between China and the West.

He also said that he has the responsibility to remind everyone that they cannot hope to rely on a group of "IPO" companies to recover Hong Kong's post-epidemic economy.

"This is not sustainable. Just like free travel, you won't come again after the IPO, and you won't be back again after the IPO!"

Ma Yun's Ant Group originally planned to go public in Hong Kong in November this year, but it was suspended for some reason.

(Visual China)

When 1.5 million Hong Kong citizens were "fighting for the collapse of the head" for the Ant Group and indulging in the capital myth of "exploding wealth overnight", Deng Xiwei saw some more "realistic" things-now it should be the development of industries and the promotion of Hong Kong's economic transformation Perfect timing.

He explained: "There are two obvious changes under the epidemic. The first is a sharp drop in rents. The second is that Sino-US competition will bring about huge long-term fluctuations in Hong Kong. Everyone is reflecting on the fact that property speculation can't make money. If the opportunity cost drops a lot, you can try other ways."

Seek inclusive growth and strive for industrial diversification

Facing Hong Kong's weak economy after the epidemic, Deng Xiwei wrote earlier that Hong Kong needs to promote the "third economic transformation" and focus on "inclusive growth."

The concept of "inclusive growth" was first proposed by the Asian Development Bank in 2007, which means "economic growth that can achieve fair distribution and create opportunities for all."

(Hong Kong 01 drawing)

The global division of labor and economic development have caused many economies to fall into the social problem of "power poverty", that is, the unequal opportunities faced by the people, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, have led to unequal distribution results.

This inequality mostly stems from structural reasons and requires government regulation. It is difficult to solve the problem with individual efforts.

Deng Xiwei explained the "power poverty" faced by Hong Kong citizens from the perspective of industry and employment: "Hong Kong has only one or two industries, mainly the financial industry, or financial-driven service industries, such as law and insurance." Deng Xiwei said bluntly, finance The industry cannot drive too many other industries.

"In order for the middle and lower-class people to have a vision to climb up, we must first give them the opportunity to increase their human capital. After the increase, we must also make them work. It is not to tell them that the industry is now declining, and you must do it. Finance, or go to other relatively low-end service industries."

Lalamove is a "unicorn" that started as a mobile app in Hong Kong.

(Profile picture)

"Why is it that current middle school or college students are not interested in some difficult subjects, and are reluctant to work in computer, research, etc.? Because (they) can't see the future!" Deng Xiwei sighed, "I studied computer for four years. Later, I went to the investment bank to help people "complete the machine." Frankly speaking, if I return to the age of 20, I don't think this kind of thing is worth wasting four years and hard work on writing programs." Therefore, he proposed that Hong Kong should develop Some "high value-added" and "research-oriented" industries that can "drive upwards" promote the diversified development of Hong Kong's industries.

He pointed out that today's industry does not necessarily have physical products. Even if it is to develop a mobile phone application, it can include upstream technological research and downstream market research, creating a large number of jobs.

Deng Xiwei believes that "financial technology" and "biomedical technology" are the most promising industries in Hong Kong because Hong Kong has a research foundation and talents in these two areas.

Take medical technology as an example. This type of industry can drive interactions in more industries and generate "upward mobility" jobs: "Biotech (biotechnology) can generate an industry chain: universities do some research, and some tests are done in the middle. , Downstream to produce drugs and medical equipment, and finally, Hong Kong is best at commercialization, doing marketing and packaging, first producing and selling locally, and then expanding to the international market."

Deng Xiwei emphasized that under the influence of the Sino-US struggle and the epidemic, the development of "scientific research-led knowledge-based high-value-added industries" may be a turning point for Hong Kong: "Development of products related to the epidemic, including testing kits (testing reagents) or vaccines. "

Currently, three new coronary pneumonia vaccines independently developed by Taiwan are about to enter Phase II clinical trials.

(Information Picture/Photographed by Lu Yiming)

Innovation and technology has started, but the ecological environment

Right now, as the "Policy Address" is published, Chief Executive Carrie Lam emphasized that his 2017 "Policy Address" has created a "golden age" of innovation and technology.

Deng Xiwei said with a smile that it is only a beginning and it is difficult to judge whether it is the "golden age".

"The "golden age" is something that you can always evaluate after the fact that the decade is "good". It seems that the 1980s was the golden age of Hong Kong's industry, and the 1990s was the golden age of finance. Achievement is the "golden age"."

Deng Xiwei has no intention of criticizing the enthusiasm of the current government, instead saying that Carrie Lam is already the chief executive who is more active in innovation and technology.

He recently conducted a textual research on the "Policy Address" and compared the governance styles of previous governments. Among them, there is an index to evaluate whether the government is close to the "Washington Consensus", that is, the thinking of "small government, big market". Among them, the closest to the consensus is Donald Tsang .

"Relatively speaking, Liang Zhenying and Lam Cheng are enterprising. Sometimes it is difficult for a chief executive to solve the socio-economic problems accumulated over so many years."

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor delivered the 2020 policy address on November 25.

(Profile picture/Photo by Zhang Haowei)

Speaking of the "policy address", as a work process handed down by the British Hong Kong government, the release of the "policy address" itself also has "structural problems."

Deng Xiwei explained: "The chief executive comes out to face the public every year, and everyone pays attention to the "distribution of money" year after year. Public expectations and government responses have become short-sighted, and there are always more problems in life, instead of really talking about development.

Deng Xiwei pointed out that in many places, it generally takes five years for the industry to develop to a certain extent. Therefore, Singapore reviews its industrial policies and proposes new policies every five years, but Hong Kong does not have a "five-year plan."

"Hong Kong absolutely needs the (Five-Year Plan), and even the Mainland's Five-Year Plan is increasingly referring to Hong Kong. Hong Kong must refer to it."

Due to the fragmented and passive policies, Hong Kong has been unable to create a good ecological environment (ecosystem) for the innovation and technology industry, leading to the loss of innovation and technology talents and achievements, often "making clothes for others."

For example, Deng Xiwei said that he knows many Hong Kong people who are starting-ups. They may be attracted by the Science Park or Cyberport policies at first. After getting some seed investment, they will go to Shenzhen to open a branch because it is easy to find IT talents in Shenzhen. , Labor is also cheaper.

"So many cities above (Mainland) are competing, and they see Hong Kong as a competitor. But Hong Kong looks at them and feels it is not. At the same time, they don’t know how to match the country’s development trends and patterns. In this way, many people will vote by feet ( Vote with your feet), go to the mainland for development."

The comprehensive economic competitiveness of the city is won by Shenzhen.

(Visual China)

How difficult it is to support "re-industrialization"

The "three-level industrial classification" was promoted by the British economist Colin Clark and is one of the important theories of industrial economy.

The classification method divides economic activities into raw material production, manufacturing, and service industries, which are called primary, secondary, and tertiary industries, respectively.

The theory has evolved to date, dividing the economy’s industries into agriculture, industry, and service industries. It also points out that the upgrading of the regional industrial structure will shift from the primary industry to the secondary industry, and finally to the tertiary industry. the Lord.

Hong Kong is obviously an economic model dominated by the tertiary industry, that is, the service industry.

Deng Xiwei pointed out that there is no secondary industry in Hong Kong, which limits the development of the innovation and technology industry: "The structure of "production, learning and research" is very suitable for Hong Kong. "Learning" is already there, and "research" is also very good, but "production" cannot be achieved.

"Production" requires the entire ecosystem, so "re-industrialization" is required.


Deng Xiwei took the initiative to write articles in support of "re-industrialization," and this has been "criticized" by many netizens.

"Half of the comments (comments) are scolding me for'I'm crazy line','no talents, no land','industry industry, financial affairs' and so on." Deng Xiwei mentioned it as a joke, and continued to respond to these comments peacefully. "Everyone's thinking is still backward. I guess most people's views on industry are memories of the 1990s: factories are dirty and noisy, but modern industry is not like that." He took Germany as an example. , Referring to the local modern factory is "spotless" and "silent." Many doctoral employees are pressing buttons or writing programs. This is the current "Industry 4.0".

Germany promotes "Industry 4.0" based on advanced technology.

The picture shows Prime Minister Merkel visiting a local robotics production plant in 2015 to personally test the robotic arms.

(Visual China)

"Even if it is difficult, try. I never said it is easy, but too many people give up when it feels difficult, and they don't see that the government has policies." Deng Xiwei pointed out that New York, which relies on the financial industry, has taken the initiative to provide resources and policies. The problem of attracting technology companies like Amazon is definitely not unsolvable.

"Hong Kong is already an advanced economy today. You can see that most advanced economies have higher GDP and industrial components than Hong Kong." Deng Xiwei said.

According to data from the World Bank, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea account for 20% to 30% of the industrial GDP, Hong Kong only accounts for about 6%, and the service industry accounts for nearly 90% (see the figure below).

(Hong Kong 01 drawing)

Deng Xiwei explained: "Part of it may be related to the geo-environment. For example, South Korea and Japan are as big as they have a basis for industrial development. The second is government policy. For example, Singapore is smaller than Hong Kong and has a smaller population than Hong Kong, but the local government insists Develop industry. The purpose of developing industry is not to invite many low-income people so that they can all have jobs, but to develop high technology and scientific research, and then drive the economy to industrial upgrading."

For example, he said, although friends who are engaged in research and development have many new designs, due to the lack of production capacity in Hong Kong, they can't even test prototypes. Sometimes they even have to spend a lot of money to borrow machines from the Science Park, causing some research and development personnel to go. Shenzhen did the test, and by the way, conducted research in Shenzhen.

"If the "production" part is lost, the "research" part may also be lost."

In addition, industry is more able to create "upward mobility" employment opportunities.

Deng Xiwei said that workers can obtain a stable income through work, as well as professional knowledge, and they can rely on their own efforts to achieve a class jump.

"Whether it is're-industrialization' or diversification of industries, it is all about solving the employment problem, allowing people to work harder and have more work options."

The above was published in the 242th issue of "Hong Kong 01" Weekly (November 30, 2020) "Interview with Hong Kong University's new economics professor Deng Xiwei who went to the United States to return to the United States in early twentieth and return to Hong Kong to "reindustrialize""


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Selected content of the 242 issue of "Hong Kong 01" Weekly News:

[Cover Report] What responsibility should the "policy address" 339 "AO Party" bear?

Exclusive interview with "Financial Czar" Ren Zhigang: Money creation function should not fall into commercial institutions

Interview with Hong Kong University's new economics professor Deng Xiwei who returned to the U.S. at the beginning of 20 years, hoping for Hong Kong's "re-industrialization"

Liu He high-profile mentions "zero tolerance", China's financial reform must be true

The epidemic continues to disrupt the food supply chain to revive local agriculture on the agenda

The most challenging lunar exploration mission in the history of China's spaceflight, Chang'e-5 lift-off: advance preview of manned moon landing

Under the epidemic, new creative architects play with space

The auction goes online, the sound of hammers is endless, the art market under turmoil

Interview with Hong Kong University Characters Re-industrialization Policy Address Policy Address 2020 Innovation and Technology 01 Weekly Report In-depth report on Hong Kong economy

Source: hk1

All news articles on 2020-11-30

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