27th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) As Hong Kong prepares its budget, renowned economist Stephen Roach doubled down on controversial views declaring “Hong Kong is over.” However, obituaries for Hong Kong are premature. The city possesses formidable fundamentals and has repeatedly proven resilient. Adaptability is ingrained in its DNA. With pragmatism and vision, the budget can catalyze Hong Kong’s renaissance, opening new avenues of growth.

Past prophets underestimated Hong Kong, and present pessimism remains overblown. The city has always emerged stronger after crises by pragmatically evolving. Its indomitable spirit has powered reinvention from entrepot to financial hub to regional tech and innovation powerhouse. Now, policy actions aligning with new trends will propel its next transformation.

Certainly, headwinds like geopolitics bring uncertainty but Hong Kong retains unique strengths bridging East and West, underpinned by trusted institutions. Its cosmopolitan dynamism and connectivity continue driving prosperity. Resilient cities skillfully navigate change – and Hong Kong has overcome greater threats before.

Critics forget Hong Kong’s allure remains strong. Quality infrastructure and an internationalised workforce attract talent and companies seeking regional access. The city consistently ranks among the most competitive globally, with advantages across governance, technology and financial maturity. It provides unparalleled links to China amidst the mainland’s rise.

Rather than atrophy, Hong Kong actively remakes itself to stay relevant. Ongoing initiatives to foster innovation and technology, from R&D incentives to incubator funds, build new pillars as the city graduates beyond a middleman economy. Financial services are also evolving into higher-value activities like green finance and wealth management. Investments into world-class healthcare facilities and biotech parks leverage emerging advantages.

Regionally, deeper integration with China’s industrial powerhouses will reorient Hong Kong toward new frontiers. Collaborating via the Greater Bay Area on advanced manufacturing, modern services and infrastructure mega projects rejuvenates the city’s purpose. As the conduit between China and the world, Hong Kong’s bridging role is indispensable.

Of course, rebirth requires vision alongside pragmatism – not regressing but progressing. The city must align competitiveness initiatives with changing commercial realities. Success depends not on imitation but imagination to build a smarter, greener and more inclusive future.

The upcoming budget lays the foundations to seize opportunities and transcend present challenges. It plants seeds for sustained prosperity by investing in Hong Kong’s capabilities and cohesion. Support for innovation and technology, from R&D to venture capital, readies Hong Kong for the economy of tomorrow. Streamlined cross-border programs reinforce the city’s role as the gateway to the mainland. Relief for disadvantaged groups protects social harmony.

Long-term policy reform is equally crucial. Overhauling housing and land policies promotes affordability and sustainability. Upgrading legal and regulatory systems ensures business predictability and transparency. Enhancing disaster preparedness and pandemic response capabilities strengthens resilience. Investing into world-class healthcare and facilities cements Hong Kong’s stature and livability.

In fast-changing times, Hong Kong must keep reinventing itself. But transformation demands optimism alongside prudence. The city’s best days lie ahead if authorities and citizens work in concord, backed by pragmatism and vision. By building on its formidable strengths and values, Hong Kong can confidently navigate coming storms towards a brilliant future.