Oligarchy of Tycoons: Hong Kong’s Economy in Li Ka-Shing’s Hands

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Written By Henry Dalziel

I've been living and working in Hong Kong since 2016 as an SEO Professional.

Ever since the early days of British colonization in Hong Kong, a tiny handful of affluent families has controlled the city. This has been the case for the entirety of the city’s history. These families, which are collectively referred to as the tycoons, are the ones who control and run the majority of the enterprises in the city. This encompasses every type of business imaginable, from financial institutions and insurance providers to grocery stores and property development organizations.There are many reasons why the tycoons have been able to keep their power and influence for such a long time. To begin, they have access to a sizable amount of financial resources that they can draw upon. This gives them the ability to purchase important firms and assets, in addition to giving them the means to make political contributions. The second reason is that they have a lot of influence with the government. A significant number of the tycoons are members of the Chinese Communist Party, which places them in close proximity to the top officials of the country. Last but not least, business tycoons are experts at manipulating the media to their own ends. They are the owners of a large number of the city’s newspapers and television stations, both of which they utilize to advertise their own companies and to criticize those of their competitors.The tycoons’ stranglehold over Hong Kong’s economic system has resulted in a variety of unfavorable outcomes. To begin, it has contributed to a significant increase in the level of inequality. While the wealthy business tycoons and their families keep much of the city’s wealth for themselves, the remainder of the populace struggles to make ends meet. Second, it has rendered the economy of the city particularly susceptible to the effects of shocks. For instance, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 had a particularly severe impact on Hong Kong due to the fact that many of the city’s banks and enterprises were owned by tycoons who had substantial amounts of outstanding debt. Last but not least, the grip that the tycoons have had over the city’s economy has made it challenging for new firms to get off the ground. Because of this, Hong Kong has become one of the most expensive locations to live in the world, which has a chilling effect on economic development and creativity.
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