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Visit to Shanghai (1)

I am going on a visit to Shanghai today and will return to Hong Kong tomorrow.

More than two decades ago, I went to Shanghai quite often, mainly to give lectures and assist the Shanghai Municipal Government in land and housing reforms on a voluntary basis. After the Constitution of the People's Republic of China was amended in 1988, Shanghai took the lead in selling land. I advocated the sale of land through international tendering to ensure fairness and impartiality, and participated in the drafting of the Chinese and English tender documents. The first land sale was a success. The proceeds were used to build infrastructure, and the land developed was then put up for sale in the market. A virtuous circle was thus started in the urban construction of the whole of Shanghai. This, coupled with the concurrent housing reform, enabled more and more people living in public housing to become owners of private flats. To date, the home ownership rate in Shanghai has already risen to 68 per cent, which is higher than that of Hong Kong.

It was a few years later, in the mid-1990s, that Hong Kong developers joined the Shanghai property market. The entry of Hong Kong developers into the property markets of Shanghai and other Mainland cities created a lot of employment opportunities for our professionals, and professional firms in the related fields mushroomed in the Mainland. Nowadays, the fee revenues of every land- and property-related profession is higher in the Mainland than in Hong Kong.

Mr Tung Chee-hwa has said, with great insight, "When Hong Kong succeeds, our country will benefit. When our country succeeds, Hong Kong will prosper." I am certain that Hong Kong people stand to benefit in terms of their own careers and the development of Hong Kong as a whole from their contributions to the country.

My itinerary in Shanghai for today and tomorrow is as follows:

  1. Meet the Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, Mr Han Zheng, this evening
  2. Address the 2nd Annual Urban Land Institute (ULI) Asia Pacific Summit tomorrow
  3. Visit two Hong Kong-owned enterprises
  4. Visit the YK Pao School
  5. Meet Hong Kong businessmen, professionals and students in Shanghai
  6. Address a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in China
  7. Meet old friends in Shanghai
  8. Visit the Shanghai Shipping Exchange, meet the media and return to Hong Kong

The ULI is a global professional organisation headquartered in the United States, while the ULI Asia Pacific, of which I was the Founding Chairman, is based in Hong Kong. The ULI attaches great importance to this year's summit in Shanghai, as evident in the attendance of its Chairman Designate and Chief Executive Officer. The organisation of this summit in Shanghai by the ULI Asia Pacific reflects Hong Kong's international status in the professional fields concerned and our role in promoting the exchange of knowledge between our country and the international community.

June 4, 2013