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The “Tech” Of Two Cities Why Hong Kong failed where Shenzhen succeeded

Hong Kong and Shenzhen are located side by side geographically, but have a very different history, grounded in two radically different socio-political systems. As a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy and will maintain its British-incepted capitalist system until 2047. In contrast, Shenzhen is subject to the socialist economic system of China. Hong Kong used to be an economic superstar in the region: Milton Friedman referred to it in 1990 as the best example of a free market economy. On the other hand, Shenzhen was described as a “sleepy border town” in southern China. The story is entirely different now when Shenzhen is comparable to, if it has not already outshone, its once proud neighbor. Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, home to a huge High-Tech Industrial Park, is now China’s richest, with a higher per capita GDP than even capitalist Hong Kong, and the city is the cradle of tech giants like Huawei, ZTE and Tencent.

This surprising development begs an explanation, and this article seeks to provide it. Read the full article PDF, and the accompanying CIV City Cases of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and learn how the Chinese government intends to leverage the relative advantages of both cities by creating a collaboration between them.

Full article PDF:

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CIV City Case — Hong Kong (1997-2016) — A lackluster pearl of the orient:

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CIV City Case — Shenzhen (1979-2016) — From low-tech to high-tech:

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About the Authors:

Horace Yeung – Assistant Professor, University of Leicester.
Flora Huang – Associate Professor, University of Essex.

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