Monday, 16 November 2015

Further Mainlandization of Hong Kong

The mainlandization of Hong Kong continues with whole office buildings being snapped up by mainland companies.

Evergrande Real Estate has agreed to buy Mass Mutual Tower in Wan Chai from Chinese Estates Holdings for a record HK$12.5 billion. The happy seller? Joseph Lau Luen-hung, who snapped up the $48 million blue diamond for his little Josephine a day earlier.

On the same day as the Mass Mutal Tower sale, Chinese insurer China Life bought an office block tower with a two-storey retail block at One HarbourGate in Hung Hom from Wheelock & Co. for HK$5.85 billion.

Experts say this trend will continue as more mainland companies expand their presence in Hong Kong, snapping up office space in prime locations...

So it looks like we will have more mainland landlords... is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Economically Hong Kong needs the money, but in the long term surely this just accelerates the pace at which the city integrates with the motherland?

In the meantime, tensions between mainlanders and locals continue to simmer.

This afternoon I went to the Body Shop in Times Square to buy something before going back to the office and a young mainland man was shouting loudly and angrily at one of the staff there. She looked completely unfazed even though he sounded threatening.

He was already shouting when I arrived, and thought he would stop soon, but he kept on his tirade in a very demanding tone. Another staff person was trying to sell more things to me, but this young man's loud voice was so disconcerting that I almost left.

When I went to the cashier to pay, he stormed off, and it seems he was annoyed he couldn't get a discount on something he wanted to buy. A mainland woman who was shopping in the store apologized for his behaviour, but the shop assistant who was shouted at was polite and said it didn't matter, and that he only wanted to buy something that wasn't expensive.

Then this evening my friend and I went to Caprice Bar in the Four Seasons Hong Kong for drinks with another friend we hadn't seen in ages.

However a young mainland family walked in -- and the child was whining in Mandarin. We are in a five-star hotel where a room is over HK$6,000 a night and a boy is making loud noises in a bar.

The parents try to quieten him down, but he keeps going. When we were misbehaving, our parents immediately took us outside to make us quiet. But why is he allowed in a place like this?

Eventually they are seated in the restaurant where dandan mian is not on the menu.

I know that Hong Kong people can treat mainlanders badly, but the two above examples are bad form too.

Money is what drives our relationship, not mutual respect.

And as long as they keep throwing money at Hong Kong, staff will have to put up with outrageous behaviour, while the landlords -- more and more mainland ones -- will be raking it in... What do they care?

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