This line has served the place very well for many years, but it no longer seems fit for purpose or remotely accurate. If anything, ‘Asia’s World City’ seems better suited to describe Singapore (where I relocated to in 2013). As a Hong Konger, it positively pains me to write that but it’s hard to ignore reality.
It is high time that Brand Hong Kong and the HK Tourism Board put their heads together to come up with something that more accurately describes what Hong Kong is these days. So while the Greater Bay Area may mean an economic boon for Hong Kong, it doesn’t do it any favours from a branding and positioning point of view.
The Greater Bay Area will be the sum of its parts and Hong Kong will be merely a cog in that machine. So can and should the location still try to be distinct or just assimilate and accept its new roles in the GBA? Is Hong Kong destined to be just another Chinese city?
Very possibly, but it doesn’t mean that it will willingly go down this route without a fight. Hong Kong, for those who know it, is a wonderful contradiction on so many fronts. Sure, there are the clichéd, East-meets-West, new-meets-old aspects, but there is such depth and nuance to the Cantonese culture that makes the place unique and sets it apart from the rest of the mainland – the world even. Just ask anyone who has lived there.
There were incredible photos and footage from the past few weeks. And there were a few things that brought a lump to my throat. Seeing a sea of protestors give way to an ambulance and reading about protestors tidying up and sorting recycling the day after the protests were just a few shining examples of what the world saw and applauded.