Consulum, the PR agency given US$5.7 million to do a strategic something blah-blah study on relaunching Hong Kong, has handed in its report. A Factwire story reveals that it’s bursting with all the exciting and incisive findings and recommendations you would expect. For example, the Japanese are ‘unreachable’ and find official feel-good blather about Hong Kong particularly unbelievable. And our officials should keep quiet about politics, but pitch this city as great for hiking.
Links to the opinion research summaries are here. Jazzy re-positioning stuff is here, if you can stomach slogans like (I can’t believe this is real) ‘Raise capital. Raise a family. Raise your heartbeat.’
According to Factwire, Regina Ip – previously a skeptic about the PR exercise – has changed her mind after seeing these materials.
When Consulum started its work in mid-2020, the project to restore Hong Kong’s image looked desperate. Eighteen months later, with NatSec and Covid regimes in force, the whole thing seems absurdly irrelevant – almost quaint.
We now have CCP-style PR. Cue the Civil Service College subjecting government employees to ‘In-depth Study of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy for a Brighter Future of Hong Kong’.
Some weekend reading…
Jerome Cohen on the Chief Justice’s remarks on how Hong Kong still has judicial independence.
From HKFP, an interesting explanation of the business model and economics of food delivery platforms like Deliveroo and Foodpanda, including ‘ghost kitchens’. The platforms clearly offer restaurants access to a bigger market, but also extract rents as rapaciously as landlords. For some restaurants (especially with Covid lockdowns) not playing along isn’t an option.
Samuel Bickett sees selective and protectionist action in the Hong Kong Competition Commission’s investigation into the two main food-delivery services, which are apparently European. (He sees echoes of Mainland discrimination against foreign companies, though this may be reading too much into it. It could just be that the Competition Commission, yet another bloated public-sector bureaucracy, doesn’t have enough work to do.) However, the allegations sound familiar – a bit like past complaints about the two big supermarket chains’ policies toward wholesale suppliers that sell to smaller players that undercut the duopoly.
From the Diplomat, signs that Beijing is curbing the more rabid aspects of wolf-warrior diplomacy.
Francesco Sisci on the role of taxation in China’s governance (more interesting than it sounds if you’re into that sort of thing).