Editor’s note: Hong Kong marks the 25th anniversary this year of its return to the motherland — the halfway mark of “one country, two systems”. In its “Anniversary Talks” series, China Daily has invited prominent residents and professionals from various sectors to give their views on the changes Hong Kong has gone through in the past 25 years and what they expect for the future. We talked to Hong Kong interior designer Patrick Choi.

This undated photo shows Hong Kong interior designer Patrick Choi. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

1.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. How do you see the city’s development in the past 25 years? 

The 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a milestone for the country and Hong Kong. In the past 25 years, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has developed very well with its traditional strengths. However, Hong Kong has not been able to fully develop the innovative technology industry and so it lacks new economic growth drivers. At the same time, the people’s livelihood and housing issues remain unresolved.  

2.  In the past quarter of a century, many industries have seen things evolve. How about your industry or your sector? Among these changes, what has impressed you the most?

In fact, many industries have undergone tremendous changes over the past 25 years. In the architectural and interior design industries I’m engaged in, the Chinese mainland is one of the largest export markets for Hong Kong’s design consultant services and is increasingly valued by Hong Kong designers. 

In recent years, many mainland enterprises have expanded their operations and used the services of Hong Kong design companies to help them redesign their brands and strengthen their attractiveness to the global market, while maintaining their competitiveness in the domestic market. Hong Kong design companies are culturally innovative, responsible, mature, protected by intellectual property laws, and adopt a professional service attitude. They’re familiar with both Chinese culture and the international market, allowing them to formulate more comprehensive brand development strategies for mainland enterprises and provide appropriate product design services. Among these changes, the most impressive is that Hong Kong and overseas design companies are cooperating in large-scale urban planning, architecture and interior design on the Chinese mainland. 

Hong Kong is Asia’s design hub, known for its fashion and urban style. Many mainland companies turn to Hong Kong for services, such as creating outstanding designs, branding and marketing. Meanwhile, the mainland’s latest technological development in the design sector saves a lot of time, manpower and material resources, thus raising the competitiveness of Hong Kong companies.

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The chief executive’s 2020 Policy Address has earmarked an additional HK$1 billion for the Create Smart Initiative to support and promote the development of creative industries. In future, we believe the HKSAR government will continue to promote the development of local creative industries and maintain the city’s status as a design capital in Asia.

3. Hong Kong has seen tighter and deeper integration with the Chinese mainland since its return to the motherland. How do you see this going in the next 25 years?

The mainland is still developing. There’re lots of areas and markets to be developed and more talent and technology are needed. I believe Hong Kong’s closer integration into the nation will lead to more breakthroughs and achievements for the city’s economy in the next 25 years.

People cross the road decorated with national flags and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region flags above to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland in Tsim Sha Tsui on June 17, 2022. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

4. Hong Kong has a high standing in the international arena, and this is partly due to its overall competitiveness. In your view, what has made Hong Kong competitive? What should it do to consolidate and maintain its competitiveness?

Hong Kong is an international city with one of the freest economic systems in the world. I think Hong Kong’s competitiveness lies in having a sound legal system, low tax rates, thriving financial services, professionals from all over the world, and a world-class infrastructure. It’s also a good location for overseas companies to tap the mainland market.

Hong Kong should further strengthen integration with the motherland and promote specialization and digitization in the local economy and trade. Thus, the city could not only attract business people from all over the world to develop their businesses on the mainland, but also help mainland enterprises expand their global presence. The SAR’s role as a bridge between the Chinese mainalnd and the world will be further consolidated.

READ MORE: ‘One country, two systems’ guarantees HK’s success

5. What about the next 25 years? Hong Kong has passed the halfway mark in 50 years of unchanged “one country, two systems”. Is there anything you would like to tell Hong Kong people on this special occasion?

For the next 25 years, I would like to say to Hong Kong people on this special occasion: Stick to the “Lion Rock spirit” to embrace a better Hong Kong in the future with confidence, hope and love. Let’s create a brilliant new page for Hong Kong together.