Confidence in Hong Kong's legal system is a direct result of its links with the rest of the world. if, in our haste to use Chinese, we change the standard and the meaning of the law, and non-Chinese speakers get pushed out of practice, then we risk losing those links.' The traditional Chinese structure has focused on mediation for civil and commercial cases, with lawyers widely viewed as troublemakers, and on executive punishment for criminal cases; there has been no history of justice through an adversarial process. As the Asian Wall Street Journal warned, "A drift into linguistic balkanization -- part English and part Cantonese, plus jargon grafted from the Chinese mainland -- could unmoor Hong Kong from the international business community." (Callick, 1998, p. 84)
Part of doing business with a foreign county is seeing how they see you. It was essential to impress upon the American companies with which we dealt, that Hong Kong remained "open for business."
In a less broad context, the Consultant found out that the particulars of the Telecom Industry are both similar and different when Hong Kong is compared to the United States. Today, both markets possess powerful, innovative, and aggressive leaders. In the United States, telecommunications was once a special case - a monopoly of one gigantic company. Since the 1980s, deregulation has made it possible for many companies to enter the market and to compete. It is because of this opening up of the market to competition that Hong Kong companies now have the freedom to enter the world of American telecom. Furthermore, the World Trade Organization has made telecommunication a more global business than ever before. The Chinese Government has been especially active in its attempts to assert Chinese dominance in the field of telecommunications. Hong Kong is the primary weapon in this war, as it is the only part of China that has ever found itself fully integrated into the Western - and now the global - economy. Li Kashing, the wealthiest man in Hong Kong, was propelled into the project of global telecom dominance by the People's Republic of China working in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund. Li Kashing financed an enormous venture for his son Richard Li:
Richard, posturing as "patriotic" to woo Chinese leadership, was given access to Chinese state capital through partnership with president Jiang Zemin's son Jiang Mianheng, a vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, whose goal it has been to break the West's "monopoly on information resources and related industries." The two illustrious sons cooperated in a number of ventures, including a joint design of computer web and video programming, and the development of an English-Chinese bilingual browser designed to "grab back the browser market from western domination...." In August 2000 Richard Li's Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) bought Cable and Wireless Hong Kong Telecom for a blockbuster U.S.$38.1 billion (the biggest telecom merger in Asia) in a bid to monopolize the delivery of video programming and the Internet over the world's largest broadband network... It was clear to all that he was backed by the Chinese government, whose Ministry of Information and Industry had held significant shares of the company. He was also awarded, without a competitive bid, the right to develop Cyberport -- a multi-billion dollar high-tech industrial park from the Hong Kong government, a deal that included substantial subsidies and land rights for the entire complex that was to become Chinese Silicon Valley.
Government officials promoted younger Li as the man who would usher in the dawn of the Asian Century." (Kwong & Miscevic, 2002)
Any move by Hong Kong telecoms into the American market therefore encounters a certain amount of nationalistic pride and xenophobia. The Li Venture revealed the great ambitions of the Chinese and the power... And weakness... Of Hong Kong. The Telecom Bubble burst bringing with it the end of these grandiose plans. While growing at a phenomenal rate, the Hong Kong Telecom industry could not stand on its own and compete against the economic power of the United States.
Hong Kong's experience with Telecom speculation is applicable in many different areas of economic development. The Hong Kong adventure can show what can happen to smaller scale economies that collide with much larger economic units. Also, Hong Kong offers a unique laboratory of a small highly-developed economic zone engaged with a much larger - but still developing - nation. The Hong Kong Telecom expert enters a very different world when he comes to the United States. In the context of Hong Kong, it is relatively easy for one company to dominate the industry, especially if it has the backing of the monolithic Chinese government. All of that cash can help to compete in America, but in the end, it must be remembered that America's corporations remain very powerful forces. Many American companies by themselves are wealthier than many developing nations. In a number of respects the Hong King telecom executives must learn to deal with corporate America as though he or she was dealing with a collections of powerful, and very wealthy, nations. In America, one operates at a different speed, and on a different scale.
As Hong Kong becomes more and more integrated into China as a whole, the matter of telecom expansion becomes more and more influenced by Chinese and Global politics. Before, Hong Kong was merely a vibrant outpost of what was essentially a Western economic world. Today, Hong Kong's serves as one of the headquarters of a Chinese assault on international commerce. Hong Kong is one of the chief bulwarks of China's expansion into a global role. Hong Kong's telecom executives have the connections and the know-how to get along in the West. They also have the backing of the world's most populous country; a country that is also one of the world's fastest growing economically. Within the past decade, Hong Kong's businessmen have demonstrated their ability to compete with the West on nearly equal terms. Chinese telecom experts have the knowledge, but they do not yet have the economic clout. Nevertheless, it is just a matter of time. Theodore Levitt summed it up best some years ago in the Harvard Business Review:
Everywhere everything gets more and more like everything else as the world's preference structure is relentlessly homogenized.... Ancient differences in national tastes or modes of doing business disappear. The commonality of preference leads inescapably to the standardization of products, manufacturing, and the institutions of trade and commerce.
(Zhou & Belk, 2004)
Austin, Michael. "Saul and the social contract: constructions of 1 Samuel 8-11 in Cowley's 'Davideis' and Defoe's 'Jure Divino.'." Papers on Language & Literature 32.4 (1996): 410+.