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The return of Hong Kong to China has led to profound changes to the economy and society. CCTV reporter Guan Xin spoke to a long-term expatriate in banking, who recounts what he's seen during his years in the city. John McCormick is the Asia Pacific chief of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He’s been in Hong Kong for 7 years.
CCTV reporter Guan Xin, "What is the most significant change that you went through."
John Mccormick, CEO, Royal Bank of Scotland, Asia Pacific, said, "I noticed quite a pick up in the number of mainland Chinese travelers in Hong Kong. Although I’m not a Mandarin speaker, I do notice Mandarin being spoken on the streets and shops has picked up dramatically. In facts, some of my colleagues tell me that we've reached 50 percent of people speaking some element of Mandarin as well as Cantonese, and English, so it's quite remarkable."
|CCTV reporter Guan Xin.|
Since its handover from Britain, Hong Kong has become increasingly integrated with the Mainland. Besides the use of Mandarin Chinese, or Putonghua, the Chinese yuan has surpassed the British Pound to become the second major currency. And there are many economic challenges. Property prices for one.
John Mccormick, CEO, Royal Bank of Scotland, Asia Pacific, said, "I also noticed the pickup of real estate prices. It's very expensive to live here. The rentals are very high, but also the cost of apartments is quite high."
|John McCormick, the Asia Pacific chief of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has been in|
Hong Kong for 7 years.
Housing is now the most pressing livelihood issue for Hong Kong residents. Dealing with high property prices and widening wealth gap will be high on the agenda of the new leadership. But John says the most important achievement for Hong Kong is maintaining economic and financial stability.
John Mccormick also said, "We've seen Hong Kong react to many different, quite significant countervailing forces, for example, the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, and then in early 2000 the SARS epidemic, and also the 2008 global financial crisis. I think previous and current chief executives of HKMA have done an excellent job in maintaining confidence... to keep the economy moving here in Hong Kong."
On July the first, the city will mark the 15th anniversary of the handover. The city needs to address its issues to embrace a brighter future.