Reuters blog archive
By Peter Thal Larsen
(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
Hong Kong’s port strike is over, but the tensions that sparked it remain. Dockers are feeling the squeeze of Hong Kong’s rising living costs, while port operators face challenges from China’s slowing and shifting economy. Labour relations look set to stay tense.
The resolution of the month-long dispute looks like a victory for Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), operator of the port where the 500 dockers worked. They agreed to return to work on May 6 after accepting a 9.8 percent pay rise - less than half their original demand, and only marginally more than the original offer. The immediate financial effect of the stoppage is minimal. Shares in Hutchison Port Holdings, the Singapore-listed trust that controls HIT, have actually outperformed other operators like China Merchants over the past month.
Nevertheless, the dispute cast a spotlight on Hong Kong’s growing social divisions. The dockers’ decision to target Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong tycoon whose Hutchison conglomerate is the port’s ultimate owner, gave the strike an added edge. In an echo of the Occupy movement, they camped outside Li’s central Hong Kong headquarters, protested outside his home, and called for a boycott of his other businesses. Hutchison stoked up the rhetoric by comparing the dockers’ tactics to those of China’s Cultural Revolution.
from The Great Debate:
John D. Rockefeller’s immense wealth made “rich as a Rockefeller” part of the lexicon. But his legacy rests not on what he earned. As the founder of Standard Oil and the richest person in history, Rockefeller donated so much money during his life that he needed a team of philanthropy specialists to distribute it. The result was the Rockefeller Foundation, chartered in 1913 “to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world.”
Much as the Gilded Age in the United States created titans like Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Rockefeller, the economic success of emerging powers has produced a new class of multimillionaires and multibillionaires. Brazil, Russia, India and China are home to 276 billionaires, according to the most recent Forbes list, almost a quarter of the world’s total. Many have begun to focus on what Carnegie called “the business of benevolence.” This nascent trend is poised to grow. But it requires support if philanthropy is to meet its potential to tackle the developing world’s socioeconomic challenges.
from George Chen:
By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.
Shanghai and Hong Kong are often considered twin cities from a historical and economic perspective, and the two cities do face many similar challenges. One of the most burning issues is the ongoing property struggle between the government, investors and developers in the two Asian strongholds of business and investment, and of course home to growing populations.