New Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has promised to bring Hong Kong continued prosperity, with an eye to the challenges to the future. And experts say those challenges are considerable.
This is the man who will lead Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) for the next five years.
Leung becomes the fourth chief executive since Hong Kong returned to China in 1997. He won the election in March with the backing of more than half of the election committee.
Leung said, "The major policy direction of the new SAR government is to solve the deep-level problems of people's livelihood. And further boost Hong Kong's economy, making the most of the Mainland's support to Hong Kong."
When China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong 15 years ago, Leung became a member of the executive council. He later served as its convenor.
Leung is a prominent surveyor and former government advisor. He's seen as a sophisticated politician. Leung said his priorities are to promote social harmony, maintain economic growth, provide more public housing and narrow the wealth gap.
Analysts have been closely watching the role of the regional government.
Joseph Yushek Cheng, Professor of City University of Hong Kong, said, "People accept the 'one country, two systems' model; people also understand the economy of Hong Kong is increasingly dependent on the mainland. But people are also worried that the gap between Hong Kong and that of the most developed coastal cities of China is narrowing."
As the SAR turns 15, the Central Government has announced a package of preferential policies to boost development. These policies will push forward joint ventures for stock exchanges and encourage foreign investors to use the Chinese yuan in trade settlements and investments in Hong Kong. The package also covers cooperation in education, science and technology, and tourism.
Gregory So Kam-Leung, HK Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development, said, "China is a bright side. The trade with the mainland and its domestic market that is opening up to Hong Kong businessmen, create tremendous opportunities to them. That's why brand building, domestic sales, as well as upgrading the way we do business to cater to the mainland, is now the key to success."
Leung says his administration will seek closer ties with the mainland and to secure public trust and support. The hopes of 7 million people are now riding on him for the future of the Special Administrative Region.
Leung said, "We will further integrate our economy with the mainland. Through our joint efforts, Hong Kong will seek more opportunities in the mainland, while the mainland people will find more business chances in Hong Kong. Hong Kong will continue to play a unique role for the motherland."
Leung says the SAR government will push policies that will help Hong Kong achieve higher economic growth, and at the same time, ensure that more people will enjoy the benefits. With the promise of the Central Government's support, the people of Hong Kong are hoping that their chief executive and his team, have what it takes to solve all the challenges ahead.
(CNTV.cn July 1, 2012)