Feature Stories


Global Trade in a Transformative Era

The word that springs to mind when we look at the state of today’s international trade is “disruptive”. Whether the change is driven by geopolitical disputes, technology or even the pandemic, it seems certain that we are heading in a new direction.

It is for this reason that we have decided to put together this exciting and thought-provoking issue on the topic of “Global Trade in a Transformative Era”. We believe that it is our responsibility to deep dive into the issues which will affect businesses in the future. These insights will hopefully help our readers find some answers to navigate the fast-changing business environment.

In this edition, we spoke to business leaders and experts in this region to get a glimpse of what they think the future might look like for international trade. Our very own faculty have also shared their studies regarding the trade challenges and outlook for 2021 and beyond.

Starting with two industry veterans and also our School Advisory Council Members, we talk to Dr William FUNG, Group Deputy Chairman of the Fung Group, about how his company has successfully weathered the storms during its century-long business history. Then we hear from Maximilian MA, Chairman of the Lee Heng Diamond Group, to find out how the home-grown retailer has navigated disruptions brought on not only by the trade war, but also COVID-19 and social unrest.

Three experts across the region also share their perspectives. Leading Chinese economist Justin LIN, talks about how China is moving ahead with its “dual circulation paradigm” despite a vulnerable trade environment. Commenting on Hong Kong, Nicholas KWAN from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council explains the city’s unique position as the gateway between China and the rest of the world. For more on the macro environment, we talk to the founder of the Singapore-based Asian Trade Center, Deborah ELMS, who gives a strong argument as to why the new world order will see more regional trade agreements, and why this is the way forward.

Free trade is an important topic in this issue. In fact, there is a strong belief within the field of economics that free trade will continue to be the key to economic growth and stability. As such, we have invited our economists and also scholars from various disciplines to share their thoughts. They include Professor Albert PARK, Professor Edwin LAI, and Professor Alicia GARCIA-HERRERO from our Department of Economics. We also hear from Professor J.T. LI from our Department of Management, Professor CHEUNG Ki Ling from our Department of Information Systems, Business Statistics & Operations Management, Professor Alminas ZALDOKAS and Professor Emilio BISETTI from our Department of Finance, and last but not least, Professor QI Ye from the Institute for Public Policy.

Through our conversations with these experts, we can glimpse a new world order where globalization will continue to exist, notwithstanding the uncertain geopolitical future and the lasting impact of COVID-19. In sum, we hope that this issue can contribute significantly to the ongoing dialogue about international trade, and offer some food for thought regarding the challenges that Hong Kong, China and the region continue to face.

Professor TAM Kar Yan