Look to country parks for land, says Ronnie Chan

Finance | Winnie Lee 1 Jun 2021

Tycoon Ronnie Chan Chi-chung, chairman of Hang Lung Group (0010), has suggested the SAR government should increase land supply by reallocating 2 percent of country parks land area to residential properties and infrastructure.

He proposed at a forum that infrastructure and residential buildings each account for half, and expects that more land will be released to the market in the next three to five years. At the moment, 42 percent of the land is zoned for country parks.

Chan, who supported former chief executive Leung Chun-ying when Leung ran for election, criticized opposition legislators for opposing the government's land policies. He did not name former chief executive Donald Tsang but criticized the suspension of the land sale program during Tsang's seven-year tenure and said some people in the business sector had exacerbated the Hong Kong housing problem.

Chan added that Hong Kong's land insufficiency is not an economic problem but a political one, with politicians coming in the way of solutions.

With the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the land policy may be effectively promoted in the future, said Chan.

Chan said more than 90 percent of Hong Kong's economy is related to service industries. Hong Kong has to serve customers from different places at different times.

China offers good business opportunities for Hong Kong and the city needs to further integrate with China economically and reflect on their relationship as social movements and political problems in the past two years have changed Hong Kong, he said.

The scars from the unrest will take a long time to heal, and it will take time for mainland tourists to regain confidence in visiting Hong Kong.

He believes that Beijing will help Hong Kong revitalize its economy when Hong Kong ceases to be a problem for Beijing.

Hong Kong did not allow "political colors" or a political spectrum before 1997 but Beijing allowed Hong Kong to have different stances. However, some people like to conquer everything with "colors."

Chan said he doesn't mind slightly different "colors" in Hong Kong, but all parties should be balanced. When asked whether he would support Leung, who was rumored to be interested in running for chief executive, Chan said that the most suitable candidate would win the election.

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