Date
18 December 2017
Unaffordable housing is one of the main reasons for the social discontent in Hong Kong, says Vincent Lo, chairman of SOCAM Development. Photo: HKEJ
Unaffordable housing is one of the main reasons for the social discontent in Hong Kong, says Vincent Lo, chairman of SOCAM Development. Photo: HKEJ

Govt urged to focus on housing to address youth discontent

Business leaders are urging the Hong Kong government to step up efforts to resolve the housing problem in the city, pointing out that it is a key issue that is fueling discontent among local youth.

SOCAM Development Ltd. (00983.HK) chairman Vincent Lo Hong-sui said social problems having been casting a cloud over the city in the past few years, with the recent public protests only highlighting the matter.

The root of discontent lies in housing issues as many young people can’t afford the high property prices, the Hong Kong Economic Journal quoted Lo as saying.

To resolve the issue, the government must undertake comprehensive planning and boost housing supply, he said, adding that taxation measures are not the answer. 

Limited opportunities to move up along the social ladder is another cause of grievance for the youth, said Lo, who is considering halting new investments in the city amid concerns over the rule of the law in the wake of the Occupy protests. 

Lan Kwai Fong Holdings chairman Allan Zeman also urged the government to review its policy on housing with a view to meeting the needs of the younger generation who are hoping for a better living environment. 

Zeman, meanwhile, urged the youth to recognize the fact that closer links with mainland China will be beneficial to Hong Kong. 

Benjamin Hung, chief executive for Greater China region at Standard Chartered Bank, said that as the Chinese economy is expected to become the largest in the world by 2020, Hong Kong should take an even greater role in serving as a bridge between China and the other nations.

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VW/JP/RC

Freelance journalist

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