A grow­ing num­ber of young main­land pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in Hong Kong fifind life here lonely and are think­ing of giv­ing up. As re­ports, efff­forts are be­ing made to halt an ex­o­dus of talent, which could se­ri­ously erode the SAR’s com­pet­i­tive­ness.

Sylvia Chang

China Daily (Canada) - - HONGKONG -

of gang piao quan (lit­er­ally trans­lated as Cir­cle of Hong Kong Drifters), an on­line com­mu­nity for main­land people and the Hong Kong or­ga­nizer of the tele­vi­sion pro­gram’s au­di­tion.

The ar­rival of Fei Cheng Wu Rao un­der­scores a prob­lem that au­gurs dif­fi­cul­ties ahead for Hong Kong’s com­pet­i­tive stand­ing in the global econ­omy.

Given the city’s low fer­til­ity rate and a rapidly ag­ing pop­u­la­tion, the SAR faces a ma­jor threat to its eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity. The city needs to re­cruit enough work­ers from out­side to main­tain its work­force. High-qual­ity pro­fes­sion­als from the main­land are the prime tar­gets. Sev­eral pro­grams are de­signed to at­tract main­land tal­ents here.

By Au­gust 2013, the cu­mu­la­tive to­tal of main­land stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als com­ing here over a 10year span stood at 160,000, ac­cord­ing to the Hong Kong Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment. Most, how­ever,

choose not to stay. Se­ri­ous con­se­quences

A sur­vey by Hong Kong Ideas Cen­tre, a non-govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion, re­veals that only three per­cent of 500 stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als in­ter­viewed were pre­pared to make long-term com­mit­ments to Hong Kong. This could have se­ri­ous con­se­quences.

“Hong Kong can­not at­tract enough talent to sup­port com­pa­nies’ growth, businesses may be forced to go where talent is avail­able. If this comes true, it could cre­ate a down­ward spi­ral that would weaken Hong Kong’s com­pet­i­tive­ness and abil­ity to at­tract talent,” the Pub­lic En­gage­ment on Pop­u­la­tion Pol­icy re­veals.

“Feel­ing lonely and the lack of friends” is the ma­jor rea­son gang piao give up and go home, ac­cord­ing to the Hong Kong Ideas Cen­tre Study.

“Hong Kong is ex­cit­ing,” said Xia. “But, I don’t have the feel­ing of home.” When he has time, he prefers to hang out with friends in Shen­zhen or Guangzhou, he said.

Ting Kwok-fai, a pro­fes­sor at the Depart­ment of So­ci­ol­ogy at CUHK, does not see the tele­vi­sion pro­gram as a se­ri­ous so­lu­tion.

“This pro­gram is en­ter­tain­ment. It’s not a ma­jor way of look­ing for a spouse,” he said, adding that the best hope for suc­cess is for people to find their mates among their cir­cles of friends.

Zhang, who grad­u­ated with an MA in Chi­nese Stud­ies from Hong Kong Polytech­nic Univer­sity two years ago, is one ex­am­ple. He’s newly mar­ried, and now op­er­ates a restau­rant with his wife, who was his ju­nior class­mate at univer­sity. The most im­por­tant rea­son for him to choose to stay in Hong Kong, he said, is his wife. “She stays, and I stay. If she leaves, I’ll leave,” said Zhang. Con­tact the writer at sylvia@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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