Tycoon city : political economy, real estate and the super-rich in Hong Kong

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Book chapter

Source Publication

Cities and the super-rich : real estate, elite practices, and urban political economies

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Palgrave Macmillan


Hong Kong is highly unequal. In this chapter, we first show that wealth and inequality are structured by a political economy centring on small government and real estate profits. The underlying urban development model contains urbanisation, while restricting access to land to a small group that is fabulously rich. Next, we discern three reasons for the initial acceptance of this political economy: a mixed coalition reached sustained agreement on core policies; an ideology ‘sold’ these policies to the larger public; and social welfare policies redistributed benefits. Third, we argue that this support has now disappeared, because the government has been reluctant to face the consequences of domestic and foreign real estate investments for the non-rich. Unfortunately, a new social contract seems out of reach in the current political climate.

Funding Information

The work described in this chapter was supported by a grant from the ESRC/RGC Joint Research Scheme sponsored by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council and the Economic and Social Research Council in the United Kingdom (Project reference no: ES/K010263/1). {ES/K010263/1}

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Copyright © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017

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Additional Information

ISBN of the source publication: 9781137557155



Recommended Citation

Wissink, B., Koh, S. Y., & Forrest, R. (2017). Tycoon city: Political economy, real estate and the super-rich in Hong Kong. In R. Forrest, S. Y. Koh, & B. Wissink (Eds.), Cities and the super-rich: Real estate, elite practices, and urban political economies (pp. 229-252). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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