After that, the attention turned to manpower, a resource that Hong Kong urgently needs to sharpen its competitive edge.
In his maiden policy address last October, Mr Lee announced an aggressive talent trawling campaign.
The Top Talent Pass Scheme allows graduates from the world’s top 100 universities to enter Hong Kong before securing an employment offer.
Since its launch, the government has approved 49,000 applications in five months, exceeding the initial target of 35,000.
However, nearly 95 per cent of applicants are from mainland China.
It raises the question if Hong Kong’s appeal as an international city still stands, said experts.
“We need a lot of them, because Hong Kong needs to be better integrated with the Greater Bay Area and the overall Chinese economic development,” said Professor Tang Heiwai, director of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong.
“But in the long run, with more vibrant economic developments in Hong Kong, I think there will be non-Chinese expatriates coming eventually, they need time to understand the situation.
“They need more than a few months to know whether Hong Kong is going to be their future home.”
Mr Lee said his administration is now considering further relaxing the requirements to bring more people in.
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