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Shenzhen overtakes Hong Kong as world’s 3rd busiest port

Posted: 01/17/2014 7:38 pm

Shenzhen has knocked Hong Kong out of the top three busiest ports in the world. The Special Economic Zone now ranks behind only Shanghai and Singapore after handling 23.3 million 20-foot equivalent units last year, The Standard reports.

It is the first time Hong Kong has been knocked out of the top three since records began. The number of containers handled by Hong Kong last year fell by 3.6%. This is worrying news for Shenzhen’s neighbour as a survey by The Economist claimed that Hong Kong is at serious risk of losing its pivotal business center position in Asia to other first-tier Chinese cities.

The Standard has more:

A contributing factor to the drop in rank was that ships were diverted in March as port workers at Hongkong International Terminals, under Hutchison Whampoa (0013), went on strike for 40 days for higher wages.

Meanwhile, according to The Economist’s Asia Business Outlook Survey 2014, Hong Kong is at risk of becoming irrelevant as a business center in Asia, with Beijing and Shanghai vying for the honor.

A total of 334 senior executives were interviewed last month for the poll.

“It puts pressure on Hong Kong as `the gateway to China,’ as the center of decision-making shifts to Shanghai and Beijing,” said Ross O’Brien, Hong Kong director at The Economist Corporate Network. He added that Hong Kong’s attractiveness as a connection point between China and the rest of the world is decreasing.

Also, pollution, housing, schooling and other quality of life issues are losing ground, O’Brien added. But infrastructure, professional services, and gathering of talent and capital are still unparalleled

If it’s any consolation, the Economist Intelligence Unit calculated 6 months ago that Hong Kong was the “best” city in the world when taking into account stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Shortly before that, China Daily published a blog post by David Gilbert of Randomwire comparing the quality of life in the two cities. Gilbert, who had lived in both for two years each, concluded that each had its own distinct pros and cons.

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