About the talk

Singapore and Hong Kong are two of the most successful economies in the world today, after having achieved rapid development in the late 20th century with the other ‘Asian Tigers’. While both economies were highly open to foreign trade and capital, the Singapore government was relatively more interventionist in its domestic economic policy. Accordingly, this event compares the economic strategies undertaken by both city-states in the late 20th century and assesses their relative performance, in terms of not just national income, but higher order indicators like productivity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Not only are Singapore and Hong Kong successful economies, they are especially important cases today considering the growing influence of China on the world stage. To better understand the nature of China’s influence, it is important to trace the way in which Hong Kong society has been transformed since its handover in 1997, and also the way China has in the past sought to emulate Singapore’s seeming ability to marry both authoritarian governance and high economic growth.

In this lecture, Dr Bryan Cheang explored these issues by launching his new book Economic Liberalism and the Developmental State: Comparing Singapore and Hong Kong’s Post War Development, in which he argues that the relatively liberal model of Hong Kong allowed it to outperform Singapore in cultural dynamism, entrepreneurial culture and indigenous innovation. He also explores the vast differences in political culture in Hong Kong and Singapore society, where the vibrant democratic culture in the former stands in stark contrast to the disciplined state-society relations in the latter.

About the speaker

Bryan Cheang is the Assistant Director and Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Governance and Society at King’s College London, where he previously obtained his PhD in Political Economy. His research interests are on the efficacy of industrial policy, varieties of capitalism and East Asian political economy.