Tuesday, 23 May 2017

'Inside China' Fashion & Lifestyle Report May 2017 - Hong Kong

Two Hong Kong girls looking across to Hong Kong island from Kowloon.
Hong Kong as we know it today was born when China's Qing dynasty government was defeated in the First Opium War in 1842, when it ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain in the Treaty of Nanking signed on 29 August 1842.
Hong Kong was handed back to China by the British in 1997, ten years on lets take a look.

From its earliest days as a British colony, Hong Kong served as a centre of international trade. Under British rule Hong Kong used to be a boyant Asia link Financial Centre. It became clear to me on this recent visit to Hong Kong and China that Beijing has taken over that focus. 
We may well forget that the background history of Europe and China before Communism and the impact of the 2nd world war was based on drugs and trade! The Opium Wars were two wars in the mid-19th century involving Anglo-Chinese disputes over British trade in China and China's sovereignty. The disputes included the First Opium War (1839–1842) and the Second Opium War (1856–1860). The wars and events between them weakened the Qing dynasty and forced China to trade with the rest of the world.
We are now seeing a full circle return to collaberative trade partnership negociations with China's head  Xi Jinping hosting the Belt and Road forum last week in Beijing.

This initiative puts China at the forefront of anti protectionism in international trade. This will benefit China hugely with a 1.1371 Billion strong population, providing plentiful cheap, skilled labour to produce hard and soft goods and a canny 'can do' ambition. 

Beijing locals enjoy it when Chinese president Xi Jinping entertains international politial dignitories, the factories are closed for a few days, the municiple roads are spruced up to present the best impression, blue skies and low pollution creates a beautiful and seductive Beijing, full of promise and potential, not dissimilar to Tokyo. see my next post for a more in depth look at Beijing Style and fashion.

Last Monday Xi urged major multilateral institutions to join his new Belt and Road Initiative, stressing the importance of rejecting protectionism in seeking global economic growth. Addressing other world leaders at a summit on the initiative in Beijing, Xi said it was necessary to coordinate policies with the development goals of institutions including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN, African Union and the European Union. Xi pledged $124 billion on Sunday for his new Silk Road which aims to bolster China's global leadership ambitions by expanding links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond, as U.S. President Donald Trump promotes "America First"."We need to improve policy coordination and reject beggar-thy-neighbor practices," Xi said on Monday."This is an important lesson that can be drawn from the global financial crisis and is still very relevant to the development of the world economy today," he said."We need to seek 
win-win results through greater openness and cooperation, avoid fragmentation, refrain from setting inhibitive thresholds for cooperation or pursuing exclusive arrangements and reject protectionism."

The women are modern and western in style, free to use social media in Hong Kong.
Sports trainers have over taken shoes in sales this year for the first time internationally
I predicted this in 2012 on fashiontent - see this link

An upwardly mobile Hong Kong Chinese family enjoying afternoon tea in the Penisular Hotel,
a British colonial hotel that has adapted with the times.

The buildings reflect the ambition of Hong Kong as part of China in the twenty first century.

Properous Chinese in Hong Kong enjoying the shopping and lifestyle.
Chinese millenials unlike their parents are fully engaged in consumerism, luxury western goods
reflect their success and status much like the 1980s in the West. 

Map of Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Girls out shopping on Nathan Road styled in a mix of western clothes with cute traditional Chinese shoes
Xi Jinping refered also to the old Silk Route concept in his trade vision, this was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea.
This modern title derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk (and horses) carried out along its length, beginning during the Han dynasty (207 BCE – 220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded Central Asian sections of the trade routes around 114 BCE, largely through missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy, Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route. Perhaps this is where Donald Trump got his wall building idea from? a direct swipe at China? China is enjoying it's economic success much like the Americans did in the 1950s boom times.

Copy and photography © Schelay McCarter

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