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Business and Change in Hong Kong, China, and Asia

Marshall alumnus and longtime USC Trustee Ronnie C. Chan talks with Geoff Garrett about his thoughts on the future of American-Sino relations

March 12, 2021

Marshall Dean Geoff Garrett and Ronnie C. Chan, chairman of Hang Lung Properties, Marshall MBA ’76 and longtime USC Trustee have known each other for years.  That familiarity surely had something to do with the lively conversation conducted Thursday, March 11 in the latest Dean’s Dialogue entry.

Garrett asked Chan for his opinions on the future growth of China, Hong Kong, and his outlook on changing Sino-American relations with a new U.S. administration. Chan’s opinions were often at odds with what Americans—consuming only Western media about China—might have expected.

Regarding its increasing investment in domestic development, Chan pointed out that China is doing what the West has compelled it to do, and America in particular, given policy under the previous administration.

“America is really helping China,” said Chan. “With technology, money, human resources, America is helping China develop its technology and economy. I don’t see how it’s good for the U.S. per se, but people sometimes do foolish things in the international arena, and America is doing that.”

He pointed out that China is training more engineers than any other two countries combined.

“China’s emphasis has always been domestically oriented,” he said. “It’s only to the extent that the world is now connected that it has to respond to Western influences.”

The Coronavirus Response

Garrett noted that China was first in, so to speak, with the Coronavirus pandemic shutdown, but also one of the first to emerge from quarantine.

Chan said China’s response to the Coronavirus had been swift and effective due in large part to its system of government.

“The form of government matters a lot. The quality of government matters, too. China can do tracing easily because of its form of government. I’m not making a value judgment. It’s just that this system makes it possible to contain the virus easier than another system.

“That’s why my businesses are thriving,” he said. “Because everything is back to normal. Because in China they only had about two months when things were very bad.”

To hear more of Mr. Chan’s thoughts on the opposition’s effect on the economy of Hong Kong, the primacy of the American dollar as the benchmark international currency, and the growth of private business in Mainland China, watch the conversation below.

Grading China’s Coronavirus Response

The Future of China’s Private Sector

Is China’s Infrastructure and Real Estate Boom a Bubble?

Digital and Cryptocurrency in China