Green pressure could harm city, says Li Ka-shing


Green pressure could harm city, says Li Ka-shing

Li Ka-shing warned yesterday that conservation campaigns and calls for limits on high-rise buildings could damage the interests of everyone in Hong Kong.

The remarks by the chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) (SEHK: 0001) were the first time a leading developer has hit out at the recent tactics employed by groups that are seeking to improve the city's environment through legal means.


"It affects the [government] revenue, which is everybody's revenue in Hong Kong," Mr Li said.


If by "everybody's revenue", you mean the revenue of large property developers, who make huge profits at the expense of the actual population, then I suppose that's true. If you look at it otherwise, then it's blatantly untrue.

As Chris says here, and Alice Poon points out here, the relentless skimping on contruction costs (thin, single layer walls, no double-glazing, no centralized air-conditioning) which increases the profits of the developers leaves the eventual owners with increased running costs (air conditioning, heating, etc).

Slightly increased construction costs would result in developments with lower over environmental impact and could also result in substantial reductions in running costs, as Chris points out in his linked article.

James Tien Pei-chun, another developer who is also chairman of the Liberal Party, month urged the government earlier this month to hold public consultations on urban development immediately before a decision on a project was made, to avoid last-minute objections.

Mr Tien, as well as not apparently understanding the whole "public consultation" thing in the first place, is also in charge of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

You know, the very same Tourism board which raised no objections to the recent destruction of the Star Ferry, one of Hong Kong's signature attractions. Which is raising no objections to the imminent destruction of the markets in Wanchai and Central. The Wanchai one is particularly egregious, as they're clearing it to allow vehicular access for a development.

Some somewhat related articles from

Contrary to popular outside belief, the big HK property tycoons are not superb businessmen. They've come up in a system with a captive core-revenue generating mechanism which requires very little business acumen.

If they were good businessmen, they'd recognise that there's a clear and growing market demand for more environmentally aware developments. Better insulation, recycling facilities, centralized air-conditioning, use of sea-water for cooling, more effective use of internal space, and use of solar power for minor power use. These are all things which are just starting to be incorporated in commercial developments, and which should really be in residential developments.

There's a small market for developments which are more concerned about their impact on the environment. It will grow over time, if there are properties to cater for it. Unfortunately, the system is closed and there is no competition.

As Alice Poon says in her post, we need proper standards to force the developers to pay more attention to the damage they're causing. I don't think there's going to be much chance of this government bringing in such legislation though. Not when it would upset the only public they pay attention to: the tycoons.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on August 27, 2007 7:40 PM.

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