Innovation for Hong Kong's Upward Social Mobility

45 5.3 Social Mobility in Hong Kong 5.3.1 Although Hong Kong is an economically advanced city, its social mobility is far from satisfying. In the past few years, many government agencies in Hong Kong, including the Legislative Council, have conducted a series of statistics and studies on social mobility in Hong Kong, analyzing social mobility from the perspectives of family income, education level, career change and intergenerational mobility. The following are several important findings: 5.3.2 As Hong Kong’s economy has stagnated in recent years, its income mobility has declined rather than improved. The income mobility of a society depends on economic growth. Hong Kong’s economic growth has not performed well in the past decade, and the decline in economic growth has had a negative impact on income mobility. During the period from 1970 to 1996, Hong Kong’s economy benefited from the reform, opening up and successful economic transformation of Mainland China, and transformed from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, with an average annual GDP growth rate of 6.6%, and a gross income growth as high as 139%. However, from 1997 to 2013, due to a series of external shocks and lack of growth engines, the annual average growth rate of Hong Kong’s GDP fell to 3.5%, and the cumulative income growth was only 14%113. To make matters worse, due to turbulence brought about by large-scale social movements and the impact of COVID-19, Hong Kong’s economy has continued to decline since the second half of 2019. Given that Hong Kong’s latest GDP growth rate is only 2.9%, this means that Hong Kong’s income mobility will decline further. As Hong Kong’s economy and industrial structure have not changed significantly at present, it is expected that the income growth of Hong Kong residents will shrink further 114. 113 LegCo Secretariat (2015) “Social mobility in Hong Kong”, Research Brief Issues No.2 2014-15, pp 2-3. 114 FocusEconomics. “Hong Kong Economy - GDP, Inflation, CPI and Interest Rate.” FocusEconomics | Economic Forecasts from the World’s Leading Economists, January 2, 2014. 5 Upward Social Mobility