How long will it take mainland China to absorb Hong Kong?

What do you mean absorb? Countries don ‘t absorb cities. Real life is more complicated than that.

Hong Kong is one of the cities in the Pearl River Delta that benefits from a special administrative status - Macau and Shenzhen are the others two. As the population in the delta is growing, cities are becoming more integrated with one another, forming a vast conurbation. Each pole of this urban system has different functions, that are evolving over time. According to these evolutions, administrative status will need to change as well, even though there is still no clear public plan about how it will happen.

Hong Kong still have many strategic advantages, mostly inherited from the British trade (International population, common law, banking industry, etc). The fear of being “absorbed” is somehow symptomatic of the absence of reflection about the future as a region. The PRD is likely to be one of the most influential area in the world for the decades to come. Which role should the city and culture of Hong Kong play in this project? And how? That is the question that should be asked.

This text was originally published in quora.

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