The mission of the Hong Kong-America Center is to promote understanding between Hong Kong and American societies through educational and cultural exchanges. In so doing, the Center advances cross-cultural understanding between Chinese and Americans over the bridge of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong-America Context
The Hong Kong-America relationship is deep and intricate. Thousands of families and individuals have woven together aspects of Chinese and American cultures in their lives in distinctive and creative ways. Today about 50,000 Americans live in Hong Kong, and 75,000 visit Hong Kong each year. About two thirds of all Chinese-Americans belong to families with close connections extending over several generations to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. 15,000 Hong Kong students study at American universities each year, and nearly a hundred thousand alumni have returned from America to work and thrive in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong-America bonds in business and commerce are fundamental. Over 1,100 American companies have offices in Hong Kong, which has long served as America’s commercial gateway to China. Despite the expansion of port cities on China’s coast opening to international trade, Hong Kong’s historic ties to American business and commerce help the city maintain its key position in East-West interchange in the WTO era. With two-way trade at more than US$ 25 billion each year, the United States is an enormous market for Hong Kong’s products and services. As America’s 15th largest trading partner, Hong Kong imports over US$ 15 billion in U.S. goods and services annually. Americans have made over US$ 21 billion worth of direct investments in Hong Kong, and much more in funds and portfolios. Hong Kong’s currency has been pegged to the U.S. dollar for twenty years.
In the fields of scientific, academic and cultural exchanges, Hong Kong’s close relationships with American centers of scholarship, research and innovation are important to its role as a major hub for high-tech business in Asia. Hong Kong people use English extensively, and their high intensity use of the Internet is vital to its role in cross-cultural communication across the Pacific. Many leaders in Hong Kong’s universities and arts institutions, educated in America, are now playing important roles in making this city one of Asia’s major academic and cultural centers.
Hong Kong’s relationship to the U.S. is important to its economic base, political future and cultural vitality. As America’s bridge to Asia, especially to China, Hong Kong is a unique “between-place” that helps Asians and Americans interpret their cultures to one another. Hong Kong fosters long-term relationships in commerce and culture that promote mutual understanding between Americans and Chinese in the 21st century. For its part, America is committed to supporting Hong Kong in making its “one country, two systems” relationship with China work for all parties.
As Hong Kong becomes more deeply integrated into China’s economy and society in the post-colonial era, Hong Kong’s connections with America will only grow in importance. Hong Kong’s closer relationship to the Pearl River Delta, for example, opens new opportunities for American businesses and universities to become more active in China. The forces of economic globalization and technological integration will draw the citizens of Hong Kong and America closer together, making mutual understanding more vital. Building and extending the bridges of commerce and culture with the United States is part of Hong Kong’s destiny as one of the world’s truly global cities.
The Hong Kong – America Center embodies the firm belief by the leaders of both societies in the enduring value of this unique relationship. The Center is committed to strengthening, diversifying and celebrating this relationship by promoting a new generation of exchanges that engage Hong Kong and American people in learning from each other.
We invite you to join us in this mission.