Published: 19:20, March 24, 2023 | Updated: 19:29, March 24, 2023
CUHK: HK needs 'competitive positioning' to unleash strengths
By Zhang Tianyuan

Laurie Pearcey, associate vice-president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, poses for a photo at his office at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on March 24, 2023 (ZHANG TIANYUAN / CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong’s concentration of globally ranked, competitive universities in a common law jurisdiction with 7 million people positions the city at the forefront of the world, making it an unparalleled educational hub amid an economic revival in the post-pandemic era, said Laurie Pearcey, associate vice-president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

A recent university ranking report released Wednesday by the United Kingdom-based education information firm Quacquarelli Symonds confirms Pearcey’s vision: 56 percent of the programs offered by local universities in the special administrative region are listed among the top 100 globally, solidifying Hong Kong’s position among the world’s leading higher education powerhouses.

As Hong Kong regains its foothold in the global economy after surviving the most challenging period in its 150-year history, Pearcey said the city’s historical resilience and critical role in linking the mainland to the global economy are again taking center stage, which will attract high-end professionals

ALSO READ: National element a ‘priority’ in tweaking HK’s education system

The figures go beyond mere rankings. Pearcey, CUHK’s vice-president for external engagement and outreach, sounded an upbeat note about the role played by top-notch academies in strengthening the city’s competitive position and its status as a global leader in cultivating exceptional talent to drive economic growth and social upgrading.

“Hong Kong needs to be clear about its competitive positioning,” he said during an interview with China Daily Hong Kong, adding that the city boasts a high number of universities “comfortably” ranked within the global top 100, and its prowess in fueling a new round of economic growth locally and regionally would be further highlighted if the number of top-notch educational institutions were evaluated on a per capita basis. 

“If you consider the size of our population, there is no other jurisdiction on earth that can compete with the number of highly ranked institutions that we have here in Hong Kong,” he noted, while calling for clarity on the city’s competitive edge to promote its unique strengths and opportunities as the gateway between the Chinese mainland, the world’s second-largest economy, and the rest of the world, especially the West and the Middle East.

With Hong Kong reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and grinding anti-government protests, its international talent pool is in dire need of good news. A slew of initiatives aimed at enticing migrant professionals to move to or to return to the SAR was rolled out, including relaxed visa requirements and the Top Talent Pass Scheme.

ALSO READ: Officials: HK unis should take up role in building GBA

As Hong Kong regains its foothold in the global economy after surviving the most challenging period in its 150-year history, Pearcey said the city’s historical resilience and critical role in linking the mainland to the global economy are again taking center stage, which will attract high-end professionals. The momentum is gaining strength but the process will take time, he said.   

Hong Kong has undergone a tumultuous journey over the last century and a half, as it evolved from a small fishing village into a bustling global financial hub. Despite facing various challenges such as wars and pandemics, Pearcey remarked, “Hong Kong has always reemerged as the most important platform for the Chinese mainland’s engagement with the rest of the world.”

In talking about retaining overseas professionals who graduate from local universities, the education chief emphasized the significance of providing promising career pathways for fresh graduates to embark on a life trajectory of success and self-fulfillment. Pearcey said he believes abundant internship and employment opportunities will enable the city to establish itself as a global destination that attracts students from all corners of the world who will eventually find their lifelong success in the city of vitality and victory. 

The turnaround in growth in the global financial hub’s economy is bound to be a positive factor, unleashing the demand for technology and innovation professionals worldwide, Pearcey said. 

READ MORE: Tackling issues plaguing HK education sector should be policy priority

“The diversification of the Hong Kong economy that’s taking place right now, I think will mean that more people will consider pursuing employment pathways here in Hong Kong,” he said.


tianyuanzhang@chinadailyhk.com