Seeing Hong Kong’s Growth from the Sidewalks

Kowloon at night

The opposite sides of the road in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district remind me of the beginning battle scenes from Braveheart. Masses of people stare at each other, waiting for just the right moment to move. When the crosswalk signal turns green, both sides make their move. Instead of crashing, the pedestrians deftly avoid bumping into the other people.

Crowds throughout the city are bigger than anywhere else I’ve ever been. The hordes of tourists at Times Square in New York seem sparse to the people in Hong Kong. Fellow city-state surpasses Singapore is the most densely populated nation in the world, while Hong Kong takes second place. Impressive considering much of Hong Kong is left to nature.

With Hong Kong now linked closely to mainland China, many mainlanders are staking a claim in Hong Kong. Property values are rising rapidly, and the economic impact can even be felt in the powdered milk market. According to Time:

Stocks of baby-milk powder have become alarmingly scarce in Hong Kong because of the activity of so-called gray-market traders from mainland border towns. They turn up in Hong Kong on multiple-entry tourist visas, often making several runs a day to buy up tins of formula from Hong Kong retail outlets and sell them back in the mainland, where the item commands a stiff premium.

The crowding problem will get worse before it gets better, but at the moment only about a quarter of Hong Kong is developed. The areas that are built up are teeming with dense sky rises. The newspapers I picked up while in the area reported the politicians are trying some half-baked (and half-hearted) measures to cool down the real estate markets that likely won’t do anything.

As the bubble grows, I’m just going to sit back and see how big Hong Kong can get. Â rapid economic development is something I haven’t been able to witness firsthand coming from a rural part of United States.






I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?