Hong Kong is a metropolis on the move. Walk down its streets and a population of more than 7 million people surrounds you. Many locals spend their commutes consumed by the technology in their hands. It’s a global city that straddles both Asian and Western worlds.
The Hong Kong Experts
Gary Lim, ’08 (AXP-7), Managing Director, A.Plus International Financial Press Limited
Michael Sun, ’09, Investment Banker, GF Capital Hong Kong
Brian Tsui, ’11, Founder, DetourGuy
Peter Williams, ’10 (AXP-9), Director, business treasury, Asia Pacific region, Citi
Daniel Wu, ’10, Founding Member, FountainCap Research & Investment
Grace Zhang, ’16 (AXP-15), Partner, Newgate Communications
It’s also experienced profound growth. Since 1974, Hong Kong has seen an average of 5.3 percent annual growth in its GDP, and tens of millions of tourists visit each year. More than 7,600 skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, many with contemporary architectural designs, paint the city’s skyline, evidence of both cultural and financial advances. Leading high-end consumer brands have opened storefronts in the city, making it a shopping destination for the wealthy.
Hong Kong has networking nirvana. It has diversity, depth, and density.
Some 400 alumni call this former British colony home, and they’ll be the first to tell you: Hong Kong’s wealth extends far beyond its finances.
Out of all the cities in the world where Booth’s network is present, Hong Kong’s may be one of the strongest. “Hong Kong has networking nirvana,” said Peter Williams, ’10 (AXP-9), who leads the business treasury for Citi’s Asia Pacific region. “It has diversity, depth, and density. It’s very easy to get connected to a bunch of different professional, start-up, and creative communities with multiple events on most mornings or evenings. These are often centrally located, making it easy to attend up to three events in one night, and they don’t overlap.”
“One of the cool things about Hong Kong is that the school is here,” said Michael Sun, ’09, an investment banker at GF Capital in Hong Kong. “So students can interact with alumni, and alumni can interact with students.” Daniel Wu, ’10, a founding member of FountainCap Research & Investment, puts it another way. The alumni community in Hong Kong has graduates from each of Booth’s MBA programs, he said. “And they are all part of our community.”
As one of the world’s leading global financial and entrepreneurial centers, Hong Kong is an important location for Chicago Booth. The school has had a presence in Hong Kong since 2014, and it’s a presence that is expanding. Through partnerships and collaborations with the Education Bureau and numerous Hong Kong government agencies, the University of Chicago and Chicago Booth recently completed the town planning and related approval processes, and executed the land grant for the new University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong, located at Mount Davis.
The facility will be named the Francis and Rose Yuen Center in Hong Kong in honor of university trustee Francis Tin Fan Yuen, AB ’75, and his wife, Rose Wai Man Lee Yuen. The university also was awarded a $30 million grant from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The grant will lead to the creation of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Chicago Booth Academic Complex, housing Booth’s Executive MBA Program Asia, among other programs.
“I can’t wait for this new center to open. Booth’s position will definitely be enhanced with the new campus in Hong Kong,” said Gary Lim, ’08 (AXP-7), managing director at A.Plus International Financial Press Limited. “Hong Kong is a finance and business center for Asia. It lies on the crossroads between the rest of Asia and China—a cosmopolitan city with people from all over the world working and living here. The beautiful upcoming campus will make networking with alumni easier and more exciting,” Lim said.
The Adventurous Eater: Sai Kung Seafood Street
“If you’re adventurous enough, you can eat the fish heads” at Sai Kung Seafood Street, says Brian Tsui. Photo from Shutterstock.
The village of Sai Kung is known locally as “Hong Kong’s back garden,” because of its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. But the village has other unique attractions, such as Seafood Street. “After half an hour or an hour of picking your own seafood from gigantic water tanks, you tell the resaurant whether you want it steamed, fried, or sautéed, and then you have an awesome seafood meal,” said Brian Tsui, ’11, founder of trip styling network DetourGuy. “If you’re adventurous enough, you can eat the fish heads.”
The Daylong Boat Ride: A Junk Trip
According to Grace Zhang, ’16 (AXP-15), one of the things people shouldn’t miss when they visit Hong Kong in the summer is spending a day on the sea on a boat charter—known locally as junk boats. “Hong Kong is unique because there are a lot of things to do in nature,” said Zhang, a partner at Newgate Communications. “I would recommend a trip where you go to one of the remote islands, and where you can stop and do some water activities and hiking.”
The Hike: Hiking to Stanley Market
Ask the locals and they’ll tell you: the hiking in Hong Kong is incredible. Although there are numerous hiking trails throughout Hong Kong, Williams suggests visitors combine a hike with a visit to a well-known and popular market. “The Stanley Market is a small village and great for tourists,” he said. “A trip to Stanley and the various bays on the South introduces a side of Hong Kong that many may not expect—a Mediterranean vibe with bars, cafés, and restaurants on a collection of beaches and bays by the ocean.”
The former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower—adjacent to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre—is an unmistakable landmark in Tsim Sha Tsui, a bustling epicenter for Hong Kong nightlife. Photo from Shutterstock.
The Night Out: Tsim Sha Tsui
Located in the south of Kowloon Peninsula, Tsim Sha Tsui is one of the best areas to experience nightlife in Hong Kong, Sun said. This urban area is full of restaurants, high-end shopping, and a number of Hong Kong’s top museums. Visitors are also granted a fantastic view of the skyline and Victoria Harbour.
The Best Dim Sum: Fu Sing
Lim said that visitors and locals experience the full spectrum of dining in Hong Kong—from three-star Michelin restaurants such as 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (one of Lim’s personal favorites) to simple street food. But if you want the best dim sum in Hong Kong, Lim says you can’t miss Fu Sing, a restaurant chain with multiple locations. Lim frequents the one by his house in the trendy Sheung Wan neighborhood.
The Best Street Food: Wellington Street
“There are a lot of areas for street food,” Wu said. Among them all, Wu recommends Wellington Street, a one-way street located in the Central and Sheung Wan areas. But when you’re ordering street food in Hong Kong, don’t expect to linger after you order and get your food. “The pace here is very fast,” Wu said.
—By Brent White