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Our cultural assets worth weight in gold
2002-12-20
Hong Kong is facing economic restructuring, which, according to Chang, is closely related to the promotion of Chinese culture.

He said that before the onset of knowledge-based economies, a man of culture had to also be a man of wealth. However, with the progress of society, more and more people are enjoying the right to knowledge. Under the present knowledge-based economy, wealth is not the prerequisite to culture. On the contrary, culture can generate wealth.

Those who have finished secondary school or university education in Hong Kong can normally have mastered both Chinese and English. This skill itself is a rich cultural asset. Mainlanders generally beat Hongkongers in the Chinese language but are not as good in English.

Furthermore, Hong Kong has better connections with the international community than the mainland. This is also a cultural asset that is vital in developing culture-related industries.

In the US, Donald Duck has developed from a cartoon character into a cultural asset and heritage. Whoever wants to manufacture a Donald Duck toy or use the Donald Duck image has to pay royalties.

China has its share of cultural assets such as the White Snake and the Monkey King but did not know how to capitalize on them. Now all Chinese people know about Donald Duck and have tasted hamburgers, but very few foreigners have knowledge about the White Snake and Monkey King. That means the Chinese people have not yet been able to commercialize their cultural assets.

The cultural industry cannot develop solely on the accretion of history. It also needs organizational development and operation. This is what Hong Kong can do.

(From Chinadaily.com)
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