Overnight Getaway – The Concrete Forts of 開平 Kaiping

On the other side of the Pearl River Delta lies a place that tells remarkable stories about American-Chinese immigration, dreams of trade and entrepreneurship and the desire to be accepted. It is just a short trip away from Hong Kong and will leave you plenty of opportunities to enjoy your calm green short trip that you so much deserve.

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The Silicon Road – A New Path Across Eurasia

When archaeologists recently unearthed Roman glass dating back 1600 to 1900 years, the news went around the globe. But it does not come to a surprise that trade relations between Asia and Europe have been deep for a long time. In the amazing old town of Damascus, Syria one can still today get a feel of the prosperity that this trade brought to the ancient cities along the road. It still surpasses our understanding how much this trade influenced culture and societies on both sides of the continent. 500 years ago this route got blocked, and what seemed like an economic disaster forced people to literally look beyond their horizons and reinvent themselves. I am telling this story because it largely shaped the history of Hong Kong and Macau in particular, and gives us a better understanding of why Hong Kong is the way it is, and where trade might be heading to.

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Is it Legal?

The blog Big Lychee sums it up here here and here: If you don’t have an illegal structure in your home, there is something wrong with you. Maybe you have something to hide that you go through the painful and impossible process to legalize your amendments? Maybe you prepare for the long and slimy process of becoming Chief Executive Looter? Maybe you don’t actually live in Hong Kong, but bought your estate just for money laundering?
There is something seriously wrong with the way Hong Kong handles it’s building licensing. Though in effect Hong Kong has probably the most liberal and non-interventionist policy towards construction, everyone in Hong Kong is a criminal in the eyes of the authorities.
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The Best Free Views over Hong Kong

Skyscrapers not only make a beautiful and impressive skyline, they also provide great opportunities to view the city from high above. However, not all skyscrapers have public viewing platforms or are accessible, and some, like the Sky 100 in ICC charge a lot of money.
There are a couple of cheap opportunities to observe the bee hive from above.
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3km of Markets in Kowloon

As many most developed cities like New York City, London or Paris have long forgotten their long history of chaotic, low-regulated street markets, Hong Kong still allows hawkers, mongerers and chafferers to strive in some designated zones. Some particularly exciting ones stretch all the way from Mong Kok Stadium to Austin Road, featuring live animals, souvenirs, magic, stones and antiques.
Economically speaking these markets easily demonstrate econ 101. There are plenty of merchants and customers, nobody seems to have any abnormal market power, and because all shops are found in a small area, customers can easily compare prices, and competition is fierce. Margins are low, and the consumer seems to win, at least judging by the comparatively great deals you can get.
To find a more profitable niche, shops have to specialize, leading to a huge variety in products and services.
The market, however, is not as free as you might think. Just like in Taxi licensing, many problems come from the restrictive licencing of such markets. In many cases new licences have not been handed out since the 70s, and reform is not in sight.
I invite you on this stressful but rewarding journey through which you can buy literally anything that the endless factories of mainland China have to offer.

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