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In mapping out his vision for Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying draws much of his inspiration from arguably the city's greatest rivals: London and New York.
Leung, the chief executive-elect of the special administrative region, said both cities are more advanced in several sectors - and that it is time to catch up.
The British capital offers key lessons on how Hong Kong can once again become a leading shipping hub, he told reporters recently.
"London, instead of shipping freight in and out of ports, offers services, including ship sales and rent, registrations, financing, management and insurance," said the 58-year-old, who studied valuation and estate management at Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of West England) in the 1970s.
These services offer greater economic value, he said. "If Hong Kong simply tries to double cargo throughput, it will expand its scale, but it will not take it to a higher level. We can do better than just expanding scale."
Hong Kong's ports used to be the busiest in the world, but that was before the rapid development of ports on the mainland.
Shanghai is now the world's largest port in terms of freight throughput.
Hong Kong's status as a world shipping center was being eroded, some feared.
China is now a major ship-building nation and it handles huge volumes of cargo so it needs a shipping center, and Hong Kong meets all the conditions, said Leung, who will start his five-year term on July 1.
Hong Kong's advantages include its multilingual workforce, international links and legal traditions, he said, adding that City University of Hong Kong has also established a research center for maritime and transportation law, and offers a master's degree in the field.