Re-branding without re-developing: Constraints of Hong Kong's 'Asia's World City' brand (1997-2007)

Xu Hui Simon SHEN

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Interest among academics towards Hong Kong's global status has gradually waned since 1997. However, identifying Hong Kong's position on the international platform is essential if the Special Administrative Region's competitiveness is to be distinguished from that of regional rivals. The positioning challenge not only results from the sovereignty retrocession, but also from the rapid pace of globalization and the intensified competition from major cities in the Greater China Region. Instead of focusing on the much-researched topic of the direct competition between Hong Kong and Shanghai or Singapore, an exploration of Hong Kong's hitherto little-researched re-branding experience not only throws light on Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's policy orientation, but is also valuable in understanding how other cities in the region conducted similar exercises. This article reviews the overall evolution of the 'Asia's World City' (AWC) discourse as promoted by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from 1997 to 2007. It starts by reviewing the international identity of post-colonial Hong Kong as background to the discourse, in order to reconstruct various theoretical assumptions that led to the re-branding exercise. The second section examines the purpose and evolution of the AWC campaign, and identifies the problems within the discourse. The concluding section focuses on the unrealized theoretical assumptions and other administrative and ideological constraints that the HKSARG faced in the exercise as a means to explaining the overall limited achievements of the campaign and proposes possible ways to remedy the shortcomings. Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-224
JournalThe Pacific Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


Shen, S. (2010). Re-branding without re-developing: Constraints of Hong Kong's 'Asia's World City' brand (1997-2007). The Pacific Review, 23(2), 203-224.


  • City-positioning
  • Constructivism
  • Foreign relations
  • Hong Kong
  • Asia's world city
  • China


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