From: 101 East

Hong Kong: Bridging the wealth gap

Will a minimum wage help address the worsening gap between the rich and poor in Asia?

Hong Kong is one of Asia’s richest cities, but it also has the region’s largest wealth disparity, with some 18 per cent of the population living below the poverty line.

The government hopes to narrow the territory’s income gap with a mandatory minimum wage for workers next year.

But opinion is divided on whether setting a wage floor will help or harm workers as well as the overall economy.

But critics say this will not solve the poverty issue and may have a disastrous effect on the world’s freest economy.

They argue that in an economy so dependent on small and midsize enterprises, employers operating on tight profit margins may need to lay off workers. 
On this edition of 101 East, we ask if Hong Kong’s minimum wage can bridge the wealth divide.

Joining the programme are Simon Wong, from the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, and Lee Cheuk Yan from the HK Confederation of Trade Unions.

This episode of 101 East airs from Thursday, November 11, 2010 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230, 2330; Friday: 0630; Saturday: 0030, 1930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 0830; Tuesday: 0730, 1430; Wednesday: 0300.