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More HK People Work on Mainland

The number of Hong Kong residents working on the Chinese mainland has grown 20 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest survey of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government.

Tuesday's South China Morning Post reported that 238, 200 Hong Kong residents worked north of the border at some point in the 12 months leading up to the poll, which was carried out from January to March.

That amounts to 7.4 percent of the Hong Kong workforce.

In 2002, 198,100 people said they worked on the mainland.

The latest figures illustrate the growing integration between the two.

Terrence Chong Tai-leung, associate professor of economics at Chinese University of Hong Kong, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that it is unavoidable that people will go to the Chinese mainland because the two economies are integrating.

"Especially those in the banking and accounting industry, they have to go to the mainland to check the firms," said Chong.

The Hong Kong SAR government surveyed 11,000 households for its report, but did not count people who traveled to the mainland for meetings or inspections or to attend trade fairs or work-related entertainment.

The figures show that the typical cross-border workers is male, highly educated and relatively well paid.

Nearly 80 percent of those who said they had to work on the mainland are men. About 35 percent have a post-secondary education, compared with 28 percent for the total Hong Kong workforce.

The median rate of pay is 15,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$1,923) a month, compared with 10,000 Hong Kong dollars for the entire workforce.

The median age for Hong Kong residents working over the border is 41 years, compared with 38 years for the workforce as a whole. The SAR government attributes this to the fact that older workers have "more substantial working experience."

The type of work they do on the mainland is also skewed to the higher end, with 39 percent working as professionals and associated professionals, and 37 percent as managers and administrators. The respective figures for Hong Kong's workforce are 24.4 percent and 8.5 percent.

(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2004)

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