A first master’s programme taught in Chinese focuses on the Belt and Road and Greater Bay Area economic initiatives
The Belt and Road initiative and planned economic developments in the Greater Bay Area are in the spotlight in Hong Kong and have attracted the interest of investors around the world. Businesses and governments can see the potential, with many already indicating they are keen to take part in upcoming projects.
However, there are also new opportunities for universities and other educational institutes, which are proactively stepping up related research efforts and introducing programmes to offer training and insights for professionals and academics looking to specialize in this area.
As one of Asia’s leading liberal arts universities, Lingnan recently launched a new Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MIDE). It is the first such master’s programme in Hong Kong taught mainly in Putonghua and focuses on the Belt and Road initiative and economic development in the Greater Bay Area of South China.
The course is available in two modes - one-year, full-time or two-year, part-time - and is designed to give students interdisciplinary training in economics and finance, while also allowing them to explore particular subject interests and gain new insights into the latest social, political and environmental developments.
China as a role model
“Lingnan has organized a number of talks and seminars on the Belt and Road initiative over the last few years and noted the general level of interest,” says Professor Wei Xiandong, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and MIDE programme director. “Many people are looking for fundamental knowledge of the economic drivers and the international policies now at work to help them analyze what’s happening and the underlying trends. Therefore, we decided to launch this programme to give students a better understanding of the policy framework and help them find new opportunities in the years to come.”
Noting China’s rapid rise from developing country status to now being the world’s second-largest economy, Professor Wei emphasizes other countries, particularly in the Belt and Road region, may well see the mainland as a successful role model.
“It has been said that in order to gain a fortune, one first has to build a road,” says Professor Wei, who is also a director of the China Economic Research Programme and of the Pan Sutong Shanghai-Hong Kong Economic Policy Research Centre. “When the infrastructure is well established, we can attract more investment, and thus more economic advancement. Infrastructure is the first step and, therefore, will play a key role in the overall initiative.”
More than economic advancement
He suggests that many of today’s developing countries have difficulty achieving favorable economic growth because their markets are not open enough or too many regulations and government controls impede progress.
“China had the same issues once before. But establishing special economic zones and free trade zones helped to open up the economy at a steady rate. Within those zones, trade was relatively free and regulations were loosened, making it possible to attract foreign companies and overseas investments.”
Professor Wei foresees many “special zones” in countries within the Belt and Road region in the years ahead and predicts that they will contribute significantly to both economic and social development. History shows that economic growth creates opportunities for people to improve their lives, and a greater sense of stability provides the basis for a more harmonious society.
The role of Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s geographical position and its status as an international financial center mean it can expect to play a major role in both the Belt and Road and the Greater Bay Area initiatives. The city has long been a “middleman” facilitating trade and other exchanges between China and the rest of the world. Professor Wei suggests that role can further evolve, supporting the ongoing flows of investment, products, data and specialist expertise.
He cautions, though, that Hong Kong must be open-minded and adventurous to capitalize fully on these opportunities.
“In the past, our focus was China, but now we are in a position to explore the Middle East, South Asia and even countries in Africa. It takes in-depth knowledge and understanding to engage with less familiar areas and help to build a bridge to China.”
Experienced faculty and experts
The team teaching the MIDE programme includes experienced scholars from Lingnan’s Department of Economics, as well as renowned international experts and leaders of China-related enterprises. In addition, the China Economic Research Programme and the Pan Sutong Shanghai-Hong Kong Economic Policy Research Centre have signed on as programme partners, ensuring students will gain a thorough understanding of policy developments and objectives.
The MIDE programme is mainly intended for executives of leading companies and state-owned enterprises, civil servants, and professionals working in relevant sectors. What they learn about policy and economics will help them perform their jobs more effectively and thus enhance their career aspirations.
Those who work in foreign investment and policy studies will find the course improves their analytical skills and provides a good platform for meeting and networking with professionals from different backgrounds.
Lingnan has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Faculty of Business at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (GSCASS) to jointly offer a double master’s degree.
All MIDE graduates may apply for the postgraduate course at GSCASS and will receive exemptions for up to half the required credits once they are successfully enrolled. In this way, students can obtain a second master’s degree from GSCASS.
Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MIDE) is the first taught master programme in Hong Kong that is mainly instructed in Chinese Mandarin* and specializes in the Belt and Road Initiative and Economic Development (Particularly regarding economic development in the Bay Area). The programme aims to provide students with interdisciplinary training mainly in the fields of economics and finance. The design of this programme also allows students to explore their subject interests and gain insight into the latest economic, financial, social, political and environmental developments in areas along the Belt and Road Initiative and various Bay Areas from different perspectives.
The launch of the Master of Science in International and Development Economics Programme is determined to nurture professionals who are in the fields of finance, banking, commerce and trading services, public services, academic research and other professional services, and individuals who are interested in developing their careers especially in participating countries in the Belt and Road Initiative and different Bay Areas. Likewise, it is hoped that this programme will provide foreign students with a deeper understanding of China’s development and will offer them a chance to comprehensively understand the opportunities for future development in China. Thus, the programme will help students realize their full strength and gain a competitive advantage in the Chinese marketplace.
Apart from offering regular lessons, Master of Science in International and Development Economics Programme also:
- Regularly invites renowned professional leaders in various industries and diplomats in mainland China/ Hong Kong to share the latest regional development in their expertise.
- Provides students with fieldwork opportunities to visit different regions along the Belt and Road Initiative and Bay Areas (in particular regarding the Free Trade Zone) in China.
- Offers internship opportunities at enterprises and companies.
The Programme integrates theory with practical experience and is suitable for applicants who have business experience.
Graduates of MIDE may apply for the dual-degree programme which is jointly co-launched with the Faculty of Business, Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
* Some courses may be provided in Chinese or English depending on the student’s demand.
Each student should complete 30 credits (This means ten 3-credit courses must be completed) before graduation, including 5 required courses and 5 elective courses in 3 categories.
Required (5 required courses, each course consists of 3 credits and 15 credits in total):
- Microeconomics for Development
- Macroeconomics for Development
- Development Economics
- International Trade
- Current Issues in International and Development Economics
Electives (A student must choose 5 courses from 3 categories of courses, but at least one course must be chosen from each category. Each course consists of 3 credits. Therefore, a total of 15 credits must be completed.):
International Cluster (at least two courses)
- International Money and Finance
- Globalization and Economic Development
- China and World Economy
- International Political Economy
Development and Related Cluster (at least two courses)
- The Belt and Road Initiative: History, Politics, Economy and Society
- China’s Regional Economic Development
- Political Economy of Economic Development
- Environmental Issues and Sustainable Development
Methodology Cluster (at least one course)
- Research Methods
- Financial Econometrics I
- Financial Econometrics II
This programme mainly uses Chinese as a medium for teaching and assessment, supplemented with English. Students can also opt to submit their reports or answers to exam questions in Chinese. Some courses may be provided in Chinese or English depending on the student’s demand.
Each student should complete 30 credits and the cumulative GPA for graduation shall not be below 2.67 to graduate.
- Local students: HK$110,000
- Non-local students: HK$170,000
Maximum 3 partial tuition fee scholarship will be offered for the best candidates. All students admitted to the programme will be automatically qualified for the award of scholarships.
To be eligible for entry into this programme, each applicant should have:
- a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university normally with honors not lower than Second Class; OR
- graduated from an honors programme of a recognized university with a Bachelor’s degree, normally achieving an average grade of not lower than “B” in undergraduate courses;
- completed a course of study in a tertiary educational institution and obtained professional or similar qualifications equivalent to an honors degree.
If applicants whose bachelor's degree is obtained from an institution where the medium of instruction is not English, applicants are required to submit an English proficiency test scores (eg. IELTS, TOEFL, CET6) or other equivalent qualifications in English.
Applicants whose first language is not Chinese may be invited to attend an admission interview provided by the Admission Committee.
Applicants will be given first priority to be considered if their CVs and interviews demonstrate leadership skills and show at least 10 years of working experience.
*Applicants holding an ‘equivalent qualifications’ and with relevant experiences may be invited to attend an admission interview.