“I’m relatively sanguine about it. I don’t think it will get too much out of hand,” Hang Lung Chairman Ronnie Chan told CNBC’s “Managing Asia.”
“Twenty years ago, figuratively speaking, China was my height: 5″3. Today, China is 7″1. The U.S. is still 7″3. But would a 7″3 pick on a 7″1? The answer is probably no,” Chan said, noting that he believed China was “very rational” in its relations with the U.S.
As for whether the U.S. President Donald Trump would reciprocate the same level of rationality, Chan said that the “good people” working in the Trump administration were likely to bring about a positive effect.
Trump has softened his China rhetoric of late, reversing his earlier campaign pledge to label China a currency manipulator last month.
“At the end of the day, I don’t see U.S. and China relations go out of whack. There are some sore spots … but I think it’s manageable,” Chan added.
Hang Lung is one of Hong Kong’s biggest real estate developers, with commercial and residential properties in Hong Kong and the mainland. Chan, whose father founded Hang Lung in 1960, is known for being one of the more outspoken businessmen in Hong Kong.
While Chan acknowledged the credit crisis in China, he also said that China had been in a similar situation before and had managed to recover from it. He added that this was due to the Chinese government having ability to “administratively adjust” its economy.
“There will be ups and downs like everybody else, but that’s just the nature of the beast,” Chan said.
Going forward, Chan said he believed private consumption would pave the way forward for China. “If anything, … private consumption is going to be an increasingly important driver of the economy,” he said.
“You cannot rely on government investment forever and forever. At the end of the day, neither can you rely on exports too much because it’s not up to you when the rest of the world slows down.”