I've found that despite being labeled as a city firmly focused on "out with the old, in with the new," certain areas of Hong Kong still retain their old-world charm. These small cultural pockets -- neighborhoods of boutiques, artisanal bakeries, and independent coffee shops -- are helping to enrich the bourgeoning cultural scene.
Today, there is extra urgency behind the need for a shift toward innovation: many new financial services competitors that are small, nimble and on the cutting edge of technology entered the market right after the financial crisis, when established firms were busy licking their wounds. The old guard is going to need to stay on top of innovation just to keep up with the new guard.
About two years ago, I visited Hong Kong for the very first time and could not believe my eyes. Traveling from the dated, fraying JFK airport in NYC to the shining, efficient airport in Hong Kong, my world view was immediately changed: It was the U.S. that was a third-world country, and Asia was vivid.