Dr David Y K WONG
Honorary University Fellow (2018)
Dr. David Y K Wong was born and bred in Hong Kong to a family with strong and cherished links to Hong Kong Baptist University. His father, Dr Wong Po-yan, was Chairman of the Council and Board of Governors of the Hong Kong Baptist College from 1987 to 1989 and instilled in his son distinguished service to our University as a family tradition.
Dr David Wong took his BA in Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison followed by MA and PhD degrees in Economics at the University of Chicago. While the Chicago School of Economics is known for its “free market” tradition pioneered by Milton Friedman and George Stigler, what really made a lasting impact on Dr Wong about the Chicago School is the rigor of its scholarship, and the conviction that neoclassical price theory is eminently relevant, and not just in explaining economic phenomenon, but also the whole spectrum of social issues.
In that vein Dr Wong was particularly influenced by Professor and Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, who pioneered the application of economic analysis to issues such as discrimination, marriage, and the family, areas that were previously considered outside the realm of economics.
Rigorous economic training has certainly served Dr Wong well over the years, not just in business but also in public service. But as much as Dr Wong believes that crafting the right incentives in guiding desirable individual behaviour is key to good public policy making, he also believes that public policy should reflect empathy for the disadvantaged and the prevailing norms of social justice.
Based on these convictions, Dr Wong has contributed directly to impactful social and economic reforms. For example, as the Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA), Dr Wong has tried to lower fees while making investment choices easier for scheme members by implementing a Default Investment Strategy, which makes it easy for the uninitiated to manage their portfolio, all subject to a lower fee cap. Dr Wong is currently overseeing the ambitious technology conversion of massive dataflows, much of it still processed in hard-copy, to a state-of-the-art “eMPF” online processing and data management system. Moreover, Dr Wong has also implemented sustained public outreach campaigns at the MPFA to help scheme members manage their retirement savings more effectively. This has resulted in greater overall transparency and effectiveness of the MPF system.
Another notable example: as the President of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong (CMA), Dr Wong’s own research and leadership was widely credited for helping to overcome what was heretofore considered an insurmountable obstacle: namely, the bringing together of employers and labour unions in order to forge a lasting consensus on the proposed minimum wage ordinance. In this case, Dr Wong’s tact and experience as a community leader—he is well-respected on committees for giving a fair and even-handed hearing to just about every reasonable opinion—helped to seal a compromise that balanced the interest of all parties.
Clearly, Dr Wong possesses that rare ability to reach across the aisle when forging shared and committed working relationships—among small- and medium sized business owners as well as magnates, workers as well as industrialists, academics as well as professional bodies, elected officials as well as everyday citizens. His work as a distinguished leader in business has accordingly resulted in quite refined, and yet exceedingly impactful, outcomes; and, always, his astuteness when delivering complex ideas has been conveyed with a common touch and a pleasant manner. Such attributes have resulted in his having received many accolades over the years, not least among these being the prestigious award for public service, the Gold Bauhinia Star, which was awarded to him by the HKSAR Government in 2017.
Finally, for all of his many duties in public service, Dr Wong has always kindly and readily assisted the University in various and meaningful capacities across the past decade, including serving terms on the Council and Court, on the Board of Governors of the HKBU Foundation and its Entrepreneur Committee, and in several other roles. Buoyed by an abiding love for Hong Kong, Dr David Y K Wong is a cherished member of the HKBU family and an exemplary candidate for the Honorary University Fellowship.