Contested Terrain: Hong Kong’s International Telecommunications on the Eve of 1997

  • Milton Mueller
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


In July 1997 British sovereignty over Hong Kong will end. Political control of the territory will revert to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The handover of sovereignty from a western, capitalist, colonial government to an authoritarian Chinese socialist government is a momentous historical event. Hong Kong is of great strategic significance to the regional economy, and particularly fascinating from the standpoint of a student of society. Social scientists might approach it as if they were astronomers observing some distant supernova, whose behaviour provides vital clues to the nature of the universe. By presenting such an extreme case of political transition, Hong Kong makes unusually visible the political components of economic order.


Telecommunication Service Telecommunication Industry International Telecommunication Most Favour Nation Telephone Company 
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  1. 1.
    See Yun-Wing Sung, The China-Hong Kong Connection: The Key to China’s Open-Door Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    See for example Alfred Kahn, The Economics of Regulation: Principles and Institutions, Vol.2 (New York: Wiley, 1971) p. 123. Also see Milton Mueller, ‘The Switchboard Problem: Scale, Signaling and Organisation in the Era of Manual Telephone Switching, 1878–1898’ in Technology and Culture, Vol.30, No.3, pp.534–60.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Some of the key literature redefining services as trade include Geza Feketekuty, International Trade in Services: An Overview and Blueprint for Negotiations (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger-AEI, 1988); Phedon Nicolaides, Liberalising Trade in Services (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1989); Jonathan F. Aronson and Peter F. Cowhey, When Countries Talk: International Trade in Telecommunications Services (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1988).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Wong Man-Him, ‘Government’s Role in Information Technology: A Case Study of the Deregulation of the Hong Kong Telephone Services’, M.Soc.Sci. Dissertation, University of Hong Kong, 1985. The acronym PBX stands for private branch exchange — a private telephone switching system usually located at the customer’s premises.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    For a more complete analysis of the Cable and Wireless monopoly, see Milton Mueller, International Telecommunications in Hong Kong: the Case for Liberalisation (Hong Kong: the Chinese University Press for the Hong Kong Centre for Economic Research, 1992).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milton Mueller

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