More than a million people live in poverty in Hong Kong, a city best known for its big banks and glitzy shops. As Tara Joseph reports, high costs and low wages are denting the spirit of Asia's world City, where experts say the wealth gap is the highest in the developed world.
Behind Hong Kong's glittering banks and luxury shops a very different reality for more than a million people living below the poverty line. Experts say this town's rich poor gap is bigger than any other developed nation in the world. And warn that it's still widening as wages sit at rock bottom and housing prices soar. Today the city's 18 richest people sit on a collective 1.4 trillion dollars. While a seventh of the population struggle just to get by. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER IN HONG KONG, TARA JOSEPH, SAYING: "This city earned its reputation for its can do spirit - thousands of people crossing over the border from China throughout its history and building business empires. No one more famous than Li ka-shing, who started making plastic flowers and built one of the world's biggest conglomerates. But that can do spirit is now evaporating. More and more people are barely able to pay the rent." Wong Zi Wa lives in a cubicle. He's unemployed and pays 100 dollars a month in rent for what is called a "bed space" apartment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNEMPLOYED MAN, WONG ZI WA, SAYING: "Housing prices in Hong Kong are extremely high, many people cannot afford an apartment. As I am over 60 now, it's hard for me to get a new job. " Hong Kong's unpopular government has made promises to tackle the expensive cost of housing. But it's made little headway over the past several years. Rents and home prices here are among the highest on the planet. Critics say economics is one of the main causes of this city's growing social unrest.... A recent surveys shows growing pessimism among younger people who are looking for a way up - or out - of a town known as Asia's World City.