Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 51st terms of office) October 2020
Hong Kong and Shenzhen seize the opportunities brought by reform and opening-up. The two cities will serve as the twin engine driving the construction of the Greater Bay Area and the realization of the country’s dual circulation strategy.
At the grand gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, President Xi Jinping clearly stated the strategic direction for advancing the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (Greater Bay Area). He especially called for efforts to synergize economic rules and mechanisms in the three regions. With their respective strengths which are highly complementary, Hong Kong and Shenzhen are set for all-round cooperation in the deepening of reform and opening-up.
Bringing cooperation to the next level
The Mainland government has been allowing Shenzhen greater autonomy in various strategic areas to support the city to implement reform and opening-up on a higher level. As Hong Kong and Shenzhen have laid the foundation for cooperation over the past few decades, the country’s policy is allowing the two cities to take their collaboration to the next stage.
Earlier this year, the Central Government promulgated the Opinion on Providing Financial Support for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. A cross-boundary “Wealth Management Connect” was also launched to foster financial development in the Greater Bay Area, which is expected to generate new business opportunities for the Hong Kong financial sector. Leveraging Shenzhen’s strengths in areas like technological and industrial innovation, Hong Kong can work with Shenzhen to position the two cities as a “catchment area” for drawing in global capital, professionals and skills.
Synergizing resources for innovation
With the country’s full support for them to enhance cooperation in the area of innovation and technology (I&T), Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao should consider setting up in the Greater Bay Area a joint committee to coordinate I&T policies, and a dedicated bank and fund to provide financial support for I&T and scientific research.
Meanwhile, the HKSAR government can strengthen cooperation with Shenzhen by building an open community for coordinated innovation in the region to promote sharing of innovation and entrepreneurship resources in the Greater Bay Area. The Hong Kong and Shenzhen authorities can also consider facilitating the approval of two-way cross-border flow of I&T funds through the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Loop, or even establishing a dedicated research fund in the Loop to provide subsidies for advanced technological research and start-ups. In addition, it may be sensible to facilitate the movement of I&T professionals by, for example, providing them with financial aid and special customs clearance lanes at the ports of entry.
Currently, Shenzhen has deployed enough 5G base stations to achieve full-scale 5G deployment. While Hong Kong must accelerate its own 5G deployment, and support businesses to expand 5G services, it should explore cooperation with Shenzhen on how to advance cross-border 5G technology application, and enable the implementation of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System in the area of information technology, so as to tap into the business opportunities arising from 5G development in the Greater Bay Area.
Intensifying youth exchange
President Xi also urged for efforts to strengthen the sense of belonging to the motherland among young people in Hong Kong and Macao by providing them with more opportunities to study, work and live in the Mainland. To this end, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen authorities can encourage exchange among their youths. The HKSAR government, for instance, can ask students to take part in a certain number of exchange tours in the Greater Bay Area and provide them with subsidies to do so, while businesses in Hong Kong and Shenzhen can promote exchange or even offer working opportunities to young employees from the other city to better prepare them for developing a career in the Greater Bay Area.
In the face of unprecedented changes in global politics and the world’s economy, it is critical that Hong Kong and Shenzhen seize the opportunities brought by reform and opening-up. By leveraging their strengths and complementing one another, the two cities will serve as the twin engine driving the construction of the Greater Bay Area and the realization of the country’s dual circulation strategy.