Mr YUEN Mo (Chairman of the 52nd terms of office) May 2021
By acting in concert with Greater Bay Area’s development direction and the country’s development framework, Hong Kong businesses will be able to find immense opportunities in the Greater Bay Area market.
Vice-Premier Han Zheng has recently called for earnest efforts to advance the building of a major cooperation platform for Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao to jointly push for new and greater progress in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area). Hong Kong’s institutional strengths and unique position allow it to complement and achieve synergy with other cities in the Greater Bay Area, and work hand in hand with them to seek policy innovation and breakthroughs for promoting deeper regional cooperation.
Creating a market-information-sharing platform
CGCC has provided numerous recommendations on ways to deepen cooperation between businesses from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and to create more room for development in the Greater Bay Area. In a survey conducted early this year among our members, half of the respondents said they were already participating in the Greater Bay Area market, while nearly 40% are planning to expand their businesses there or venture into the market. We do, however, notice that many Hong Kong businesses do not have sufficient understanding of the business environment in the Greater Bay Area. In this regard, we hope the HKSAR government can make information on the market’s development available to facilitate investments in the Greater Bay Area by Hong Kong businesses, and by overseas and Mainland businesses through Hong Kong.
Strengthening cooperation in finance
The “14th Five-Year Plan” proposes to deepen and expand the mutual access between the Mainland and Hong Kong financial markets, to promote liberalization measures for Hong Kong with respect to the finance sector in the Greater Bay Area, and to support Hong Kong to develop special financial products and services and into a green finance center in the Greater Bay Area. These proposals are favorable to bolstering Hong Kong’s position as the global hub for offshore RMB business.
The HKSAR government can study the possibility of further simplifying the procedures for reviewing and approving applications from businesses based in the Greater Bay Area for listing in Hong Kong for capital financing. Meanwhile, other governments in the Greater Bay Area can consider lifting some of the restrictions on Hong Kong’s financial institutions to access their markets. As we expect the launch of the cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect in the second half of this year, the concerned authorities can explore the feasibility of further relaxing the restrictions on the opening of cross-boundary investment accounts to provide a convenient new investment channel for the residents of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
Deepening coordinated development in innovation and technology
Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission announced that it is setting up a special fund from the central government’s budget for direct investments in the nine Mainland cities across the Greater Bay Area to back projects in areas like innovation and technology (I&T) and infrastructure, with priority given to those I&T and start-up platforms featuring prominent Hong Kong and Macao elements. In addition to enriching capital sources in the Greater Bay Area, the policy stimulates international and non-government investments and further enhances the development of the I&T ecosystem in the Greater Bay Area. In particular, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments can advance policies supporting the development of the Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop to promote deeper integration of the ecological chain of the I&T industry in the two cities.
Meanwhile, we hope the nine Mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area can remove the barriers for Hong Kong enterprises to apply for their I&T funding, encourage universities and research institutions from Hong Kong to participate in scientific research projects in the area, and consider opening the Internet and data services market in the Greater Bay Area for the participation of Hong Kong businesses. The HKSAR government can also line up other governments in the Greater Bay Area to set up a dedicated fund to support start-ups to operate in the area, provide offices and other ancillary facilities, and strengthen efforts to attract scientific research talent to work in the area, such as by offering them benefits and preferential treatments like speedy immigration clearance.
Facilitating essential cross-boundary movement
In light of the alleviation of the COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong, CGCC welcomes the government’s move to extend the “Return2hk” Scheme to other Mainland provinces and municipalities, and to launch the “Come2hk” Scheme that will allow non-Hong Kong residents staying in Guangdong and Macao to come to Hong Kong without being subject to compulsory quarantine requirements. We hope the authorities will announce the implementation details as soon as possible, and that it will discuss with the Mainland authorities on creating “business travel bubbles” for people from both sides that have the need to cross the border to do so without having to undergo compulsory quarantine.
In summary, the building of the Greater Bay Area, which is an important strategy for the country in its endeavor to deepen reform and opening-up, promises tremendous potential. Hong Kong and Macao enjoy close ties with the Mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area. By acting in concert with the region’s development direction and the country’s development framework, Hong Kong businesses will be able to find immense opportunities in the Greater Bay Area market.