Greater Bay Area: HK leader floats joint policies with Shenzhen to create hi-tech and innovation regional hub

21-Oct-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has suggested joining forces with Shenzhen authorities to lure overseas talent and investors under a “joint policy package” aimed at creating a regional hi-tech and innovation hub.

Closer cooperation would allow Hong Kong to better use its unique position under the “one country, two systems” policy, she told local Chinese media, as she rejected concerns the financial hub could be swallowed up by its mainland neighbour as the Greater Bay Area vision for southern China became a reality.

Lam is expected to fly to Beijing later this month to lobby support from ministers for policies aimed at reviving Hong Kong’s economy, which has been hammered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Communist Party elites are preparing for the fifth plenum which will chart the nation’s political and economic direction for the five years, with the meeting to run from next Monday to Thursday.

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Lam said closer cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen would lead to “a synergy by which one plus one will be greater than two”.

In hi-tech development, Hong Kong had an edge in R&D and upstream research, while Shenzhen excelled at technology transfer, allowing ideas to mature into new products, she said.

She raised the idea of a “joint policy package”, listing the advantages of each city in attracting overseas talent.

“[We] join forces to roll out our best to attract talent and capital, so that Shenzhen and Hong Kong can make contributions to the Greater Bay Area strategy,” Lam was quoted as saying by Wen Wei Po on Monday. “If we succeed, we can radiate [the success] to other parts of the Greater Bay Area.”

The financial hub’s role in the plan to link up 11 southern Chinese cities and create a regional powerhouse was thrown into doubt when Shenzhen was touted by Chinese President Xi Jinping as the engine of the plan during his visit to the special economic zone last week.

The mainland city was given a further boost on Sunday when the National Development and Reform Commission unveiled a package of 40 reforms to strengthen its financial profile and role as a hi-tech leader in the region.

But Lam dismissed worries over Hong Kong, saying closer integration would not affect the one country, two systems policy that guaranteed it a high degree of autonomy from the mainland.

The city could also find ways to benefit from the tensions between Washington and Beijing, which had resulted in some “unreasonable measures” against Chinese companies and professionals.

“It is a good opportunity to attract [talent and firms] to return, to be listed here,” she told Wen Wei Po. “We can also attract research talent at American universities to come to Hong Kong or Shenzhen.”

Lam also acknowledged the land shortage problem in Hong Kong but dismissed an idea put forward by some think tanks of reclaiming land for housing around Guishan Island, which sits 2km south of Lantau and is administered by the mainland. Lam said she had not heard of any such plan by Beijing and such a proposal would run counter to mainland authorities’ environmental policies.


Category: Hong Kong

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