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Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 16:17
HK urged to integrate into GBA to break through constraints
By Zhou Mo
Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 16:17 By Zhou Mo

Bernard Chan Pak-li, undersecretary for Hong Kong’s commerce and economic development, delivers a speech during the Greater Bay Area Cultural Heritage and Creative Innovation Conference, jointly organized by the Department of Art and Design, the Centre for Greater China Studies of the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, and China Daily, in Hong Kong, June 1, 2021. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) should capitalize on the vast Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area market to break through the limitations facing its cultural and creative development and seek better growth of the industry, officials and scholars said on Tuesday.

They made the call at the Greater Bay Area Cultural Heritage and Creative Innovation Conference, jointly organized by the Department of Art and Design, the Centre for Greater China Studies of the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, and China Daily. The two-day conference ended on Tuesday.

The HKSAR has advantages in a range of cultural and creative areas, including movies, TV, music, and design, and has great potential for development, said Bernard Chan Pak-li, Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.

The city is home to more than 40,000 cultural and creative industry-related enterprises, with over 200,000 practitioners, Chan said, adding that the industry’sadded value has hit HK$100 billion (US$12.9 billion), roughly 4 percent of the city’s gross domestic product.

As a important city in the Greater Bay Area with a vibrant, open and creative environment, Hong Kong can play a key role of ‘bringing in’ and ‘going out’. It not only can work together with mainland enterprises to explore overseas markets, but also can expand development space for its creative industry by integrating further into the mainland market.

Bernard Chan Pak-li, Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

However, a relatively small market size and shortage of land are hampering the industry’s development, Chan noted.

“Therefore, Hong Kong should seek coordinated development with other cities in the Greater Bay Area,” he said, adding that the 11-city cluster’s rapid economic growth, affluent population and high demand for culture and art will bring big opportunities to Hong Kong’s cultural and creative industry.

“As a important city in the Greater Bay Area with a vibrant, open and creative environment, Hong Kong can play a key role of ‘bringing in’ and ‘going out’. It not only can work together with mainland enterprises to explore overseas markets, but also can expand development space for its creative industry by integrating further into the mainland market,” Chan said.

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He added that the HKSAR government is ramping up efforts to promote development of the industry through two special projects–the Film Development Fund and the CreateSmart Initiative. The aim is to nurture startups and talent, help businesses expand market and foster cross-industry and trans-regional collaboration, Chan said.

Chan’s view were echoed by Simon Ho Shun-man, president of the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, who also believes that integration into the Greater Bay Area market is the solution to breaking through Hong Kong’s contraints in the development of its cultural and creative industry.

Ho pointed out that cooperation among Guangdong, the HKSAR and Macao in the field is “not that much and deep” at the present time. “Government, private sector, schools and industry can take this opportunity to enhance cooperation and unleash our potential,” he urged.

Zhou Li, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily Group and publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily Asia Pacific, delivers his welcome remarks during the Greater Bay Area Cultural Heritage and Creative Innovation Conference in Hong Kong, June 1, 2021. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

Zhou Li, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily Group and publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily Asia Pacific, said the Greater Bay Area has special cultural ethos, which is developed from its unique features. The three parties in the area -- Guangdong, the HKSAR, and Macao – share similarities in tradition and language, but have different economic systems and laws.

“Compared to (the time and effort invested in) urban construction, infrastructure and tech development, cultural construction of the Greater Bay Area could be a long expedition and constant efforts are needed,” he said.

Zhou believes there are three elements to be reckoned with when it comes to cultural and creative development.

First, to be open to the world, assimilate the excellent culture and civilization from other places in the world; second, harness the benefits of technology and circumvent its drawbacks; third, hold dear to the idea of (being) human-centred, he said.

(From left) Patrick Mok Kin-wai, assistant professor at The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong’s Department of Art and Design; Desmond Hui, conference convenor and founding head of the university’s Department of Art and Design; Zhou Li, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily Group and publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily Asia Pacific; Bernard Chan Pak-li, undersecretary for Hong Kong’s commerce and economic development; Simon Ho Shun-man, president of the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong; Kwok-kan Tam, Dean of Hang Seng University of Hong Kong’s School of Humanities and Social; Freeman Lau, secretary-general of Hong Kong Federation of Design Associations and Li Yao, news editor of China Daily Hong Kong and moderator of the conference, pose for a group photo, June 1, 2021. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

Tam Kwok-kan, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science at the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, emphasized the importance of education in the development of (a)  cultural and creative industry.

READ MORE: Mainland-HK-Macao joint ventures strike gold in GBA

The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong attaches high importance to creative education and its integration with the industry, and it has set up new subjects over the past few years to support its development, he said.

"The industry is currently promoting the establishment of new subjects to help develop cultural and creative industry in China and across Asia," he said.

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