Speaking on Monday at a seminar where a central government delegation was explaining the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stated that Hong Kong’s development must be tightly linked to that of the Chinese mainland’s because this is the key to Hong Kong’s continued success. In other words, Hong Kong’s success is intertwined with that of the mainland.
As per Lam’s words, “We need to maintain our competitiveness and we need to achieve prosperity and stability. ... We will implement the overall jurisdiction of the central authorities over Hong Kong. We will integrate our development into that of the country.”
Speaking at the same event, the director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Luo Huining, also said it is important for Hong Kong to grasp the opportunities offered by the national development plan.
There is no doubt that Hong Kong’s economic potential at the national level has again won recognition under the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.
The outline of the nation’s latest economic blueprint pledged to continue supporting Hong Kong in lifting its status as a global financial, transportation and trade center. Economic diversification is certainly a key component of sustainable economic development in Hong Kong and elsewhere, and deeper economic integration with the mainland is the basis for guaranteeing the city’s present and future success.
The outline of the nation’s latest economic blueprint pledged to continue supporting Hong Kong in lifting its status as a global financial, transportation and trade center. Economic diversification is certainly a key component of sustainable economic development in Hong Kong and elsewhere, and deeper economic integration with the mainland is the basis for guaranteeing the city’s present and future success
Hong Kong is emerging from two rough years, with 2019 turning out to be one of its most traumatic periods because of the civil unrest. And 2020 and this year haven’t been any easier either because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I mentioned in “HKSAR to march on as a global fintech, trading hub” (China Daily Hong Kong Edition, May 21), while the SAR has benefited for decades as the gateway to the mainland, its role as such has diminished, given the gradual opening-up of the mainland economy. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean it won’t have an important economic role to play in future. It’s quite the opposite, actually.
Despite the last two challenging years, Hong Kong is as strong as ever. The SAR was ranked among the world’s top four financial hubs, according to the 29th Global Financial Index, and, more recently, we received good news from the SAR government, since, according to revised government figures released on Aug 13, Hong Kong’s economy is expected to grow by between 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent this year, compared with an earlier range of 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent, which means that the growth is considerably higher than initially expected.
The SAR government also raised its year-on-year GDP figure for the second quarter to 7.6 percent from an advanced reading of 7.5 percent, signaling a continuing economic rebound brought on by the easing of the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, Hong Kong went from recession to its fastest economic growth in more than 10 years — a revised figure of 8 percent.
It is true, though, that the uncertain evolution of the pandemic may hinder the recovery, but the situation looks good nonetheless, much better than it looked exactly one year ago
Now that the storm seems to be over or, at least, closer to its end, Hong Kong must take full advantage of the perfect combination provided by its status as one of the world’s most important financial hubs plus its designated role in the 14th Five-Year Plan to grow more and become stronger than it is.
How can Hong Kong do so?
Hong Kong should keep up its good work when it comes to further integrating into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, since Hong Kong’s future is not so much about remaining as the gateway to the mainland but mostly about keeping and enhancing its current status as one of the world’s most important financial centers by adopting the very economic initiatives that are relevant to the development blueprint for the Greater Bay Area.
Some of these initiatives are the Wealth Management Connect Scheme, and consequently Hong Kong becoming a Family Office Hub; the parallel development of fintech on the mainland and in Hong Kong; the digital yuan tests in Hong Kong and future deployment for cross-border transactions…
Besides, in the same way that, thanks to the Greater Bay Area, young Hong Kong people should be more open to the idea of studying, working, and starting businesses in the nine mainland-city cluster, especially Shenzhen, more people from the mainland will also be attracted to move to Hong Kong in order to leverage some of the Greater Bay Area-related opportunities.
To sum up, economic integration is the key for Hong Kong’s future success. While its role as the gateway to China has diminished, the special administrative region remains one of the world’s most important financial hubs and will remain so (or even increase its importance) thanks to its further integration with the mainland through many initiatives, such as the Greater Bay Area blueprint. Hong Kong’s potential has been once again recognized by Beijing in its 14th Five-Year Plan. In other words, Hong Kong’s future is linked to that of the mainland.
The author is a fintech adviser, a researcher, and a former business analyst for a Hong Kong publicly listed company.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS