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Published: 00:13, November 25, 2022 | Updated: 09:43, November 25, 2022
Hong Kong writes a new chapter on the global stage
By Eliza Chan
Published:00:13, November 25, 2022 Updated:09:43, November 25, 2022 By Eliza Chan

Hong Kong’s return to regional and international prominence is being driven by advocacy of the new chief executive, the return of global events, the proximity and support of the Chinese mainland, and Hong Kong residents’ resilience, vitality and dynamism.

Despite ongoing global and regional uncertainties, Hong Kong is roaring back to the forefront of the global stage since the new Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government took office five months ago — showing its resilience and presenting renewed vitality and dynamism.

With our many strengths, and the support of the central government, the chief executive is steering the SAR government to advance work through three priorities: driving global connectivity with a series of world-class, international events; boosting long-term, sustainable growth through integration into national development; and reinforcing Hong Kong’s resilience to realize the full potential of our society in an evolving global economic landscape.

To that end, our chief executive, John Lee Ka-chiu, has in recent weeks been working hard to tell the best stories of Hong Kong to other regional leaders, including those in Southeast Asia. His debut at the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Thailand on Nov 18-19 was a perfect occasion to disseminate Hong Kong’s latest developments, prospects and opportunities to a wide audience.

After the APEC meeting, the chief executive remained in Thailand to lead a business delegation that will further deepen trade and cultural ties with the second-biggest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. With Thailand and other ASEAN countries also supporting Hong Kong’s membership of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the chief executive’s outreach on behalf of Hong Kong will cement our city’s status as a major market for Southeast Asian countries.

The HKSAR government is also working hard to reconnect Hong Kong with other parts of the world — while remaining mindful of the need to protect our residents from COVID-19. Targeted anti-pandemic arrangements have allowed us to respond to public feedback, most recently with special plans to welcome inbound tour groups.

This targeted approach has also set the scene for high-level international conferences, including the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit on Nov 1-3, and the Asia Summit on Global Health on Nov 10-11, which attracted senior representatives from leading global institutions. Hong Kong Legal Week from Nov 7-11 also attracted many international legal experts, which is a testament to Hong Kong’s unbound potential as an international legal and dispute resolution hub based on the rule of law and a robust constitutional framework.

Over the past decades, Hong Kong has continued to build on its unique and new advantages to advance continued growth in a fast-changing world. We must continue to treasure this positive momentum, put Hong Kong on the right path, grasp opportunities and grow with confidence. Together, we can usher in a new chapter for Hong Kong

What’s more, the HKSAR government’s balanced policymaking has also allowed the return of iconic global sporting events, including the Hong Kong Masters snooker tournament and Hong Kong Sevens, with the Hong Kong Cyclothon and Hong Kong Marathon yet to come. This growing number of major international events illustrates Hong Kong’s connectivity, its unique role and global appeal, which will promote national high-level opening-up. In sports particularly, it will also boost development of related industries across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, enhancing the region’s global influence. 

Aside from welcoming the world back to Hong Kong — and ever mindful of the powerful competitive advantage our proximity to the mainland gives us over rival cities — the SAR government is also committed to implementing the spirit of the “four proposals” put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. This means we will inject an impetus into economic growth, while tackling social issues, enhancing governance and safeguarding social stability.

In his recent Policy Address, the chief executive has intensified efforts to realize Hong Kong’s “eight centers” positioning as set out in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) through a comprehensive range of measures, with a view to establishing Hong Kong as a global hub for key traditional and emerging areas such as innovation and technology (I&T), trade, and legal services, in addition to its established status as an international financial center.

On the economic front, talent measures to strengthen postsecondary education for building a strong pool of talents to enable Hong Kong’s development into the proposed “eight centers”, and more cross-boundary recognition of qualifications, will be a powerful boost for Hong Kong’s competitiveness and facilitate further its integration into the national economy.

Other measures proposed in the Policy Address, including reindustrialization and R&D commercialization initiatives, and making the Northern Metropolis and Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park central to efforts to Hong Kong’s emergence as a global I&T hub, will also boost economic dynamism and vitality, while contributing to the coordinated development of the Greater Bay Area.

Recognizing the importance of enhanced governance, the chief executive signaled a focus on adopting a results-oriented approach in the Policy Address, which included 110 different key performance indicators to monitor progress and effectiveness of specific tasks. This commitment to put governance at the heart of policymaking and implementation is vital to ensuring strategic objectives are met at speed and scale.

None of this would be possible without the support of what have always been Hong Kong’s greatest strengths — the “Lion Rock spirit” and the mainland. Increasing competition in the global landscape means we must put attracting talents and enterprises on the top of the government’s agenda. The introduction of the Top Talent Pass Scheme and creation of a Talents Service Unit are welcome moves to strengthen Hong Kong’s appeal to global talent and businesses, and to drive sustainable, innovative growth of our economy.

Over the past decades, Hong Kong has continued to build on its unique and new advantages to advance continued growth in a fast-changing world. We must continue to treasure this positive momentum, put Hong Kong on the right path, grasp opportunities and grow with confidence. Together, we can usher in a new chapter for Hong Kong.

The author is a member of the HKSAR Executive Council.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily. 

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