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Friday, March 15, 2019, 13:06
HK deputy: Bay Area, Yangtze Delta are hand in glove
By Chai Hua
Friday, March 15, 2019, 13:06 By Chai Hua

Andrew Yao Cho-fai, chairman of Hong Kong Shanghai Alliance Holdings and a Hong Kong deputy to the national People's Congress, calls the relationship between Shanghai and Hong Kong one of cooperation rather than competition. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Yangtze River Delta region – two of the nation’s most dynamic economic development zones -- have their own unique advantages and could flourish together, said a Hong Kong businessman and deputy to the National People’s Congress as he sought to dispel fears of rivalry between them.

Andrew Yao Cho-fai, who’s also chairman of Hong Kong Shanghai Alliance Holdings, called the relationship between Shanghai and Hong Kong one of cooperation rather than competition as both have been helping other Chinese cities to go global and join in international competition.

In the latest Government Work Report, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to further promote the coordinated development of the two zones this year.

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He said the central government will ensure implementing the Bay Area’s outline development plan, which was unveiled last month, making the rules in all participating regions compatible with each other, and facilitating the flow of people and products.

As for the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, including Shanghai and its three neighboring provinces, Li said it will be elevated to a national strategy, and an overall development plan will be worked out this year.

In comparison, the report said the Yangtze River Economic Belt will focus on improving ecosystems, transportation construction and high-quality economic development.

In an interview with China Daily, Yao, who has been commuting between Hong Kong and Shanghai almost weekly since 2003, said the two zones are different in many respects.

To retain talents, we need to keep their families as well

Andrew Yao Cho-fai, Chairman of Hong Kong Shanghai Alliance Holdings

The Yangtze River Delta has a bigger population and more universities compared with the Bay Area. The new Yangtze zone alone is home to some 150 million people and has about more than 150 institutions of higher learning, while the Bay Area has a population of just 68 million, with about 35 colleges.

Besides, Yao said the Yangtze delta has few barriers that would impede the flow of people, cargo and capital, which is an urgent issue for the Bay Area to solve.

More importantly, the economic setups and pillar industries of the two regions are disparate, thus offering huge potential to explore.

Their new task, he stressed, is how to facilitate exchanges and interaction with surrounding cities and provinces, helping them to upgrade professional services and go global.

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Although the Bay Area has won many preference policies, such as tax exemptions and subsidies, which are an advantage, major enterprises also need to consider the overall investment climate to see if the place is suitable for them to operate, said Yao.

Regarding talents, he said the key is to improve local education and medication services, and produce a natural environment.

“To retain talents, we need to keep their families as well,” said Yao, who’s experienced in youth exchange activities as he has been taking some 400 Hong Kong youths to live in Shanghai for six months each year for more than a decade.

He urged young people to pick the right location for their careers and to live in rationally. “No matter it’s the Bay Area or the Yangtze zone, Hong Kong, Shanghai or even Beijing, you need to breathe the local air first.”

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