Published: 18:19, September 27, 2023 | Updated: 18:47, September 27, 2023
HK, SZ to boost joint action for high-quality GBA development
By Oswald Chan

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (center) attended the Phoenix Financial Forum for the Greater Bay Area 2023 on September 27 as Lee was standing in the middle with Bauhinia Culture Holdings Group Chairman Xu Zhengzhong (right) and Phoenix TV Chairman and CEO Xu Wei (left)  (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Chinese mainland and Hong Kong senior government officials believe that Hong Kong and Shenzhen should each leverage their respective niches in financial services and innovation and technology to push for the high-quality development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The officials made their remarks at the Phoenix Financial Forum for the Greater Bay Area 2023 held in Hong Kong on Wednesday, organized by Phoenix TV and IFENG.COM. 

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“Hong Kong is the only city that combines Chinese advantages and global advantages. As a leading international financial center, the city has sufficient (resources) to play a greater role in the financial field of the Greater Bay Area and contribute to the high-quality development of the Greater Bay Area,” Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said in his opening speech at the forum.

HK is also vigorously developing green finance and financial technology to support the country's green transformation and achieve the goals of peak carbon and carbon neutrality

The chief executive said that Hong Kong is gaining new momentum in three areas of financial development.

First, Hong Kong and the mainland are continuing to deepen connectivity in the financial market – such as the expansion of the scope of eligible securities (foreign companies) for the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, launching the northbound trading of Swap Connect, and promoting the inclusion of large-scale transactions in the connectivity program – which facilitates the orderly opening of the country's financial market and opens up new space for Hong Kong's financial market and services.

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Second, Hong Kong has implemented a listing regime for specialized technology companies to promote the development of the innovative technology industry and the real economy, with mainland technology companies able to absorb international capital to expand their business when they can access funding through the new listing regime.

And third, the city is also vigorously developing green finance and financial technology to support the country's green transformation and achieve the goals of peak carbon and carbon neutrality. “Hong Kong will continue to improve its competitiveness in this area and looks forward to more institutions in the Greater Bay Area making good use of Hong Kong's green finance market,” Lee said.

Shenzhen Deputy Mayor Wang Shourui added in the opening speech session: “Shenzhen will actively connect with the development planning of the Northern Metropolis of Hong Kong and continue to improve hardware connectivity, software connectivity, and new connectivity.

“A total of 15 billion yuan ($2.05 billion) of offshore renminbi local government bonds have been issued (by the Shenzhen municipal government) in Hong Kong in the past three years, and the scale of cross-border renminbi receipts and payments has exceeded 3.25 trillion yuan,” Wang said.

Wang envisioned that Shenzhen will give full play to the Greater Bay Area's advantages in connecting to the world, with Hong Kong as a “superconnector”, and will cultivate new driving forces for the development of emerging industries, and cooperate with Hong Kong to cement a global technology hub in the Greater Bay Area.

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The Greater Bay Area is one of the most open and economically dynamic regions in the country, with a population of more than 86 million and a gross domestic product of more than $1.9 trillion, equivalent to being the tenth largest economy in the world.

“As Hong Kong has the unique advantage of ‘one country, two systems’, it complements the advantages of other cities in the Greater Bay Area and jointly promotes the economic development of the entire city-cluster area,” Acting Financial Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun said in the keynote speech session.

Wong said the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises has contacted more than 200 companies, and more than 15 enterprises are in the process of settling in Hong Kong or expanding their business in the city. The talent attraction plan has also received a good response, with a total of 120,000 applications received as of the end of July and more than 75,000 applications approved.

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Acting Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Joseph Chan Ho-lim added that the financial services bureau will make good use of the central government’s policy support for Shenzhen’s Qianhai as a major cooperation platform in the Greater Bay Area, and work with Guangdong’s provincial government and Shenzhen’s municipal government to implement relevant policies.

Chan said that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the People’s Bank of China have signed a memorandum that permits financial institutions and technology companies to conduct tests on its cross-border financial technology projects in Hong Kong and mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area, which can speed up the launch of financial technology products and reduce development costs.

“Hong Kong can serve as a superconnector, playing a two-way platform role of ‘bringing in’ and ‘going out’, strengthening complementarity and mutual benefits with other cities in the Greater Bay Area, serving the development of the real economy, contributing to renminbi internationalization, and enhancing the leadership role of the Greater Bay Area in the country’s economic development and opening-up to the outside world,” Chan said.