Published: 23:53, February 22, 2024 | Updated: 09:47, February 23, 2024
​HK will reap benefits from Guangdong’s initiatives for high-quality development
By Tu Haiming

The policy directions unveiled at a conference on high-quality development held in Guangdong province recently will have profound implications for Hong Kong, given the two sides’ close economic ties. 

Huang Kunming, Party secretary of the province, highlighted four key policy directions: attaching greater importance to talent; putting more effort into supporting and collaborating with enterprises; creating new economic driving forces by leveraging market dynamism; and enhancing economic vitality through reforms. All of which point to ample opportunities for profitable cooperation between Hong Kong and Guangdong.

The administration of Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has prioritized talent attraction in policymaking. While efforts to trawl for global talent have borne fruit, the pool of high-level and innovative-type talent is still far from enough. Since the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) development is a holistic strategy, there must also be a holistic approach to attract talent for the region. The two sides can join hands to attract talent in the following three ways. 

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First, facilitate the model of “residing in Hong Kong while working in Guangdong”. Hong Kong is attractive to talent as a livable city, with its cultural diversity, free flow of information, full currency convertibility, abundant education resources, world-class medical care, and pleasant climate. Guangdong, with its clusters of high-end manufacturing industries and numerous high-tech enterprises, allows talent to put their expertise into good use. The two sides can cooperate in facilitating this cross-boundary model. 

Second, facilitate the business model of “laboratories in Hong Kong and production lines in Guangdong”. Although Hong Kong is home to five of the world’s top 100 universities and is a renowned leader in scientific research, its ability to commercialize research results remains weak. This operation model can create greater synergy and value. The two sides should work together to establish efficient and convenient links between laboratories and production lines. 

Third, allow overseas talent who work in the mainland cities of the GBA to pay taxes at Hong Kong’s rates, which are low and attractive to global talent. The two regional governments should conduct in-depth research and seek special policies from the central government in this regard.

Digital transformation breeds collaborative opportunities

At the conference, Huang said Guangdong will promote a technological upgrade for 9,000 industrial enterprises and a digital transformation for 9,200 large industrial enterprises in the province. 

Guangdong is home to world-class tech giants such as Huawei, Midea, BYD and DJI, as well as many small and medium-sized tech firms; industrial transformation and upgrading is a matter of course for the province, a process that will bring about huge opportunities for Hong Kong if it finds the right way to collaborate with Guangdong. 

For instance, Hong Kong as an international financial center boasts a wealth of financial products that can help Guangdong enterprises undertake technological upgrading and digital transformation. The city’s competitive edge in artificial intelligence and other scientific research can also help Guangdong’s industrial transformation and upgrading. 

Huang also proposed accelerating innovation and development by leveraging the gigantic mainland market. 

Hong Kong’s “positive nonintervention” tradition was once an enabler of the city’s free market. However, the city has entered a new era wherein its greatest development opportunities lie on the mainland; it would be a pity to miss out on the huge opportunities offered by this vast market. 

Given the strong complementarity between the Hong Kong and mainland markets, fresh impetus will be injected into Hong Kong’s high-quality development if the city manages to tap into the mainland market.

Combining efforts of the HKSAR government and the business community to achieve high-quality development is not only a positive response to Xia’s aspiration for Hong Kong, but also the key to enhance the city’s international competitiveness

Hong Kong should pool its strengths in promoting technological innovation

Huang noted that the “new whole-nation system” is a powerful tool for making breakthroughs in key technologies, suggesting the need to better integrate a capable government and an efficient market to promote coordinated scientific research and commercialization of research results. 

In the past, Hong Kong’s innovation and technology sector rarely had exchanges with its mainland counterparts. It should now participate in national innovation and technology development, and capitalize on the capacity of the new whole-nation model to bolster innovation. Cross-boundary collaboration should align with the goal set out in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area — to develop the GBA into an international innovation and technology hub.

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Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, urged the HKSAR government to dismantle the barriers set up by vested interests, strive to resolve deep-seated socioeconomic issues, and unleash Hong Kong’s development dynamics by leveraging a capable government and an efficient market. Xia also called on the business community, which is the locomotive of Hong Kong’s economic growth, to take up its social responsibility and work together to promote high-quality development in the city.

Combining efforts of the HKSAR government and the business community to achieve high-quality development is not only a positive response to Xia’s aspiration for Hong Kong, but also the key to enhance the city’s international competitiveness. Guangdong’s policy directions for promoting high-quality development certainly have significant implications for Hong Kong.

The author is vice-chairman of the Committee on Liaison with Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Overseas Chinese of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the Hong Kong New Era Development Thinktank.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.