Legislative Council Meeting Members’ Motions: Fully seizing the national development opportunities to give play to Hong Kong’s unique advantages in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese):

Deputy President, we, with the implementation of “one country, two systems” and an economic system with international standards in place in Hong Kong, can make use of our accumulated advantages and functions in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (“GBA”) such as a complete industrial system, the convergence of innovative elements, the marketization of the economy and a higher degree of internationalization, thereby striving to have new room for development.

I thank Mr CHUNG Kwok-pan for proposing this motion and Mr Holden CHOW for proposing the amendment. Let us urge the Government to attach importance to continuous consultation with stakeholders and ensure that relevant industries have specific plans and road maps for attracting talents to settle down here and grasp the historical opportunities in GBA.

Deputy President, there are comments that in the past 40 years of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation, we had a version 1.0 plan in the first 20 years when Hong Kong gave full play to its unique advantages to drive the transfer of industries to the Pearl River Delta (“PRD”), while we had a version 2.0 plan in the next 20 years when we mainly relied on CEPA and the Individual Visit Scheme to enable PRD to open its market to Hong Kong. Both versions achieved unprecedented success.

We currently have a version 3.0 plan for GBA which is driven by national strategies to develop an international innovation and technology hub and a high-level open platform, an important support pillar for the Belt and Road Initiative and promote the integration of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao into the overall development of the country. However, to make this plan a success, Hong Kong should really play its role and the key lies in whether Hong Kong’s shortcomings can be made up for and the many obstacles that hinder development can be removed. Hong Kong has many shortcomings to be made up for and I will mainly focus on the two shortcomings of its small local service market and insufficient conditions for entrepreneurship today.

In terms of the service market, Hong Kong is widely recognized as a modern service centre in the Asia-Pacific region and the service industry accounts for 90% of GDP. Our international competitiveness is beyond doubt but our shortcoming is that the local market is very small. The original intent of CEPA is to help Hong Kong open the door to the mainland market. Since its implementation, a few supplements have been concluded, which played a certain role in the development of Hong Kong’s service industry. However, since Hong Kong’s service industry mainly enters the Mainland in the form of “commercial presence”, the advantages of services have yet to be fully utilized.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services of WTO distinguishes between four modes of supplying services: first, cross-border trade; second, consumption abroad; third, commercial presence; and last, presence of natural persons. The development plan for GBA enables Hong Kong to expand tenfold from a market with a population of 7 million to a large market with a population of 70 million, and the number of residents with consumption power in the region is higher than that of many European and American countries. The key lies in the service supply model. In addition to continuing to set up commercial institutions in PRD cities under CEPA’s “commercial presence” model, the most important thing is to be able to concurrently adopt a “cross-border supply” model in some service areas so that Hong Kong can directly provide services to GBA. This will be a major breakthrough in planning.

As regards the conditions for entrepreneurship, many young people in Hong Kong want to establish businesses but being restricted by many conditions locally, it is very difficult for them to do so. At present, some cities in GBA have designated some parks for young entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, bringing hope to the younger generation in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, these parks are not large in scale and the conditions for admission are rather high; thus, it can hardly cope with the huge demand for innovation and entrepreneurship of young people from Hong Kong. Taking the most popular Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub as an example, since its opening at the end of 2014, it has received overwhelmingly positive responses but the total area of this project is only 27 000 sq m and it can only accommodate up to 200 start-ups. Although it is stipulated that one third of them, i.e. about 60 enterprises must be Hong Kong-invested, this capacity is really a drop in the bucket for tens of thousands of young people in Hong Kong who are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.

In fact, we should provide a better environment to assist the young generation in Hong Kong to establish businesses. For example, we should designate land in some GBA cities for the establishment of a larger-scale entrepreneurship base for young people from Hong Kong and provide excellent living conditions, financial support, market-oriented services and daily necessities, to help them start their own businesses so that they can truly be integrated with GBA. The base can also be opened to young people in other GBA cities, providing young people in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao with room for co-development.

Deputy President, the key to the successful implementation of the plan for GBA is that GBA cities will not compete with each other and intensify competition in areas with competitive edge. Rather, they must be keen to complement their shortcomings. When Hong Kong can give full play to its own advantages and attract more international companies to enter GBA through Hong Kong, they will be able to secure historic opportunities for development together.

I so submit. Thank you, Deputy President.