“INTERFACING WITH SHENZHEN AND PLANNING FOR JOINT DEVELOPMENT OF THE SHENZHEN-HONG KONG BOUNDARY CONTROL POINTS ECONOMIC BELT
MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese): Deputy President, Hong Kong has leapfrogged from a small fishing village in the early days of its opening to an international financial, trading and shipping centre. In the course of nearly 180 years, Hong Kong has developed in leaps and bounds, especially in the areas of business environment, regulatory rules and operation mode of market entities.
Over the years, Shenzhen has persisted in attracting inward investment and assisting Mainland enterprises in “going global”, actively leveraging both the international and Mainland markets and their resources to draw in global investment. In 2018, it overtook Hong Kong to rank fifth among Asian cities in terms of economic output, transforming itself from a small town into a major internationalized city with global influence.
I am grateful to Mr YIM Kong for moving the motion, and I support the motion’s suggestion to urge the SAR Government to take active measures to interface with Shenzhen, make joint efforts to develop the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Boundary Control Points Economic Belt (“the BCPs Economic Belt”) and facilitate the flow of economic factors, thereby turning the BCPs Economic Belt into a new impetus for the development of the Greater Bay Area.
Hong Kong has been a facilitator, a contributor and a beneficiary of the development of Shenzhen over the past 40 years. Thanks to the relocation of local manufacturing industries to cities in the Pearl River Delta such as Shenzhen, Hong Kong has been able to free up more space for the development of service industries. The removal of the existing barriers to Hong Kong-Shenzhen cooperation will result in faster and smoother flow of people, goods, capital and information between the two places, which will undoubtedly create a win-win situation.
However, as a microcosm of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong and Shenzhen have been constrained by factors such as the lack of interface between the respective systems, tax zones, currencies and laws and regulations of the two places; and the absence of convergence of their mechanisms. There is often the problem that “big doors are open, but small doors are not yet open”.
The Northern Metropolis proposed by the SAR Government in last year’s Policy Address is a large-scale urban space which is formed by interactions among various factors including geographic characteristics, economic functions, transport connections and development policies, which will enable Hong Kong to establish a clear direction of close integration with Shenzhen in various aspects, such as economy, infrastructure, people’s livelihood and ecological environment, under the “Twin Cities, Three Circles” plan; complement each other’s strengths in a gradual manner; integrate their development and make joint efforts to create a new community featuring a combination of industrial space and ecological space which is ideal for people to live and work.
In order to break through the bottlenecks and constraints of cooperation between the two sides, I strongly concur with the original motion and the amendments that it is necessary to formulate innovative mechanisms and attract overseas talents by facilitating the ease of doing business in different fields, drive the development of high value-added industries and create conditions such as transport infrastructure network to connect the BCPs Economic Belt.
With regard to transport infrastructure, Hong Kong and Shenzhen may work together to explore the alignment of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Rail Link (“the Western Rail Link”) and location of BCP, the modes of financing and operation, as well as the feasibility of implementing the co-location arrangement in the newly constructed railway, with a view to enabling the early implementation of the cross-boundary railway connection scheme. By linking up the Hung Shui Kiu/Ha Tsuen New Development Area and the Qianhai Cooperation Zone with the Western Rail Link, the locational advantages of both areas can be strengthened. Coupled with the existing road networks in the two places, the northern part of the New Territories can be upgraded into a core business district.
Hong Kong may avail itself of the expansion of the Qianhai Cooperation Zone to work with Shenzhen to deepen and promote the development of high-end economic cooperation in the financial and professional services, modern logistics and technology services sectors.
At the same time, considering the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park under construction in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, Hong Kong may link its basic research strengths with Shenzhen’s well-developed advanced manufacturing industry, marketing and service industry chain, so that scientific research and product applications can be integrated to promote the coordinated development of innovation and technology industries in both places.
In fact, Hong Kong can also form cooperation in respect of finance, talents and technology with Shenzhen’s strategic industrial development zones, including Futian’s new financial centre, the Luohu Hongling Innovative Financial Industrial Belt, the Dawutong Emerging Industrial Belt, the Liantang Internet Industrial Cluster, so as to realize the interface between Hong Kong’s traditional industries and Shenzhen’s high and new technology, attract more high-end enterprises to establish a presence in Hong Kong, achieve economies of scale, and create more high-paying employment opportunities for the local community.
Deputy President, despite some existing obstacles to the deepening of Hong Kong-Shenzhen cooperation, Hong Kong, an international financial centre, is geographically adjacent to Shenzhen, an international technology hub. Deeper and broader cooperation between the two cities will not only enable Hong Kong to integrate into the overall development of the country more expeditiously, but will also facilitate their joint efforts to forge an important dual engine in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which will play an important role in the country’s new “dual circulation” development pattern.
Deputy President, I so submit.