In 2015, mainlanders visited Hong Kong 239 million times through various ports of entry in Shenzhen while students crossed the border 40,900 times a day.
Increased cross-border traffic is raising demands for a faster and more convenient entry procedure so that it takes no more than an hour to handle travelers and cargo — and the entire process is a pleasant experience.
That means Hong Kong and Shenzhen should build full-service ports of entry for people and goods.
Already, Shenzhen is planning to make Shenzhen Bay and Liantang port its main cargo hubs, leaving Huanggang port for tourists.
The arrangements, however, should be based on actual demand.
There should be room for resident traffic in the cargo ports and for cargo traffic in the tourist entry port.
At the same time, Shenzhen should upgrade the ports of entry in Futian and Shenzhen Bay as it expands its metro network.
Presently, vehicular traffic there is messy with frequent jams, increasing the time and cost of travel.
Hong Kong and Shenzhen should jointly redevelop Chung Ying Street on their doorstep.
It has been rarely used since the mainland allowed individual visitors to Hong Kong.
In recent years, Chung Ying Street has been overrun with parallel traders, posing a headache to authorities on both sides.
Instead of leaving it in that state, authorities could turn it into a border shopping center.
It has the potential to be become a retail hub similar to the one in the Qianhai. That will help relieve congestion in the New Territories.
Also, a bonded zone could be established in Chung Ying Street to develop cross-border e-commerce, a burgeoning industry in Shenzhen.
These initiatives will benefit both sides.
Improved entry services will promote economic, social and cultural exchanges and expand Hong Kong’s access to more mainland cities via Shenzhen, allowing it to reach a bigger consumer market.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan. 25.
Translation by Myssie You
[Chinese version 中文版]
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