Hong Kong should cooperate, rather than merely compete, with other players in Beijing’s Greater Bay Area initiative to get the most out of the project.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that it is important for Hong Kong to consider what role it should play in the regional development plan.
The initiative was introduced by Premier Li Keqiang earlier this year to develop a world-class city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area.
Hong Kong should think out of the box as the plan requires nine Guangdong cities, Hong Kong and Macau not only to compete but also to cooperate with one another, Nip said, adding it is not a zero-sum relationship.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the governments of Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macau signed a framework agreement to step up their collaboration.
The NDRC is working on a development plan for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area, including details of how joint development should be carried out.
Nip said he has received a draft of the plan. The government will submit opinions gathered from the business and professional sectors to the NDRC.
Nip expects the plan to be unveiled by the end of this year or early next year.
He urged Hong Kong’s businessmen and young professionals to aggressively explore potential opportunities.
Asked if Hong Kong’s role in the Greater Bay Area has been pre-defined, Nip said he does not think so, adding Beijing sees Hong Kong’s advantages.
Hong Kong can decide for itself how to make the most of those advantages, Nip said.
Beijing is studying how to make it more convenient for Hongkongers to study, work, start a business and live in the mainland that is consistent with the development direction of the Greater Bay Area., Nip said.
The fact that there will be many emerging industries in the region means excellent career opportunities for young people, he said.
Meanwhile, noting that Thursday is the third anniversary of the 2014 Occupy Central movement, Nip reiterated that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China and that the public should adhere to the principle of “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law.
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