How EY supports corporates in igniting GBA opportunities

August 16, 2022 13:33
Jasmine Lee, EY Hong Kong and Macau Managing Partner, shared with HKEJ on how EY leverages on its strengths to support corporates in igniting GBA opportunities. Photo: HKEJ

Leverage on Hong Kong’s edge as international financial center

EY supports corporates in igniting GBA opportunities

This is the fourth year since the release of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). As a highly open and international city in the GBA, Hong Kong is renowned for being a hub for international finance, shipping, trading and aviation. With its world-class professional services and the advantage of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong plays a key role in the GBA’s development.

As one of the world’s leading providers of professional services in assurance, consulting, tax, strategy and transactions, EY will soon be entering its 55th year of serving Greater China. HKEJ has talked to Jasmine Lee, EY Hong Kong and Macau Managing Partner, to find out more about how EY leverages on its strengths to support corporates in igniting GBA opportunities.

According to the recently published Global Financial Centres Index (the 31st edition), the overall competitiveness of Hong Kong ranks number three globally, following New York and London, and continues to be Asia’s most important global financial center.

Over the years, Hong Kong has long been leveraging the support from the motherland while engaging with the world to provide high value-added services and contribute to the country’s economic reform and opening-up. “Hong Kong has unique advantages. The city is consistently ranked as one of the freest economies and most competitive regions, making it attractive to investors and corporates. Despite the Asian financial crisis, global pandemic and numerous challenges, Hong Kong prevails, thanks to Hongkongers’ resilience, creativity and willingness to embrace challenges,” said Lee.

Contributing to Mainland’s and GBA development in multiple aspects

To mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of HKSAR,
President Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong earlier this year, reflecting the importance of Hong Kong while strengthening the confidence in the city’s prospect.

The “four musts” raised by President Xi stressed the importance of maintaining Hong Kong's distinctive status and advantages while giving full support to the implementation of “one country, two systems” principle. Lee noted that maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability is a long-term strategy.

“Among the ‘four hopes’, I am particularly impressed by President Xi’s urge that Hong Kong ‘should continue to create strong impetus for growth’. He encouraged the community to build a bright future together through utilizing the strengths of Hong Kong and contributing to the needs of the country. This is how we can build a solid foundation to support the development and generate more powerful momentum,’’ said Lee.

Lee is fully convinced that Hong Kong has unique advantages. The city is a critical bridge between Mainland China and the world, and it should aggressively push forward the development in finance, shipping, cultural, legal and medical industries.

In China’s dual-circulation strategy, Hong Kong acts as an active participant and at the same time, plays a unique role of a “super-connector” to facilitate international circulation and integrate into China’s overall national development for a more prosperous future.

GBA’s development is one of China’s major economic development strategies. As one of the member cities, Hong Kong benefits hugely from the opportunities as it integrates with Mainland’s economy and leverages its strengths to be the gateway between Mainland China and the rest of the world. Lee believes Hong Kong can contribute to Mainland’s and GBA development in numerous aspects.

As a global financial center, Hong Kong boasts a robust legal infrastructure and financial system, which can support the promotion of renminbi internationalization and the development of a comprehensive suite of products in the renminbi offshore market, covering renminbi equities, bonds, funds, insurance and derivatives, thereby consolidating and strengthening Hong Kong’s existing edge in finance.

Regarding green financing, Hong Kong can strive to become the Asian hub for green finance, offering additional financing channels to help Chinese firms with their green transition, supporting the country’s drive to carbon neutrality and speeding up related developments.

The excellent business environment here can lure overseas talent to Hong Kong. These talent can transfer their skills and experience to local and GBA workers during their stay. It would be a win-win situation and could accelerate Hong Kong’s integration into China’s overall development.

“The FinTech development in Mainland is very advanced, particularly in areas like electronic payment and digital renminbi. To promote financial technology, Hong Kong should collaborate with Mainland in this field in order to safeguard the competitive edge and create more opportunities,” Lee added.

Adopting the “Six Connects in eleven cities” strategy to help corporates seize opportunities

As an active participant in the development of GBA, EY always centers around China’s national development blueprint to meet the needs of the government and the society, as well as to create long-term value for clients.

The EY Greater Bay Area Center of Excellence has been set up with the structure of “Six Connects” and “eleven cities”. (The “Six Connects” refer to Financial and Currency Connect, Technology and Data Connect, Health Connect, Infrastructure Connect, Talent and Entrepreneur Connect, and ESG Connect.) With a flexible and integrated GBA team collaborating across regions and service lines, EY teams provide end-to-end professional services to facilitate the connectivity between the region, deepen the integration and promote regional development. Tapping the GBA team’s extensive contacts in China and international market, EY teams aim to help corporates raise their core competitiveness.

EY teams constantly publish “Insights” report to cover a range of industries and share professional experience, knowledge and skills. Through organizing forums, EY teams have been promoting the interconnection of professional talent and resources to offer clients high-quality services that bring together global perspectives and solutions addressing local GBA development needs.

The second EY Synergize GBA Forum will be held on 18 August 2022 in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The theme this year is “Igniting GBA opportunities through embracing resilience". The EY Greater China Region will join forces with Invest Hong Kong and the Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation to co-organize the forum.

Experts from different disciplines and entrepreneurs from various sectors will share the latest trends and insights on GBA development, particularly in areas such as finance, technology, health care, infrastructure, talent and ESG.

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