8 Jan 2019
Link up Global Chinese Entrepreneurs to Tap into B&R & Bay Area Opportunities
By CGCC Vision
Chinese entrepreneurs have great influence in global economic development and play an important role in promoting regional cooperation and deepening interaction between Mainland and international markets. Amid the development opportunities arising from cooperation frameworks such as the “Belt and Road Initiative” (B&R) and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (Bay Area), the huge network built by the Hong Kong industrial and business community and Chinese entrepreneurs at home and abroad will lay a more solid foundation to further deepen regional cooperation.
Gu Shengzu: Constructing a new quadruple-city setup to facilitate innovation development
Commenting on the key national development plan, Gu Shengzu, Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Executive Vice Chairman of China National Democratic Construction Association, pointed out the essence of three bay areas around the world: New York is financial; San Francisco is technological, while Tokyo is characterized by manufacturing. Unlike these three bay areas, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area comes with Hong Kong, an international financial hub, as well as Shenzhen, the “Silicon Valley of China”. As such, it is an integrated bay area that enjoys all the features of fintech and manufacturing. He reckoned that effective integration of the creative resources of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and other cities is critical for actualizing more synergized innovation and focused development in the region. These, in turn, will facilitate the Bay Area in becoming a first-class innovative economy bay area in the world.
According to Gu, construction of the Bay Area must ride on the basis of one country and leverage the convenience of two systems. This would help shape the most dynamic international technology innovation hub with the most concentrated innovation resources, the most effective conversion of innovation outcomes, the most flexible innovation systems and the most comprehensive innovation ecology. He suggested building an international innovation corridor for Guangdong, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau, which could serve as the innovation platform for generating various outcome conversion. The new quadruple setup for innovation development will promote development of innovative initiatives, bring industries together, connect spaces and functionally complement every party. He also pointed out that that ecological development of the new economy should be promoted; Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau could collaborate as upstream and downstream partners in the discipline of innovation; a complete innovation industrial chain could be established; and a good entrepreneurial innovation ecology could be created to materialize the goal of “blooming in Hong Kong and Macau, bearing fruits in the Mainland”.
The deepened integration of finance and technology is especially critical in the development of the Bay Area. Gu stressed that it is imperative to propel interconnectivity of the financial market, to drive reform in the Hong Kong and Shenzhen capital markets, and to deepen the function of the bay area as a financial system to support the development of the new economy. He hoped to speed up the pace at which talents could roam freely in the bay area, so that convenient movements for talents, goods, and capital in the Bay Area can be materialized. He encouraged young people in Hong Kong and Macau to get involved with the construction of the Bay Area. He believed that various convenience initiatives should be rolled out to attract talents.
Carrie Lam: The Greater Bay Area lends strong support to the “Belt and Road”
As the country’s grand development strategy, the “Belt and Road initiative” (B&R) has rolled out a number of important projects since its launch five years ago. According to Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Hong Kong as an important node along the B&R could put its triple strengths from “one country, two systems” to work and become an international hub for the initiative; it could also function as a platform for financing and professional services.
Lam pointed out that Hong Kong is not only a “going-out” platform for Mainland companies, but also the preferred portal for foreign companies, including those operated by overseas Chinese merchants, to tap into the Mainland market. Furthermore, professional talents from multiple disciplines, including financing, legal, accounting, planning, engineering, project management, can all be found in Hong Kong, making the HKSAR well positioned to be an integrated professional service platform for overseas Chinese merchants along the B&R. To prevent Hong Kong from lagging behind in economic development, the HKSAR government is actively assisting Hong Kong merchants in expanding the B&R and overseas market. It is now seeking to enter into free trade agreements with more trade partners, as well as tax agreements that help prevent triple taxation.
The construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area is a major opportunity for Hong Kong. Lam stressed that one of the objectives for constructing the Bay Area is to lift the level of market opening of the Bay Area to connect externally to international market, and internally to radiate and facilitate development around the Pearl River Delta and Pan-PRD area, lending strong support to the B&R initiative. She believed that the Bay Area would promote diversified development for financial industries. As for the social development of Hong Kong under the constraint of housing, elderly care, and land supply, the Bay Area could provide space for better ways of living that Hong Kong citizens have been longing for. She revealed that the government’s priority work will focus on making the Bay Area an international technology and innovation center, so that Hong Kong’s competitive industries could conveniently land in the Bay Area. By putting forward policies to drive innovation and breakthroughs, the interconnectivity amongst all cities of the Bay Area is fostered.
Xu Yousheng: Overseas Chinese are a bridge to propel development of the B&R and the Greater Bay Area
It is the fifth year since the birth of the B&R initiative. As described by Xu Yousheng, Deputy Director of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee and Director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, the B&R initiative has transformed from a sketch of an overall outline to a refined painting with concrete, carefully laid out and implemented policies.
Xu noted that some 60 million overseas Chinese are distributed in close to 200 countries and locations around the world. Amongst them, about 40 million have settled in countries and locations along the B&R routes. With a long migration history, profound cultural knowledge, robust financial strengths and wide personal networks, etc. overseas Chinese are a strong force in driving the development of the B&R and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area.
Active interfacing and wide participation by the government and the communities of countries along the B&R routes is crucial in fostering development of the B&R initiative. Xu hoped that compatriots could actively engage themselves in promoting the B&R, including the shared business opportunities, the principles of shared construction, as well as the idea of mutual collaboration for win-win outcomes. He reckoned that overseas Chinese could also work as a matchmaker to help Chinese companies “go out”. They can also be the “bride” and take part in the practical cooperation across various disciplines.
Regarding the synergized development for the B&R and the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, Xu believed that overseas Chinese must act like a bridge. Therefore, he supported Hong Kong and Macau to fuse themselves into the bigger picture of China’s development and contribute to the construction of a first-class bay area and world-class city cluster. He commended the overseas Chinese community in Hong Kong for being entrepreneurial and daring in breaking new grounds, while staying close to the fine traditions of their home country. He believed that the overseas Chinese community in Hong Kong can make significant contribution to fully implementing the B&R initiative, in the construction of the Bay Area, and in China’s new round of opening-up.
Xie Feng: Tripartite cooperation mechanism fosters complementarity
While the B&R initiative did originate from the Mainland, Xie Feng, Commissioner of Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR, commented that the opportunities and outcomes within the initiative belong to the world. The B&R has now become the world’s largest and the most popular international cooperation platform. It will pave new paths for various countries in developing and achieving shared prosperity, demonstrating strong vitality and bright prospects.
Earlier in April at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, President Xi Jinping solemnly promised that “China's door will not be closed and will only be opened up even wider”. He also announced significant relaxations on market access, commitments to create an even more attractive investment environment, to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and to actively expand import. Xie reckoned that, the new measures to expand China’s opening up, as quoted above, illustrate China’s commitment as a power nation of the new era in safeguarding the global multilateral order, and in promoting development of the world economy. All these will provide even wider markets for domestic and foreign companies from around the world, including the wide overseas Chinese merchant community.
Xie noted that there is no winner in the worldwide shadow of a trade war. Economic hegemony that moves against the course of history can only be detrimental to the common interests of the international society. Prosperity and sustainability across the board is only possible through opening-up. Xie stressed that China is willing to collaborate with the international society to protect the multilateral trade system and to drive the construction of an open world economy. He mentioned that the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC in the HKSAR had established a tripartite cooperation mechanism for the Mainland, Hong Kong and countries along the B&R routes in the second half of last year. By organically combining the Mainland’s edge in capital, technology and production capacity, the regional standing of Hong Kong and its strengths in international professional services, the rich resources and the need to develop in countries along the B&R routes, the strengths of various parties can be pooled together to complement each other, which could work together for the outcome of “1+1+1 is bigger than 3”.
This article was first published in the magazine CGCC Vision. Please click to read the full article.