The Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area (GBA) has been a major topic of conversation at the Chamber since its release last month. It’s no exaggeration to say we have all been looking forward to this blueprint for quite some time, as it will have a significant influence on how Hong Kong will look in the future.
The plan also offers considerable opportunities for the business community to shape this key initiative. We will now start working on proposals to put to the Hong Kong Government to help steer the development of the GBA.
So we will be pretty busy at the Chamber in the coming months, and our members have an important role to play. We know that many of you are active on the ground in the GBA, and will therefore have valuable insights on the measures that will best help Hong Kong companies.
The Chamber has already been active in keeping our members up-to-date through a series of roundtables and missions. We will be organizing our next GBA mission to Longgang in April, and also an important GBA Forum in the same month. This forum will include high-level officials from Hong Kong and Guangdong as well as entrepreneurs talking about their experience in the region.
The measures announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam on 1 March to enhance Hong Kong’s role in the GBA are also very welcome, particularly the news that tax concessions for Hong Kong citizens will be introduced in all nine Mainland cities. This has been persistently advocated by the Chamber and the business community in Hong Kong and we are confident it will create even stronger economic development and facilitate the flow of talent. We look forward to more details on the implementation of the measure being rolled out.
Improved cross-border cooperation could also encourage more international companies to set up their regional headquarters (RHQ) in Hong Kong, as it provides easier access to the growing GBA markets in addition to our advantages as a global business hub. In fact, the Chamber is already looking at ways to enhance our competitiveness in this area, for example through tax concessions for RHQs.
Another point worth noting is that the plan emphasizes the importance of “one country, two systems” – not just as Hong Kong’s unique advantage, but also as the key foundation for the internationalization of the whole GBA. In fact, the phrase occurs several times throughout the document, underlining the fact that “one country, two systems” is an integral part of the Outline Development Plan.
This is a very exciting time for Hong Kong, and for HKGCC. The Outline Development Plan has laid the foundations. Through our policy work we can add more specific measures to help ensure that the whole of the region fulfills its potential to become a world-class global bay area.