The 40th anniversary of Shenzhen’s Special Economic Zone has shone a spotlight on the remarkable development of our neighbouring city to the north. The evolution of Shenzhen into a dynamic, modern city of more than 12 million people has been extraordinary.
Here in Hong Kong, we should celebrate Shenzhen’s success: not only have we helped to facilitate the city’s transformation, but we have also benefited from its growth.
Hong Kong’s unique role as the bridge between China and the rest of the world has been pivotal in the development of Shenzhen and other cities. With our robust legal system, world-class financial sector, deep talent pool and global outlook, we have been able to provide the essential international networks and the financial and professional services needed by Shenzhen tech companies.
During President Xi Jinping’s visit last month, a range of further reforms for Shenzhen were announced. For example, the city will have more autonomy to make its own regulations in fast-moving technology areas like AI and big data.
Some local voices have suggested that Shenzhen could edge out Hong Kong as its economy continues to open and grow. However, this is clearly not part of the Central Government’s plans, as President Xi also reiterated the importance of One Country, Two Systems in his Shenzhen speech. Plans for the Greater Bay Area have emphasized the centrality of increased cooperation between Shenzhen, Hong Kong and the nine other GBA cities working together, not in competition.
Another important reform is the further relaxation of restrictions on work visas and residency for Hong Kong people. The Chamber has been calling for greater ease of people flow across the border, so we are particularly pleased to see this development.
The opportunities are not just for entrepreneurs and executives. Younger people and students can also tap into the growing opportunities in the GBA, where they can access a broader range of work exposure and career prospects in certain sectors than they would in Hong Kong.
The Chamber has for many years been helping our members to explore the GBA through our popular missions. These on-the-ground visits give members the chance to discuss the opportunities directly with businesspeople and government officials in the region.
Such face-to-face meetings are on hold for now, but we continue to serve members with a wide range of informative webinars. And, through our policy submissions, we continue to urge the Government to ensure Hong Kong businesses can access emerging opportunities in the GBA and elsewhere.
As Shenzhen continues its remarkable development path, Hong Kong will continue to be the key link in attracting overseas investors, and in helping Mainland firms go global. Looking to the future, economic cooperation between the two cities can only go deeper.