|This file photo taken on Aug 18, 2004 shows a view of the skyline of Shenzhen (right), part of the "Shenzhen Special Economic Zone" across the border from Hong Kong. (AFP PHOTO / FILES / Samantha SIN)|
Hong Kong is tipped to play a leading role in the State’s development blueprint for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the city’s top mainland affairs official revealed on Wednesday.
The NDRC has considered making Hong Kong the locomotive of the State-level strategyRaymond Tam, Hong Kong Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen was briefing Hong Kong’s media after talks with the nation’s top development planning body – the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
This is the first time an official body in the central government has raised Hong Kong to such a status since Premier Li Keqiang announced the national strategy in the two sessions (the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee) last month.
The NDRC will present a full plan to the State Council at the end of this year, Tam quoted the authority as saying.
He said the NDRC has considered making Hong Kong the locomotive of the State-level strategy. This is because of the city’s status as an international city, and its unique social system that connects more easily with the world.
The central government also hoped to set Hong Kong as the Greater Bay Area’s window to the world in the Belt and Road Initiative, and set a benchmark for regional cities to aim for when improving their development, explained Tam.
He said these policies would improve the connectivity of people, capital, goods and information. They will also complement the relevant cities’ functions and the quality of their communities. Tam said this would make the bay area a “good place to live, work and travel”.
The government’s work report said the State Council envisioned developing the Greater Bay Area into one of world’s major city clusters.
It will make full use of the advantages of the two special administrative regions — Hong Kong and Macao — in the national economic development and forays into the rest of the world, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the NDRC also applies a principle of “complementary development”. This is to avoid “destructive competition” between cities, especially the megacities — Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Tam said.
"This is so all cities will magnify their individual strengths,” he explained.
This might force Hong Kong to upgrade some of its industries to embrace a re-division of labor, noted Tam.
"For instance, the city may shoulder less in cargo transportations and shift to high-level maritime services,” Tam predicted.
He added that Hong Kong would also consolidate its status of China’s sole international financial center.
Central government authorities also hope the cluster of cities can upgrade themselves through innovation and high-tech approaches, according to Tam.