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Sunday, March 8, 2015, 18:36

Hong Kong's economy inseparable from mainland: Zhang

By Sophie He in Hong Kong

The central government’s top envoy in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, said that the SAR’s economy is inseparable from the mainland, and urged the city to continue to play a special role in the nation’s economic development. 

The economic tie between Hong Kong and the mainland is a crucial aspect of the general relationship between the SAR and the central government, Zhang said at a meeting with the National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies from Hong Kong in Beijing over the weekend.

To have a better understanding of the economic relationship between Hong Kong and the mainland is the only way for the city to formulate a clear direction and an effective strategy for future development, Zhang said.

It is also the only way for the city to seize the opportunities and enhance its competitiveness, he added.

Zhang noted Hong Kong must realize that “backing by the mainland” is its major advantage in economy development.

The mainland has been Hong Kong’s largest trading partner and also an important destination of investments, Zhang noted. More than half of all Hong Kong listed companies are mainland enterprises and the amount of capital they raised on the stock exchange accounted for more than 74 percent of the total, said Zhang.

Meanwhile, the central government has provided Hong Kong with a reliable supply of food, water, gas and electricity, allowing it to pursue economic growth unfettered by other concerns, Zhang said.

The mainland is not only the driving force behind Hong Kong’s economic growth, it also provides the support needed by the city in face of external economic threats.

The “take off” of the Hong Kong economy in the past several decades was attributable to the plentiful supply of labor, funding, technology and land on the mainland as well as the favorable policies of the central government, said Zhang.

What’s more, Hong Kong needs to recognize that to enhance the cooperation with the mainland is the most important strategic direction of its future economic development, Zhang stressed.

The mainland economy is still growing much faster than that of US, Zhang said. Hong Kong must look to the mainland to sustain growth in the face of projected weak demand from developed countries, said Zhang.

“The mainland is able to provide a broad market for Hong Kong and it can also provide raw material and labor at reasonable cost,” Zhang said. Hong Kong, he added, has already been a beneficiary as mainland is deepening its economic reform.

The economy in Hong Kong will continue to be different from the mainland under “One Country, Two Systems,” allowing it to continue to take advantage of its special position as an international center for finance, trading and logistics, said Zhang.


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