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Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 18:51

Bay Area plan tops Lam’s cross-border to-do list

By Luo Weiteng in Hong Kong
Bay Area plan tops Lam’s cross-border to-do list
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)

With the high-profile development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area taking a fast track, Hong Kong is looking to become a good fit with the region’s ambitious plans , say experts.

The grand plan tops a to-do list for the central government and Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor this year, Premier Li Keqiang told a meeting with Lam in Beijing on Tuesday.

In a sign of Hong Kong’s determination to work with the region’s plans, outgoing chief executive Leung Chun-ying will head a delegation of senior officials and business leaders on a three-day visit to six of the cities comprising the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area next week, the very first tour by the Special Administrative Region government.

As the sole world-class financial hub in the area, Hong Kong naturally cements its irreplaceable role as the “super connector” between overseas and mainland markets for this mega-project. Hong Kong stands out among the 11 Bay Area cities as a gateway for foreign investors to the massive mainland market, and a springboard for mainland firms going global, Dominic Wu Sze-yin, chairman of Hong Kong-based Asia Financial Risk Think Tank, told China Daily.

Fielding Chen Shiyuan, Hong Kong-based Asia economist at Bloomberg Intelligence, said: “More importantly, the city has what it takes to become an exporter of high-end service industries and government management expertise, putting the Pearl River Delta region on course to upgrade its industries amidst the ever-increasing labor and manufacturing costs.”

Back in the 1980s, the region timed its take-off when Hong Kong sought to relocate its manufacturing business and park a flood of excess capital. Nowadays hard-pressed local manufacturers, feeling the pinch from cheaper manufacturing bases in neighboring less-developed countries, have undergone a years-long painful transformation.

"Again, this is where Hong Kong could come in, by helping the region climb up the value chain and find the next new growth engine,” Chen noted.

For Hong Kong, the Bay Area plan ensures it reaps the fruits of the regional economic integration, rather than be excluded from the country’s rapid development, he added.

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