【明報專訊】THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT has announced its plans for the Qianhai and Hengqin Cooperation Zones, providing an important platform for Hong Kong's and Macao's integration into the overall development of China. Faced with new opportunities for its development, Hong Kong must seize them properly.
Hong Kong is an important gateway for China to the world, and Shenzhen is a mainland city connected to this gateway. For Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area, the Qianhai Cooperation Zone will be a key point of connection between Hong Kong and the world in the future. Since its establishment in 2010, the Qianhai Cooperation Zone has always been so positioned that it will face Hong Kong and use the advantages of Hong Kong's professional services to make Qianhai a demonstration zone. So far, more than 11,000 Hong Kong companies have established offices in Qianhai. There is also a base for young entrepreneurs. Mainland officials say that a large number of Hong Kong companies in the modern service industry have congregated in Shenzhen. They have entered the mainland market through Qianhai. The expansion of the scope of the Qianhai Cooperation Zone will help these companies further achieve their ambitions.
The "Qianhai Plan" will open its door to Hong Kong professionals in many aspects. It will also advance the governance functions of statutory institutions and explore the possibility of Hong Kong people assuming positions in statutory bodies in Qianhai. All this shows that the main purpose of the plan is to enhance the modern service industry in Shenzhen and the related governance standards in an attempt to catch up with Hong Kong and get in line with international standards. For Hong Kong, the "Qianhai Plan" is both a challenge and an opportunity, and the outcome will be known in 2035. Now Hong Kong must work hard, be proactive, and turn challenges into opportunities. A lack of ambition or a "wait-and-see" mentality will mean that any golden opportunities will be missed.
The Hong Kong government has said that in order to accelerate the promotion of higher-level cooperation in Qianhai, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments have agreed to set up a high-level working group. The leader on the Hong Kong side is the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs. Such arrangements will definitely go a long way towards coordination between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and the reflection of the concerns of both sides. However, if the Hong Kong government is to seize the opportunities in Qianhai, it must be more proactive. The Qianhai Cooperation Zone is on Hong Kong's doorstep. Now the Hong Kong government needs to think about how to get connected to the Qianhai Cooperation Zone. From the perspective of geography and reality, the North New Territories, separated from Qianhai only by a bay, must be the point of connection for Hong Kong. Chief Executive Carrie Lam says that the North New Territories must be in cooperation with Qianhai, and a comprehensive plan for development will be necessary. The policy address next month will touch on the plan concerned.
The "Qianhai Plan" is a major development plan under the national policy. It has a clear goal, with the year 2035 being the target. It is likely that drastic action will be taken in pursuit of this goal over the next 14 years. In contrast, Hong Kong has taken more than 10 years to complete processes from planning to land resumption for the Northeast New Territories development plan alone. If the authorities put aside the concept of the duality between "core and periphery", they will definitely be able to explore more possibilities and even help throw off the many shackles that have limited the development of the New Territories over the years.
congregate : to come together in a group
ambition : something that you want to do or achieve very much
drastic : extreme in a way that has a sudden, serious or violent effect on sth