Editorial : HK's challenge in the new layout of reform and opening-up

【明報專訊】AT the first China International Import Expo held in Shanghai, President Xi Jinping has announced multiple initiatives aimed at the further opening of China's economy. Over the course of forty years' reform and opening-up, China began by catching up with the economic globalisation, but now it has reached the point of striving for the reshaping of the direction of globalisation. The expo is a manifestation of such a transition and the role played by Hong Kong in the mainland's further reform and opening-up is to be adjusted. Xi has voiced his support for building Shanghai into an international financial centre as well as a hub of innovation and technology. With the purpose of improving the overall layout of China's reform and opening-up, he has also elevated the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region to the national strategic level, saying the region will develop in tandem with other national plans like the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative. With all the new challenges of competition ahead, Hong Kong should have a sense of urgency and cannot afford to play for time anymore. Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has expressed the hope that Hong Kong will become the Silicon Valley of Asia. For that to come true, the government has to make still more haste and do more real work.

The western logic underlying globalisation over the past century is in essence the law of the jungle multiplied with the winner-takes-all principle, which has made the West benefit most during the process. By comparison, China has advocated a form of globalisation that embraces more the spirit of inclusiveness and mutual benefit, and less the imbalance of global development. In substance, the Belt and Road Initiative is the strategy driven by China towards this end. Changing the logic behind globalisation requires not only determination but also strength. Time is needed to see whether China can realise its goal, but in the eyes of Beijing, the drive for further reform and opening-up in the new era is already equivalent to the campaign for the sinicisation of globalisation. This mindset is in fact well reflected by Xi's opening speech at the Import Expo, in which he stressed that the expo represented an important decision made by China to pursue a new round of high-level opening-up, and concrete action by China to advance an open world economy and support economic globalisation.

Xi has mentioned initiatives in several aspects to broaden the opening-up of China, like stimulating the potential for increased imports, continuing to widen market access and steadily increasing the openness of the financial sector. It is anticipated that concrete measures will be successively unveiled in the corresponding fields. A noteworthy point is that Xi specifically talked about plans to better capitalise on the important function of Shanghai and other areas in China's opening-up. For example, the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone will be expanded to include a new section. A science and technology innovation board will also be launched at the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Furthermore, the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region has been raised to the level of national strategy. The region will develop in tandem with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development area, the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and will help improve the overall layout of China's reform and opening-up.

Hong Kong enterprises have played a key role in the first 40 years of China's reform and opening-up. The city has also become an international financial centre because of the opportunity posed by the mainland's reform and opening-up. However, times have changed. As the reform and opening-up of the mainland moves on to a new stage and China strives for a leading role in globalisation, Hong Kong should also think about its future path in accordance with the latest circumstances. Now that Xi has made the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region a national strategy on a par with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, it reflects the central government's willingness to see both mutual complementation and competition between the two regions. On the one hand, Hong Kong has to compete with Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the Greater Bay Area and secure its leading position. On the other hand, the three cities also have to join forces to compete with the Yangtze River Delta region for a leading position in national economy.

明報社評2018.11.07:國家改革開放迎新局 港成亞洲矽谷非必然






play for time : to try to gain more time for oneself, esp. to postpone an action or decision.

capitalise on sth : to gain a further advantage for yourself from a situation

join forces : to combine efforts

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