On October 11, 2019, China Development Institute and the AmCham Hong Kong jointly held a seminar on "Greater Bay Area: New Opportunities for the Development of Shenzhen and Hong Kong ". Against the backdrop of the development of the Greater Bay Area, experts and scholars from China's mainland and Hong Kong discussed various topics including the impact of the construction of the Shenzhen demonstration pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics on Hong Kong's economy, challenges faced by Hong Kong's economic and social development, and new opportunities for talent exchange and cooperation in the Greater Bay Area in the future.
Date: October 11, 2019
Venue: Room 101, CDI Mansion, Shenzhen
Theme: Greater Bay Area: New Opportunities for the Development of Shenzhen and Hong Kong
14:30-14:35 Welcome remarks
Guo Wanda, Executive Vice President, China Development Institute
14:35-15:20 Panel 1: Hong Kong vs Shenzhen: Competitors or Collaborators?
China recently announced Shenzhen to be a model city with bolder economic reforms amid the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong. What are the implications for Hong Kong? Will Hong Kong lose its competitive edge as Asia’s finance center?
Moderator: Robert Grieves, Chairman, AmCham HK
GUO Wanda, Executive Vice President, CDI
Perry Wong, Managing Director of research, Milken Institute
15:20-16:05 Panel 2: Hong Kong’s Economy at a Crossroads
The structure of its economy remains to be singular, with financial services, trading and logistics, tourism, and producer and professional services as a major driving force of economic growth. Hong Kong’s economy remains the world’s freest economy for 25 years, but beneath the surface, there are deep social divisions where the gap between the rich and poor has widened; it becomes socially immobile for youngsters to climb up the ladder. Is there a way out to this high-income trap?
Moderator: David Chao, Trade & Investment Committee Vice Chair, AmCham
Robert Grieves, Chairman, AmCham HK
ZHANG Yuge, Director, Hong Kong, Macao and RegionalDevelopment Research Department, China Development Institute, CDI
16:05-16:20 Networking Break
16:20-17:05 Panel 3: GBA Opportunities for Young Talent
Talent is one of the key components making GBA a success. But attracting and retaining the right talent is a difficult task. What policies should the Central and HKSAR governments implement in making GBA a hub for foreign talent? What can the HKSAR government do to help future leaders to unleash their potential? What is the right approach for youth development?
Moderator: Ben Simpfendorfer, Chief Executive Officer at Silk Road Associates; China Business Committee Co-Chair, AmCham HK
WANG Mei, Director, Public Policy and Government Performance Evaluation Research Department, CDI
Etta Wong, Director, University of Southern California Hong Kong
Bosco Leung, Senior Corporate Strategy Manager, MTRA
17:05 Closing Remarks
The construction of the Shenzhen demonstration pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics will provide greater opportunities for Shenzhen-Hong Kong cooperation
Guo Wanda, Executive Vice President of China Development Institute, said that since the beginning ofChina's reform and opening up four decades ago, Shenzhen has been characterized by market-driven innovation with enterprises as the main players. In the new era, Shenzhen will continue to open up and innovate. At that same time, the building of a demonstration pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristicswill enrich the "one country, two system" policy with Shenzhen's new practice, create more opportunities for Hong Kong's development, and supportthe long-term prosperity and stability of the latter. In the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Shenzhen adopts socialism with a civil law system, while Hong Kong adopts capitalismwith a common law system. Both sides haveuniqueadvantages, making them mutually irreplaceable. The competition between Shenzhen and Hong Kong is market-based, constructive and orderly.
Hong Kong's economy has entered a stage where both its strengths and weaknesses have become prominent
Perry Wong, Managing Director of Research at Milken Institution, noted that with the increasingly open economy of China's mainland, the competitiveness of Hong Kong's economy mainly lies in its internationalization and transnational networks, and a free and open economic system characterized bycommercial civilization and modern international economic norms. However, we should also be aware of Hong Kong's potential disadvantages. In the long-term absence of a policy environment that encourages technological innovation and entrepreneurship, coupled with a strong social atmosphere of mercantilism, Hong Kong's economic advantages have gradually narrowed towards financial and capital operations. Theconstruction of the Shenzhen demonstration pilot zone for socialism with Chinese characteristicswill help combine Hong Kong's strengths in R&D and software with Shenzhen's strengths in manufacturing and hardware, thus promoting the transformation of Hong Kong's industrial structure and fostering a new driver for Hong Kong's economic growth.
Hong Kong should pay attention to its long-standing and deep-seated social conflicts
Robert Grieves, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, pointed out thatpotential disadvantages and economic advantages co-exist in Hong Kong. The difficulty in upward social mobility in Hong Kong as a whole and the decline of the middle class have affected the confidence of Hong Kong people in future economic prospects. While maintaining its economic uniqueness, Hong Kong should further consider how to better enable upward social mobility while reducing the gap between the rich and the poor by providing more jobs andbetter access to education for its people.
Promote the restructuring of Hong Kong's economy and industry to better fit into China's overall development
Zhang Yuge, Director of Hong Kong, Macao and Regional Development Research Department at China Development Institute, said that amidst the overall uncertainties and generally gloomyglobal economic prospects, it is understandable that Hong Kong's economy shows a downward trend. In view of this, on the basis of cementing Hong Kong's status as the global center of finance, shipping and trade, the top priority of Hong Kong's economic development should be to solve the dilemma of "high added value&low employment versus lowadded value& high employment" through technological innovation. To this end, Hong Kong shall promote "Industry 4.0", which is closely related to technological innovation.
Open and Effective Human Resources Policy is the Key to Attracting Talent in the Greater Bay Area
Wang Mei, Director of Public Policy and Government Performance Evaluation Research DepartmenttChina Development Institute, noted in her speech that human resources are more abundant in the east of theGreater Bay Areathan in the west, with human resources within theGreater Bay Area still faced with such problems as low reserves of human resources in key areas, significant differences in systems and standards, and weak infrastructure connectivity. She proposed four solutions to these problems: first, jointly build universities in the Greater Bay Area, poolresources of science, technology and education in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, to enhance the ability to attract talents; second, establish the "bonded zone for talents" and implementworking holiday visas to enhance talent mobility; third, develop high-end think tanks and step up cooperation between industries, universities and research institutes, so as to facilitate talent development by fostering a more enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship; fourth, promote mutual recognition of "social security + medical care + education" among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and ensure equal treatment with local residents in social security, children's education, and medical care, etc.
Optimize Entrepreneurial Environment to Encourage More Young People from Hong Kong to Work in the Mainland
Etta Wong, Director, University of Southern California Hong Kong, pointed out that despite willingness to start their own businesses, young people in Hong Kong have to overcome differences in policy, legislation, taxation, and social culture if they want to start their own businesses in the Greater Bay Area. In this regard, authorities in the Greater Bay Area should increase exchange programs between the mainland and Hong Kongfor better mutual understanding and communication between young people, provide equal treatment and a more favorable social environment for entrepreneurship, andstrengthen cooperation with the governments of Hong Kong and Macao as well as local social organizations to attract and nurture talented entrepreneurs.