Shenzhen and Hong Kong “Twin City” Cooperation to Jointly Build an International Technology Innovation Center

9Author: Guo Wanda, Executive Vice President of CDI

Editor’s Note: In future in-depth cooperation, Shenzhen and Hong Kong will synergize their strengths in science and technology innovation in building an international science and technology innovation center.

In a mere four decades, the concept of Shenzhen-Hong Kong “twin cities” has been felt across many sectors, including daily life, economy, technology, and manufacturing, with growing exemplary effect.

As Shenzhen and Hong Kong proactively integrate themselves into the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, both cities should be aware of their unique strengths in a mutually complementary partnership. First of all, although Hong Kong does not have a strong manufacturing sector, it is strong in basic and original research with a sound foundation in the fields of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, new materials and information technology. Second, as a free port, Hong Kong benefits from zero tariffs and simple procedures, with extremely developed offshore trade as a global trade hub. Third, Hong Kong is not only a center of global finance, foreign exchange, global equity, gold trading, but also an offshore renminbi center. Fourth, it has a sound legal system and is a separate customs territory. The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) can serve as a dispute settlement mechanism for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Belt and Road Initiative, providing strong legal safeguard for the Greater Bay Area. In addition, as a separate customs territory, Hong Kong is a member of the WTO. The Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area also supports Hong Kong in signing free trade agreements and participating in relevant international organizations under the name of “Hong Kong SAR, China”.

Shenzhen’s unique strengths make it a perfect match for Hong Kong. Shenzhen has thriving new industries, business forms, and new economy, and features smooth transition from old to new growth drivers. The city has seen the formation of a long industrial chain featuring emerging strategic industries including the new generation of information technology, biotechnology, new energies, and the Internet, as well as new growth drivers such as marine economy, aerospace, health, and robots. In terms of marketization, rule of law, and internationalization, Shenzhen has continuously improved its business environment, with an integrated transportation hub well in place including airports, ports, high-speed rails, and urban rail transit, fostering an inclusive urban culture as an immigrant city with a service-oriented government dedicated to providing high-quality public goods to its businesses and citizens.

The “twin city” cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong features a two-way open model of economic integration, social integration and governance coordination. The vision is to jointly build an international science and technology innovation center, which is in line with the blueprint of the Greater Bay Area. To turn this vision into reality, Shenzhen and Hong Kong should deepen cooperation in multiple dimensions. First of all, city plans shall be further aligned, with enhanced connectivity of transport to facilitate the travel of job-seeking Hong Kong and Macao residents to the mainland. Second, connections between technology innovation platforms between Shenzhen and Hong Kong should be enhanced, and technology cooperation between the two cities promoted to higher levels. Third, Shenzhen will explore ways to build research achievement transformation platforms with Hong Kong to provide seed funding, basic facilities and incubation services for start-ups. In the future, Shenzhen will join hands with Hong Kong to facilitate the internationalization of the RMB, strengthen cooperation in green finance and fintech, and explore a model of “Regulatory Sandbox”. Finally, an effective cooperation model for intellectual property right protection between the two cities should be developed to safeguard the interest of innovators.