Greater Bay Area: New Opportunities for Hong Kong and International Investors
I have been pondering how to leverage diplomatic strength to serve Hong Kong and the whole nation's development since my arrival in the city in late June this year.
The signing of the Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation in the Development of the Greater Bay Area on 1 July 2017, witnessed by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Hong Kong, gives answer to my question.
As a result, the MFA Commissioner's Office in Hong Kong will, in the coming years, focus our efforts on promoting the tripartite cooperation among the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and the foreign nations, and ensuring Hong Kong's greater role in the development of the Belt and Road and the Greater Bay Area.
The Greater Bay Area consists of nine cities in Guangdong and two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao. This area ranks among the top in China in terms of economic openness and dynamism. Its GDP reached USD 1.39 trillion in 2016, making it the fifth largest economy in Asia. The area's container throughput tops the world, about 4.5 times that of the New York Bay, San Francisco Bay and Tokyo Bay combined. It is also home to the headquarters of 17 Fortune 500 companies and four world top 50 universities.
The area is expected to see a three-fold increase of its GDP by 2030, reaching USD 4.62 trillion and ranking first among all the Bay Areas in the world. With its great potential, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will be a landmark in China's comprehensive reform process.
Hong Kong, being part of the Greater Bay Area, is China's most internationalized metropolis. It is also a special administrative region under "one country, two systems". With is unique advantage of connecting the mainland the world, Hong Kong will play an irreplaceable role in the building of the Greater Bay Area and will find its new development opportunities.
Hong Kong has ranked as the world's freest economy for 23 consecutive years. It serves as the international financial, trade and shipping center. The city has well-established common law regime, sound rule of law, and accounting and regulatory systems up to international standards. It also has clean and efficient government, excellent professional services, enabling business environment and world-wide sales network. On its part, Guangdong Province enjoys heavily-invested research sector, well-developed industrial chain, full-fledged supporting industries in both upper stream and downstream, strong advanced manufacturing, as well as a larger territory. Guangdong and Hong Kong have a great deal to offer each other.
The Greater Bay Area will also be a rare opportunity for international investors. In order to become a comprehensive transport and logistical hub for the Belt and Road, the area needs to enhance regional infrastructure connectivity and upgrade the shipping and logistical services. It needs to attract more innovation resources and promote joint research so as to serve as an international science and innovation center. It needs to support industries such as new generation IT, bio-tech, high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials and creative culture, as it hopes to build a modern industrial system with global competitiveness. The Greater Bay Area also aims to build a high quality urban community that is good for living, working and leisure, thus it needs greater input in eco-environment, education, health and entertainment services. The great economic demand holds huge potential for international investors.
We have already observed some good models of the tripartite cooperation. The home appliance giant TCL, with its headquarters and production base in Guangdong, spreads its business overseas through Hong Kong. WeChat operator Tencent has become a global player after getting listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The drone maker Dji, a result of scientific inspirations from Hong Kong, is excelling in the mainland market. These success stories fully demonstrate the bright prospects of win-win cooperation between Hong Kong and Guangdong.
Last August, the Commissioner's Office supported Sichuan Province in staging a promotion conference in Hong Kong on international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, in an effort to build a new platform for tripartite cooperation among the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and the countries relating to the Belt and Road. Over 400 participants attended the event with great interest, including officers from over 30 foreign consulates in Hong Kong, 21 consuls general in total, heads of over 10 foreign business chambers, and journalists from over 30 Chinese and foreign media organizations.
The success of the conference marks the first step of the Commissioner's Office's endeavor to promote tripartite cooperation by leveraging diplomatic resources. Hong Kong hosts 62 consulates general and 61 honorary consulates. It has over 30 foreign business chambers, nearly 8,000 multinationals, about half of which being regional headquarters, and numerous foreign media agencies. The Commissioner's Office is ready to keep close communication with both Guangdong and Hong Kong, and work with the foreign consular corps, business chambers, and media agencies based in Hong Kong. We will make good use of the personnel connections and information resources from over 260 Chinese diplomatic missions across the globe, and promote the tripartite cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and countries relating to the Belt and Road to ensure better development of the Greater Bay Area.
I have full confidence in the prospects of the Greater Bay Area. I hope Hong Kong and the international investors will seize the opportunities and I look forward to seeing early results from the cooperation.