Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 51st terms of office) May 2019
I hope the HKSAR Government would ride on the successful experience of the Tokyo symposium and continue to work closely with the central ministries and the governments of Guangdong Province and Macao. With concerted effort, we can enhance global awareness for the Greater Bay Area and engage more overseas economic and trade partners in its development.
Early last month, I led the CGCC delegation to the “Symposium on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” in Tokyo, Japan. We took the occasion to form a strategic partnership with the China Enterprises Association in Japan and pushed forward Sino-Japan economic and trade exchange. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) is similar to the Tokyo Bay Area in many ways, such as geographic location, population density, as well as economic and industry structure. We can certainly learn a great deal from its success story. In a bid to promote more active exchange between the Greater Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area, I actively proposed and launched the symposium. Most encouragingly, the event received full support from the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao which joined hands to co-organize the symposium and made it an event of higher profile and impact.
Gaining insights from Tokyo’s experience in developing the bay area
As a key development initiative of our country, the Greater Bay Area must seek in-depth cooperation and matching with other major bay areas around the world. While supporting mutual industrial structure enhancement, such connectivity is also in line with the Greater Bay Area’s positioning as an open economic cooperation platform. Among all bay areas, the Tokyo Bay Area has the highest economic aggregate in the world. 40 Fortune Global 500 companies are headquartered in this bay area that boasts a well-developed industry chain. In particular, it is a world leader in high-end manufacturing industries, including automobile, electronic parts and precision instruments. The Greater Bay Area is one of the most open and economically dynamic regions in China. It boasts an extensive industrial system, significant business cluster advantage, and high economic complementarity. It is also backed by the “One Country, Two Systems” concept of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as the region’s highly developed service sectors. Together with nine major cities of the Pearl River Delta region, it forms an emerging-sector-oriented industrial structure made up mainly of advanced manufacturing and modern service sectors. By consolidating their competitive edges, the two areas can underpin their business and service sectors to go from strength to strength in quality, technology and added value.
The Tokyo Bay Area has been playing a pivotal role in finance, commerce and trade in Japan. It is well matched with Hong Kong of the Greater Bay Area that leverages on its functions as an international financial centre, the biggest offshore Renminbi business centre in the world and global asset and risk management centre. Working hand in hand, we can provide all-round support services to the global financial sector.
Giving scope to holistic industrial collaboration
The Tokyo Bay Area has always been a preferred portal for Hong Kong and Mainland businesses investing in Japan. On the other hand, many Japanese businesses access the Mainland market via Hong Kong. As the Greater Bay Area develops, it is poised for more diversified collaboration and broader in-depth interaction with the Tokyo Bay Area. For example, both areas are currently challenged by population ageing. The Japanese silver-haired economy, GeronTech and big health sectors are long-established in considerable scale. They can provide important support to drive the development of their counterparts in the Greater Bay Area. Moreover, green technologies are also well-developed in Japan where they help balance industrial economy and environmental conservation. These are all fine examples that Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao should learn from during their pursuit of ecological progress.
The Symposium attracted more than 1,200 participants from the political and business circles of Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao and Japan. Everyone actively supported all-round collaboration between different industries of the two bay areas. Possibilities of Mainland, Hong Kong and Japanese businesses jointly developing third-party markets and capitalising on growth opportunities were also explored. During this trip to Japan, a MOU for strategic cooperation was signed between the CGCC and the China Enterprises Association in Japan. We hope this latest move will augment amicable Sino-Japanese relations as well as economic and trade development, while creating wider scope for cooperation among businesses from both countries. China and Japan reached an agreement on developing third-party markets under the framework of “Belt and Road Initiative” (B&R) last year, and a new mechanism for dialogue has been established to strengthen joint infrastructure development initiatives. The Greater Bay Area is a key node of the B&R, while Hong Kong has superior connections with the international network. Both can serve as support platforms for China and Japan to further develop third-party markets, while encouraging practical collaboration in more industries among Chinese and Japanese businesses.
Amplifying the Greater Bay Area’s international influence
At the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping reiterated that China would promote higher quality opening-up and build partnerships to pursue global connectivity. The Greater Bay Area is one of the strategic positionings under this framework. It aims to support China’s effort to build a new platform that enables high-quality participation in global economic collaboration. All leading bay areas, including Tokyo, New York and San Francisco, are potential partners for the Greater Bay Area. As the freest and most open city in China, Hong Kong can avail itself of the unique advantage of “One Country, Two Systems” and play a more important leading role to drive cooperation between the Mainland and the international community. Through the Greater Bay Area platform, it can assume the roles of active participant and constructor.
I hope the HKSAR Government would ride on the successful experience of the Tokyo symposium and continue to work closely with the central ministries and the governments of Guangdong Province and Macao. With concerted effort, we can enhance global awareness for the Greater Bay Area and engage more overseas economic and trade partners in its development. CGCC will make best use of its business network advantage to build exchange platforms that bring regional enterprises and international investors together, so that the Greater Bay Area can match with and integrate into B&R markets to realise our all-win development vision of mutual benefit.