Date: February 22, 2019 Reporter: Li Fengxiang Souce: www.xinhuanet.com
On the morning of February 21, 2019, there was not an empty seat anywhere in the banquet hall of Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel. Some guests were flicking through the documents, some were whispering each other, and others were standing in front of the theme board of the China’s Greater Bay Area. The media seats in the back row had already been filled with cameras, waiting for a historical moment.
At 10:30, the first seminar of “China’s Greater Bay Area Development Plan” (hereinafter referred to as “Plan Outline”) co-sponsored by the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao will be held there. The official issue of the Plan Outline is a sign of the construction of the China’s Greater Bay Area processing from start-off to comprehensive and advancing development stage. What are the expectations of Hong Kong and Macao people? What suggestions do they make for the future development of the China’s Greater Bay Area? In the seminar, exclusive interviews were made to Mi Jian, Director of the Policy Research and Regional Development Bureau of the Macao SAR Government; Cai Guanshen, President of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and Ma Youli, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Macau.
“The China’s Greater Bay Area is a major strategy with far-sightedness”, said Mi Jian, Director of the Policy Research and Regional Development Bureau of the Macao SAR Government.
“I’m very excited to attend the seminar in Hong Kong. The Plan Outline is a significant strategy that figures directly into the future development of China’s Greater Bay Area, which in turn adapts to the new historical period, especially in the new round of reform and opening up policy,” Mr. Mi told our reporter.
According to Mr. Mi, the developmental goals set out in the Plan Outline will enhance the living standards as well as the livelihood and welfare of the residents on the basis of the construction of the in the China’s Greater Bay Area. When driving the economic and social development of the China’s Greater Bay Area, it will become the motivated factor to lead the high-quality development of the whole country, and on this basis, it will provide important support for the construction of the “Belt and Road” project.
Mr. Mi insists that the policy of construction of the China’s Greater Bay Area is doubtfully foresighted, when compared with the perplexed first forty years of economic Reform and open up since 1978.
The Plan Outline sets Macau as one of the four central cities. “Macau covers small business share of GDP. Therefore, it is a great challenge for Macau to play such a vital role in the project. Macau takes on a formidable task that how to perform well and contribute to the whole county.” Mr. Mi suggests Macau should take its characteristics and advantages to make a breakthrough when faced with the opportunity of China’s Greater Bay Area development policy. The first measure is to make use of the land resource. Macau has very limited land space currently. By taking advantage of the opportunities in the China’s Greater Bay Area and making use of land resource, the economy and industrial structure can be optimized and adjusted for achieving diversified development in the area. The second measure is to take full advantage of the talent. Under the premise of making use of Macau talents, we must warmly welcome professionals from every field to Macau. The third measure is to attempt for win-win situation. Based on the unique advantages of Macao, we can rely on the industrial, scientific and technological strength together with human resources of other cities to strive to accomplish the development mode proposed by the central government to Macao.
“This year is a special year, which is the 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The best of all, the Plan Outline was also announced today,” said Mr. Mi. He also mentioned Macao should take this opportunity and advantages to accelerate the development process together with the urban agglomeration of the China’s Greater Bay Area.
“The Plan Outline sets the direction for the long-term development of the China’s Greater Bay Area,” said Cai Guanshen, President of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
“The Plan Outline was issued at very right time. Hong Kong people have been looking forward to it for a year,” Mr. Cai told the reporter from South Daily in Hong Kong. The Plan Outline covers a range of principles in both breadth and depth, which points out the direction of the development of the China’s Greater Bay Area. In particular, it is encouraging that the five strategic positioning make the future plan clearer.
The Plan Outline sets Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen as the four central cities with responsibilities of each. For Hong Kong, it is necessary to consolidate and enhance the status of international finance, shipping, trade centers and international aviation hubs.
Mr. Cai emphasizes Hong Kong is not only an international financial, shipping and trade center, but also a potential international innovation and technology center that is supported by PCR government. At the same time, one of Hong Kong’s advantages lies in the complete and sound legal system. Therefore, the Plan Outline clarifies that Hong Kong should build an international legal and dispute resolution service center in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, Hong Kong’s aviation industry has developed very well, so it has set a new goal to be an international aviation hub. All in all, the development position for Hong Kong is very clear.
The Plan Outline also points out requirement for other three central cities and seven important node cities. “How to develop with these clear goals? The most important principle is diversified development to avoid redundant construction and waste of resources,” said Mr. Cai.
With the Plan Outline, how can Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau better promote cooperation in science and technology innovation? Mr. Cai thinks free movement of the talent is of great importance, because science and technology are inseparable from talents. The International Science and Technology Innovation Center needs to be co-built by talents from Hong Kong, China mainland and even the world. Mr. Cai suggests further providing more chances so as to make the movement of the people, logistics, capital flow and information flow more convenient in the China’s Greater Bay Area. At the same time, it is necessary to enhance a series of related facilities such as household, medical care and transportation. In this way, people can continuously improve the sense of happiness, security and accomplishment, which leads more talented people to join the development of the China’s Greater Bay Area and realizes seamless integration of the one-hour life circle in the area.
Mr. Cai introduces that the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong will hold a series of activities this year. In March, the China’s Greater Bay Area Forum will be held to discuss how to implement the Plan Outline. In April, it is planned to launch an introduction meeting of the China’s Greater Bay Area in Tokyo, Japan to promote interaction between our industries and Japan’s competitive industries. In September, the World Bay Area Forum will be held in which the entrepreneurs from the world’s three major Bay Areas will participate to improve the communication and cooperation each other.
“It will be a brand-new and higher-scale reform and open-up for the China’s Greater Bay Area,” said Ma Youli, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Macau.
“The issue of the Plan Outline is very necessary and timely. It is a marvelous opportunity for Macau, ” said Mr. Ma, excitedly.
In Mr. Ma’s opinion, the program of the China’s Greater Bay Area is a brand-new and higher-scale reform and open-up. With the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, it takes only half an hour from Macau to Hong Kong. It further accelerates the movement of the people, logistics, capital flows, and information flows. The Plan Outline can help Macau to take advantages of its own and promote more greatly the development of the China’s Greater Bay Area.
The Plan Outline describes Macau as focusing on construction of the world’s tourism and leisure center as well as the business cooperation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. It will strengthen the economic development to be as moderate and diversified as it can, and build a base for exchanges and cooperation in which Chinese culture as the mainstream and multiculturalism coexists.
Mr. Ma is most concerned about how Macau can provide a cooperation platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. He claimed that no other city can play such a vital role as Macau does, because Macau has been with Portuguese-speaking countries for hundreds of years. Macau also has a very close relationship with people from countries and regions along the “Belt and Road”. Therefore, as an important platform, Macau will help to maintain a closer contact between China and Portuguese-speaking countries and build more greatly the construction of the “Belt and Road”.
(Editor: Liu Zeqi)