Firms to link SAR to Belt and Road

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF HKSAR - By YANG WANLI yang­wanli@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese main­land en­ter­prises will fur­ther con­trib­ute to Hong Kong’s eco­nomic growth un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and will serve as a bridge con­nect­ing the main­land and the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion to pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion.

“Un­der the ‘one coun­try, two sys­tems’ prin­ci­ple, Hong Kong has seen a deeper busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with the main­land, and its busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment has been im­prov­ing in the past two decades,” said Li Jian­hong, chair­man of China Mer­chants Group, a lead­ing State-owned con­glom­er­ate based in Hong Kong.

Founded in 187 2 as the first com­mer­cial cor­po­ra­tion in China, China Mer­chants Group played a sig­nif­i­cant role in mod­ern China’s eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment. In re­cent decades, it also has con­trib­uted to the main­land’s ship­ping in­dus­try.

Now, it is also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. China Mer­chants Group op­er­ates 49 ports in 19 coun­tries and re­gions that are in­volved in the ini­tia­tive.

“More Hong Kong en­ter­prises are seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties on the main­land while an in­creas­ing num­ber of main­land com­pa­nies are ben­e­fit­ing from Hong Kong’s ad­van­tages and ex­pe­ri­ence to go global,” Li said. The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive will be a chance for Hong Kong’s fur­ther de­vel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to Li.

China Re­sources Group was founded in Hong Kong in 1938 and now has seven sub­sidiary com­pa­nies listed there.

“Many State-owned en­ter­prises are based and de­vel­oped in Hong Kong,” said Fu Yun­ing, chair­man of China Re­sources Group.

As a ma­jor sup­plier of fresh frozen food, the group was once called “Hong Kong’s veg­etable bas­ket”, Fu said. In 1972, it shipped petroleum and rice from the main­land to Hong Kong. In 2003, Hong Kong’s econ­omy suf­fered from the SARS (Se­vere Acute Re­s­pi­ra­tory Syn­drome) epi­demic, and many col­lege grad­u­ates had a hard time find­ing a job. Fu said China Re­sources Group helped to em­ploy many grad­u­ates on the main­land dur­ing that pe­riod. In 2007, at the height of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, it also es­tab­lished a fund to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to stu­dents from poor fam­i­lies in Hong Kong and the main­land to fin­ish their stud­ies.

“Many open­ing-up poli­cies were ini­tially prac­ticed in Hong Kong be­fore they were pro­moted on the main­land. It pro­vides a unique op­por­tu­nity for Hong Kong to al­ways stand at the front of the mar­ket,” Fu said.

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