Onus on HK to take ad­van­tage of ini­tia­tive

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

Two his­toric events with pro­found rel­e­vance to Hong Kong took place re­cently. The first was the cel­e­bra­tion on July 1 to mark the 20th an­niver­sary of Hong Kong’s re­turn to China. And the other was the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing in May. And both events were presided over by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

After hav­ing fol­lowed the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple for 20 years, the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion should now look for­ward to nav­i­gat­ing through the next 20 years. And the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive could pro­vide a much-needed guid­ance for that en­deavor.

We have been re­it­er­at­ing the grand op­por­tu­ni­ties the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive of­fers, which how­ever can be taken ad­van­tage of only through new think­ing and vi­sion. Yet Hong Kong seems sat­is­fied to serve as an in­ter­me­di­ary plat­form be­tween the Chi­nese main­land and for­eign in­vestors and en­ter­prises.

If the SAR con­tin­ues to play this role, it can never cash in on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive which has the po­ten­tial of chang­ing the global econ­omy for the bet­ter. There­fore, it is time Hong Kong emerged out of its “co­coon” and spread its wings to fly and seek a bet­ter fu­ture.

First, the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple for 20 years has made Hong Kong more de­pen­dent on the main­land. As a Hong Kong econ­o­mist once said: “If Hong Kong is too de­pen­dent on the main­land, its fu­ture is doomed, and if not, its fu­ture is also doomed.” Which means for a bet­ter fu­ture, the SAR needs to find a new route, a route that no other city, prov­ince or re­gion of China can over­take it on. For ex­am­ple, with the num­ber of economies in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive con­tin­u­ing to in­crease, Hong Kong has to take im­me­di­ate mea­sures to be­come a “hub” that adds mo­men­tum to the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive to ul­ti­mately reap the ben­e­fits. And as a global in­tel­lec­tual and mer­can­tile cen­ter, the SAR has ev­ery­thing it needs to do so.

Sec­ond, Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor re­cently be­came the fourth chief ex­ec­u­tive of Hong Kong. By and large, Hong Kong gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions have been cor­rup­tion free and highly ef­fi­cient. A pop­u­lar say­ing in the SAR goes, Hong Kong needs a CE like Guanyin, the thou­sand-handed god­dess of mercy, be­cause of the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the CE-led ad­min­is­tra­tive branch, the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil-cen­tered leg­isla­tive branch and a part of the city’s vo­cif­er­ous pop­u­la­tion. And since the ad­min­is­tra­tive branch is still un­der enor­mous pres­sure, it will face dif­fi­cul­ties in trans­form­ing Hong Kong into a hub that can cash in on the op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

There­fore, the busi­ness elites have to play a greater role to en­able the SAR to de­rive the max­i­mum ben­e­fits from the ini­tia­tive. Hong Kong has thrived on the proac­tive en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit of its res­i­dents. And thanks to this spirit, many Hong Kong res­i­dents can be counted among the best en­trepreneurs in the world who have also helped make Hong Kong pros­per­ous. Look­ing for­ward to the next 20 years, and hav­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive as an un­der­pin­ning, a new era seems to be de­scend­ing on Hong Kong, an era in which en­trepreneurs can move the SAR’s econ­omy for­ward to ful­fill the de­sired goal.

And third, the SAR should not and must not be sat­is­fied by just be­ing a gi­ant su­per­mar­ket in the “Guang­dong-Hong Kong-Ma­cao Greater Bay Area”. The world of higher ed­u­ca­tion is well aware of Hong Kong’s ex­cel­lent uni­ver­si­ties and its rep­u­ta­tion as a knowl­edge­based city.

To be sure, Hong Kong’s ad­van­tages go far be­yond the three fields men­tioned above. It will en­joy as well as of­fer more op­por­tu­ni­ties in the com­ing 20 years. How­ever, to take ad­van­tage of those op­por­tu­ni­ties, Hong Kong has to throw off its “co­coon” and think and act be­yond its role as the in­ter­me­di­ary plat­form be­tween the main­land and for­eign in­vestors and en­trepreneurs.

... Hong Kong has to take im­me­di­ate mea­sures to be­come a “hub” that adds mo­men­tum to the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive to ul­ti­mately reap the ben­e­fits.

Feng Da Hsuan is spe­cial ad­vi­sor to the rec­tor and the di­rec­tor of Global Af­fairs at the Univer­sity of Ma­cau, and Liang Haim­ing is chair­man and chief econ­o­mist of China Silk Road iVal­ley Re­search In­sti­tute.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.