Hong Kong's Challenges Under the Greater Bay Area

大灣區下香港的挑戰

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大灣區下香港的挑戰

In terms of economic scale and growth potential, the Guangdong-hong Kongmacao Greater Bay Area are comparable to the world's three largest bay areas. However, there are still many obstacles and challenges in implementation and support.

The development of the Greater Bay Area should be integrated with logistics flow, capital flow, and information flow. The free flow of talent is the most important. The problem of housing in Hong Kong is severe and property prices are rising rapidly. Some analysts have encouraged Hong Kong people to move to the Greater Bay Area in the belief that it can effectively solve the current housing shortage issue in Hong Kong. However, the problems of transportation, medical care and home ownership that comes with cross-border housing also need to be addressed. With large-scale crossboundary infrastructure projects such as the Hong Kong-zhuhai-macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-shenzhen-hong Kong Express Rail Link soon to be completed, the distance between Hong Kong and other cities in the Greater Bay Area will be much shortened and transportation time will be greatly trimmed. It is expected that the Greater Bay Area will be built into a ‘one hour living circle'—whereby travelling to and from Hong Kong will only take an hour.

In addition to transportation policies, residence and medical care are also the main issues hindering the free flow of talent in the Greater Bay Area. In recent years, housing policies in the mainland concerning purchase of properties include measures for restrictions on purchases, on sales, on loans, on foreign sales, and price limits, which target both local and foreign residents. Mortgage is also another hurdle Hong Kong residents have to cross in purchasing mainland properties. Some mainland cities do not allow Hongkongers to take out mortgage loans in local banks, making it more difficult to exchange talents between cities in the Greater Bay Area. It also reduces Hongkongers' desire to move into the Greater Bay Area. Also, due to the differences in medical systems between the two locales, Hong Kong citizens are not entitled to local Chinese medical benefits as they have not paid medical insurance in the mainland, so their medical expenses are relatively high. Although Hong Kong people have medical insurance in Hong Kong, most hospitals in mainland China do not accept it as it is classified as overseas medical insurance. Generally, patients would need to pay for their medical expenses before applying for compensation.

The integration of the Greater Bay Area is currently the biggest challenge. The Greater Bay Area involves two political and economic systems and three customs regions; the free flow of talent and a smooth logistics for capital and information flow has yet to be achieved in the Bay Area. Apart from crossborder convenience brought by the opening of the Guangzhou-shenzhen-hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kongzhuhai-macao Bridge, medical and property issues in the mainland are among the critical factors for Hong Kong people looking to move into the Greater Bay Area.

在經濟規模方面,粵港澳大灣區的規模及發展潛力絕對可媲美世界三大灣區,但是目前在實施及配套上仍存在障礙及挑戰。大灣區要融合發展,讓物流、資金流及信息流的流通更便利,人才自由流動最為重要。香港住屋問題嚴峻,樓價不斷上升,有分析鼓勵港人移居大灣區,認為能有效解決現時香港樓價及住屋問題,但跨境居住帶來的交通、醫療、置業等問題也需要解決。隨著各項大型跨境基建例如港珠澳大橋及廣深港高鐵即將落成,香港與大灣區其他城市距離大大拉近,交通時間亦因此縮減,有望將大灣區打造成一小時生活圈。

除了交通政策外,居住及醫療問題也是阻礙人才在大灣區自由流動的原因。近年國內有關買房的政策包括限購、限售、限貸、限外、限價等措施,除了針對當地居民,也包括非戶籍居民。按揭亦是港人在內地置業另一個困難,部分內地城市並不容許港人在內地銀行做按揭貸款,令大灣區城市之間的交流變得困難,亦令港人移居大灣區意欲降低。而港人在內地醫療問題方面,由於兩地醫療制度存在差異,港人未在內地繳納醫保,因而無法享受醫療福利,其醫療花費也相對較高。港人雖有香港的醫療保險,但目前內地大部分醫院不接受境外醫療保險,一般需先繳付醫療費用後再申請賠償。

大灣區規劃以融合為宗旨亦是目前面對最大的挑戰,例如大灣區涉及兩種政治經濟制度,三個關稅區,區內的人流、物流、資金流和信息流尚未完全實現自由流動。對於港人而言,除了高鐵香港段與港珠澳大橋通車會帶來的跨境便利外,在內地的醫療及置業等問題亦是移居大灣區的重要考慮因素。

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