Hong Kong authorities will step up the amount of help offered to local young people looking to take up internships or set up businesses in the mainland, the city’s deputy leader has said, noting that local youths have certain comparative advantages over their mainland counterparts.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung also dismissed suggestions that Hong Kong would be marginalised or “mainlandised” by its neighbours across the border, such as the tech hub Shenzhen, which was recently described by President Xi Jinping as “an important engine” in the Greater Bay Area plan – a project to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland cities into an economic powerhouse. Cheung argued that Hong Kong continued to have an important role to play, and could complement its mainland neighbours in the national development blueprint. “Hong Kong has always been Shenzhen’s biggest source of foreign investments, with some 80 per cent of Shenzhen’s foreign investments coming through Hong Kong,” he wrote. “The economic cooperation of the two places would be an important driving force for prosperity … Hong Kong and Shenzhen should aim at achieving a win-win cooperation, deepening their cooperation and making Hong Kong and Shenzhen a dual engine for growth in the Greater Bay Area.”
Cheung said he also believed that the bay area project can become a springboard for young Hongkongers’ careers. “Hong Kong young people grew up in this internationalised metropolis; they know different languages and cultures, and have a broad international vision,” he said. “We will further help Hong Kong young entrepreneurs to discover the opportunities offered by the Greater Bay Area … The [project] is a new runway, as well as a new option, for the young.”nCheung also said the Hong Kong government had been encouraging exchanges of young people between the city and the mainland, saying an average of more than 60,000 Hong Kong young people were allowed opportunities every year to gain experience on the mainland through various internship and exchange programmes.
Hong Kong’s future and its continued prominence were thrown into doubt earlier this month when President Xi appeared to favour Shenzhen as the linchpin of the bay area in an address at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of its special economic zone.