Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council Director Zhang Xiaoming said at the weekend that enhancing the well-being of the people in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA), particularly in terms of creating more opportunities for young people, is one of the intentions of the city cluster initiative.
He also urged Macau’s young people to grasp the “plentiful” GBA opportunities and to learn from their mainland counterparts – and vice versa.
Zhang made the remarks while delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the Youth Forum on Jointly Building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, at the Venetian in Cotai on Saturday.
The two-day forum, which ended yesterday, included five sub-forums that took place concurrently on Saturday with the five themes concerning the portfolios under the local government’s respective five policy secretaries and a round-table meeting among young leaders yesterday.
The Greater Bay Area refers to the central government’s scheme to link the nation’s two special administrative regions – Hong Kong and Macau – and the nine Pearl River Delta (PRD) cities – Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan and Zhuhai – into an integrated economic and business hub. The scheme is also known as 9+2.
The two-day forum, with the theme “Fight in Your Youth, Realise Your Dreams”, attracted over 1,400 guests including government officials and youth representatives from the 11 GBA cities. The forum was organised by the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) government.
In his speech, Zhang said that recent policies announced by the central government and the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau have created a stronger framework for Hong Kong and Macau residents to study, work, start a business and live on the mainland.
Zhang also noted the various measures launched by the central government with the aim of supporting researchers from the two special administrative regions to participate in the mainland’s scientific and technological development.
The Guangdong government has created over 860 business incubators and platforms for mass entrepreneurship and innovation in Hengqin, Nansha and Qianhai – three pilot free trade zones in the cities of Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen respectively – with the aim of supporting young people from Hong Kong and Macau in starting their own business, Zhang said.
The push for mass entrepreneurship and innovation was first put forward by Premier Li Keqiang during the Annual Meeting of the New Champions (also known as Summer Davos) in the northern municipality of Tianjin in 2014.
The Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link – which came into operation last month – and the soon-to-open Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) Bridge would enormously improve the transport connectivity in the Greater Bay Area, Zhang said, adding that all this would significantly boost the development of cities on the west bank of the Greater Bay Area and make a one-hour commute in the area a reality.
Zhang stressed that the GBA residents will be the “biggest” beneficiaries of the conurbation’s development. In addition, young people from Hong Kong and Macau are important participants in the GBA development, he pointed out, adding that some young people from the two special administrative regions who took the initiative to seize the opportunities had already made a success of it.
Zhang noted that the three jurisdictions of the Greater Bay Area have their respective unique advantages and that the area is “full of opportunities”. He said that success would always come to those who are forward-looking and good at grasping opportunities.
As long as young people from Hong Kong and Macau have high aspirations, show their willingness to work hard, are dedicated, strive for innovation, and learn from their counterparts on the mainland and vice versa, they will surely be able to realise their dreams in the Greater Bay Area, Zhang said.
Zhang, 55, is a former director of the Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong.
Also addressing the opening ceremony, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On called for concerted efforts to create better conditions for young people in the Greater Bay Area for them to achieve success in the area.
Chui said he believed that the GBA initiative would serve as a new platform and bring unprecedented opportunities for young people’s personal development.
Chui pledged that his government will grasp the opportunities created by the GBA initiative and take the initiative to participate in the GBA development.