The expanded Qianhai zone in Shenzen will be 1.5 times larger than Hong Kong Island and will help drive the SAR’s economy, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says.
Her comments came after the State Council announced that the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone will be expanded eightfold from 14.9 square kilometers to 120.5 sq km.
Lam said Qianhai has more than 11,500 Hong Kong enterprises and “a lot of investments” from the SAR, including youth entrepreneurship projects. The economic zone has also opened up more professional services for Hongkongers.
“With this expansion of Qianhai from less than 15 square kilometers to over 120 square kilometers, it will of course give us a much, much greater hinterland that we will continue to provide our professional services in many years to come,” she said.
“If Hong Kong prospers with an international financial center and all the commercial developments on both sides of Victoria Harbour, you could imagine how many opportunities it will bring to Hong Kong’s various sectors and professionals.”
Lam urged professionals and youngsters in Hong Kong to get to know the Qianhai plan more.
Meanwhile, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said Hong Kong’s leading role in finance will not be affected by the development plan in Qianhai. Speaking to reporters after a public event yesterday, Chan said Hong Kong and Qianhai could supplement each other with their own advantages.
He said Hong Kong’s financial sector is the most competitive industry in the city and it has “weathered one crisis after another.”
Chan added: “The Hong Kong market is the face of international investors and funds, in which we still have considerable advantage, but at the same time, we have to keep improving ourselves.”
He said the SAR government and financial regulators will have strategic plans in developing the financial center’s status.
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah called on the legal and dispute-resolution services sector to grab the opportunities in Qianhai.
With the expanded Qianhai zone, she said more Hong Kong-owned enterprises would adopt Hong Kong laws and arbitration to be seated in Hong Kong.
It is a policy, she added, that allows Hong Kong-invested enterprises to freely choose Hong Kong law and way of arbitration over disputes as the applicable law for civil and commercial contracts in the absence of any “foreign-related elements.”
State media People’s Daily said the new Qianhai and Hengqin plans play a leading role in the establishment of the Greater Bay Area. The Hengqin plan pushes for closer mainland economic ties with Macau.