Ambitious people seeking a can-do city have streamed to Hong Kong for many years, making the city a magnet for talent. This talent magnet is now expanding more than 10 times in size and strength as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area opens up to world business.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in December launched a three-year Action Plan for the Development of International First-class Business Environment in the GBA. The plan aims to further deepen cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao and create a market-oriented, law-based, international, first-class business environment to enhance market integration level and international competitiveness.
The NDRC said the GBA, as one of the most open and economically dynamic parts of China, had an important strategic position in overall development. The action plan proposed four major working principles – people first; innovative leadership; mutual, win-win benefit; and openness and inclusiveness.
The plan aims to establish a globally integrated business environment in the GBA with institutions geared towards cooperative, rules-based and market-oriented links with the world.
The GBA will become a world-class creative output hub as global links improve. GBA firms and organisations will boost their ability to gather and allocate resources from across the world, creating an internationally competitive business environment, ranking among the best in the world.
The action plan proposed five key steps to comprehensively optimise the business environment of the GBA.
Firstly, for overseas businesses and talent, the key step is launching a GBA Connect project, further streamlining cross-border customs clearance, and allowing overseas citizens who are Hong Kong and Macao permanent residents to access the nine mainland cities.
These visitors will be able to negotiate business, carry out science and education cultural and health exchange activities. The scheme will also facilitate application for long-term visas and encourage Hong Kong and Macao residents to settle in Guangdong and expand the employment and entrepreneurship space for Hong Kong and Macao residents.
Secondly, the plan will aim for a unified, competitive market environment with optimal market access, especially in the Hengqin Guangdong-Macao Deep Cooperation Zone, and support Guangzhou Nansha in launching a pilot programme to relax market access.
Enterprise production and operation costs will fall while water, electricity, heating and other utility tariffs will be standardised. Fees for industry associations, chambers of commerce and intermediary agencies will also be standardised.
Thirdly, transform the GBA by introducing a low-cost regulatory platform with enterprise-related subsidies, rewards and other policies will create a service-oriented and uniform business environment geared to benefit enterprises, with an improved government to business (G2B) communication and appeals mechanism. The government will increase data transparency, with sharing of statistical information across regions and departments.
Fourthly enhance intellectual property rights protection, GBA centres will jointly build a data-rich IP trading platform public service platform and thematic database, with improved access to overseas IP information.And finally seek increased interaction with Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) economies, enhancing competitiveness and integrating the GBA with global supply chains.