The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), HSBC and the Greater Bay Area Business School recently organised a seminar to help service professionals enter the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), at which industry experts analysed demand for services and how individuals and firms could seize opportunities.
Rapid development in the region has brought many opportunities for SMEs in Hong Kong. Guangzhou-based EY tax and business consulting partner Chen Jianrong said professional services in finance, high-tech and ICT R&D, medicine and biotech, infrastructure, talent recruitment and environment, and social and governance consultancy had the greatest potential.
Hong Kong’s geographical advantages also brought professional service opportunities, Li Zongxing, chairman of the GBA Human Resources and Management Association said, pointing out that Hong Kong companies could use their international advantages to help companies go global, and bring Middle Eastern companies in.
Dr Jeffery Pong, Chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Professionals, added that Hong Kong professionals such as surveyors-engineers, legal practitioners and medical personnel entering the GBA faced many challenges, including differences in culture and systems, and procedures for mutual recognition of different professions between the two places.
He believed Hong Kong’s GBA integration needed to reform the system and mechanism of the GBA’s construction to achieve mutual recognition of professional qualifications, so as to gather talents, capital and business opportunities in the area.
Hong Kong and the mainland were relaxing restrictions, broadening mutual recognition of professional qualifications and allowing qualified professionals to practice in the GBA through the filing system. Rita Man, Principal Trade Officer of Hong Kong's Trade and Industry Department, said the revised Service Trade Agreement under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Mainland China and Hong Kong had been implemented since June 2020. Preferential treatment under CEPA covered many service sectors and the beneficiary industries included the construction and related engineering services she focused on, as well as legal, accounting, medical services and other professional fields.
Edward Liu, Partner at Haiwen & Partners said a mainland legal qualification helped lawyers gain access to the market. He believed most enterprises in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and even Chengdu, even when dealing with foreign-related or cross-border transactions or disputes, usually only trusted the advice of their familiar local lawyers. To cope with this, Hong Kong lawyers should establish relationships with local lawyers to increase their exposure.
“In the past, Hong Kong used to export to the European and American markets with a "shop in the front and a factory in the back", but now it is "integrating front and rear" to explore the world market."
Christina Ong, Head of SME Banking at HSBC Hong Kong, said the bank was committed to becoming the main contact of the business community and helping companies grasp the GBA's growth potential. For example, HSBC launched the GBA Connect SME Centre in Sheung Shui, near Shenzhen, in February and is also actively using its digital link services, providing seamless cross-border banking products and services for GBA SMEs.
The HKTDC’s GoGBA one-stop platform, launched under our Transformation Sandbox (T-box) support programme in June 2021, is the go-to source for support for businesses who wish to expand their foothold in the vibrant and ever-growing GBA. It offers support online and offline that includes policy information, advisory support, training, and promotional and networking activities. In addition to our GBA Support Centre in Shenzhen, we have 7 GoGBA business support centres operated by our GoGBA partners that provide on-the-ground support across key GBA cities.