GBA’s favorable policies a boost for businesses

Zeng Xinlan and Ao Yulu

GBA’s favorable policies a boost for businesses

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area offers abundant opportunities for Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs and younger generations, backed by preferential policies and market demand, business leaders and experts told the Greater Bay Area Conference on Tuesday.

“There are huge opportunities for community-level medical services from the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) and the Greater Bay Area, especially in elderly care and the treatment of common chronic diseases,” noted Kevin Lau Chung-hang, founding director of Trinity Medical Centre, a Hong Kong-based healthcare services provider.

The huge market demand for healthcare services is created by the region’s rapid economic growth and an aging population, he said.

Besides the market potential, the favorable policies of local governments would benefit businesses in the Greater Bay Area in four key areas — infrastructure interoperability, financial interconnection, science and innovation, as well as urban strategy.

There are also other advantages, such as tax incentives and land supply, which can substantially encourage companies to expand in the region, said Lau.

“It was announced two months ago that drugs, vaccines and machines that are available in Hong Kong can now enter the GBA tariff-free and be subject to the same taxes we pay in Hong Kong. That’s a huge game changer.”

He said Hong Kong is uniquely placed for the medical industry to develop, backed by top-notch medical research institutions and the sector’s maturity.

According to the latest statistics from Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau, the SAR’s healthcare system, by global standards, has higher quality health services and better results at relatively low expenditures, taking up only 6.5 percent of the city’s GDP last year.

Patrick Lau, deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, noted that many startups in the Greater Bay Area have developed rapidly in recent years, taking advantage of the preferential policies of the central and local governments.

Citing the case of a successful pet-insurance company operating in the Greater Bay Area, Patrick Lau said the region is a place to find key consumers. “That’s why they want to expand there as the first step.”

The Greater Bay Area is also a good place for businesses to tap the Chinese mainland’s huge market. “Many international enterprises are very keen about doing business in more GBA cities and have reached from their Hong Kong and overseas offices amid the pandemic. Everyone is very keen about the opportunities in the region,” he said.

Patrick Lau noted that the HKTDC has launched GoGBA — a platform that provides constantly updated policies in the region for entrepreneurs and startups. “The GBA is a very competitive market. That’s why entrepreneurs have to be very well prepared and do adequate research concerning their own business sectors. They need to utilize all the available government incentives and policies to ensure they have a bigger chance of success,” he said.

Clarence Ling Chun-kit, director of Kwai Hung Group, urged young people to explore the opportunities in the Greater Bay Area themselves. “You never know unless you experience it yourself, unless you know what’s happening. Sometimes, Hong Kong people are too proud of themselves. I suggest that Hong Kong’s youngsters go across the border regularly and be on the ground to know what’s going on, and contribute to the country.”

William Shum, founder and chief executive officer of Memorigin Watch Co, shared his experience in leveraging the market potential of the watch industry in the Greater Bay Area.

To many people, the watch industry seems very traditional, he said. But, Hong Kong is a good place that embraces different cultures. “It’s a good window to the global market with the merging of Eastern and Western designs. By merging East and West, we can convince customers (to buy our products) and develop (our company) in the GBA in a very fast and efficient way.”

With a blended culture and an open atmosphere, Shum said he introduces different elements into his products. These include not only Hong Kong art or comics, but also well-known Western icons, such as Marvel and Disney. With the combination of Western and Eastern designs, the products can vary to accommodate various customers.

“We can contribute to the nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan(2021-25) by using Hong Kong’s unique hub status and also the strengths of other GBA cities to develop the country’s ‘dual circulation’ strategy step by step,” he added.

Contact the writers at xinlanzeng@chinadailyhk.com