Several key infrastructure projects including a high-speed rail and a cross-sea bridge will help Hong Kong get a better connection with the mainland market, said a senior Hong Kong trade promoter.[Special coverage]
The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, expected to be open for traffic next year, will cut the travel time from Hong Kong to Guangzhou from two hours to only 48 minutes, with trains setting off from Hong Kong every 15 minutes, Ralph Chow, Hong Kong Trade Development Council's regional director for Americas, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Referring to another project under construction -- the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge, Chow said: "We can drive over to Macau and also to the western part of the Pearl River Delta."
The project spans the Pearl River Delta and is part of China's plan to develop the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
"I think that will help Hong Kong get a better connection with the surrounding cities in the region, help Hong Kong maintain its status as the gateway to the mainland market...more importantly, a lot of the overseas companies can also get access to the Chinese market more conveniently through the Hong Kong platform," he said.
INTEGRATION WITH MAINLAND ECONOMY CONTINUES
Noting that the mainland market was essential for Hong Kong's sustained stability and prosperity in the past two decades, Chow said that it is important to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China to reinforce people's confidence in the "one country, two systems" principle.
"Obviously China offers tremendous business opportunities for both Hong Kong and the international businessmen, so I think they obviously are quite comfortable to operate through the Hong Kong platform in assessing the Chinese market," he said.
"Well, I think our integration with the mainland economy will continue. We'll continue to serve as the gateway to the Chinese mainland and also to other Asian markets," he said.
Currently, nearly 60 percent of Chinese outbound investment goes through Hong Kong which serves as a "very useful and effective conduit for the two-way business between China and the rest of the world," he said.
Chow believes Hong Kong's role as a gateway will be further strengthened as the central government pushes forward the Belt and Road Initiative that aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
On one hand, Hong Kong has a lot of professional services that can help companies invest or get involved in the projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
On the other hand, Hong Kong is a global financial center, and a lot of projects planned as part of the Belt and Road infrastructure network would need financing, and Hong Kong will be able to help, said Chow
Hong Kong is also the place where East meets West, he added. "We'll be able to serve as the conduit for the exchanges between countries from the Belt and Road region."