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Cooperation zones new engines for growth: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-09-07 19:18

Skyscrapers border the lush green landscaping in Shenzhen's central business district. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council have jointly released two documents outlining the plans for the development of two zones that foster close cooperation between the mainland and the country's two special administrative regions. The documents, released on Sunday and Monday, point to the importance the central authorities attach to the development of Hong Kong and Macao, and the well-being of their residents.

How well Hong Kong and Macao are able to integrate their development with the overall social progress and economic growth of the Chinese mainland will make a big difference to their long-term prosperity and stability.

According to the document released on Monday, further reforms and greater opening-up are to be comprehensively promoted in the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone, to leverage Hong Kong's experience and expertise to advance the development of a modern service industry on the mainland and expand the opening-up of its financial sector.

The plan to establish the zone was approved by the State Council in 2010. A total of 11,500 Hong Kong-invested companies are already registered in the zone, with the registered capital reaching 1.28 trillion yuan ($198 billion), according to official data released in late August. The total area of the cooperation zone is to be expanded to 120.56 square kilometers from 14.92 square km, according to the new development plan enshrined in the document.

Further reform and opening-up measures in this cooperation zone are meant to kill two birds with one stone — to set up an exemplary zone to spearhead the coordinated development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and at the same time to provide more opportunities for Hong Kong companies and professionals.

Meanwhile, the document released on Sunday outlines the development plan for Hengqin island of Zhuhai city in Guangdong province just across from the Macao Special Administrative Region. Its development, according to the document, is to enrich the practice of "one country, two systems", and it is to be an important driving force for Macao's long-term development.

The total area of the cooperation zone will be about 106 square km, according to the plan.

The plan defines the strategic position of the zone as a new platform to boost the diversification of Macao's economy, a new space to provide living and working convenience for Macao residents, a new model to enrich the practice of "one country, two systems," as well as a new high ground for building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

With these two cooperation zones being expanded and improved, enterprises and talents from both Hong Kong and Macao will be able to better seize the opportunities of the mainland's economic growth. The continuously deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between the mainland and the SARs, combined with the preferential policies of the central authorities, will create a virtuous circle that will help promote the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

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