Shenzhen River is no barrier to growth

Chu Kar-kin says Hong Kong will benefit from working with Shenzhen to expand the pie

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 2:43am

In the three decades since Shenzhen's opening up, there have been joint developments with Hong Kong on many levels. Capitalists in both cities joined hands to facilitate industrial expansion and pave the way for developments in logistics and the exhibition industry. Joint opportunities have arisen in the academic field, too, with five Hong Kong universities operating campuses in Shenzhen.

All this can only benefit both cities as talent is pooled and nurtured. With only a river separating the two, cultural and sporting exchanges happen frequently.

The 12th five-year plan proposes developing Shenzhen and Hong Kong into a regional hub. Qianhai, for example, can play a supporting role to Hong Kong's financial centre.

Synergy is needed to reduce friction and create a win-win environment. The cities should jointly create growth and employment opportunities for themselves as well as the Pearl River Delta region as a whole.

In the long term, given the leading roles of Shenzhen's Yantian port and Hong Kong's Kwai Chung container terminal, Shenzhen and Hong Kong have the potential to develop a marine logistics hub for southern China. With the infrastructure already in place and in the pipeline, including a railway network crossing the cities, there will be opportunities for both to expand their logistics-related industries.

Synergies across a chain of industries can help boost economic growth. For instance, exhibition and convention services are in great demand in Hong Kong and the current facilities cannot meet demand, especially during peak seasons, meaning that commercial functions may have to be hosted in hotel ballrooms. With Shenzhen's geographical advantages, it can help play host to guests from overseas, given its excellent hotel accommodation and improving services and metro network.

Take marketing as another example. Since we share the same culture, there is inevitably some duplication of resources, and this could be streamlined to the benefit of all.

With a new vision, both Shenzhen and Hong Kong can redefine their relative positions in the region by working together and marching ahead, in parallel with emerging cities in Guangdong. Working together to develop both cities into a regional hub would not prejudice our respective interests and development. If anything, this synergy will contribute to economic growth and business advancement.

We are not sharing the same cake; we are, in fact, making our cake bigger. If we choose to cross our arms, opportunities will slip away. Instead, we should cross boundaries to reach new heights.

Chu Kar-kin is convenor of a series of youth exchanges with government officials