After state leader’s warning to Hong Kong, Shenzhen mayor says two cities should develop together

Xu Qin plays down remarks by Zhang Dejiang that GDP of mainland China’s hi-tech hub will overtake that of Hong Kong in two years

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 5:35pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 8:56pm

Shenzhen’s mayor played down a claim by a state leader last week that his city’s economy could overtake that of divided Hong Kong in two years and said he hoped the two could progress together.

Xu Qin, who is also Communist Party chief of Shenzhen, was responding to remarks by National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang, who warned that Hong Kong could soon be eclipsed by the fast-rising neighbouring city if it continued down the road of excessive politicisation.

“We should develop together,” Xu said when was asked about Zhang’s comments on the sidelines of NPC meetings in Beijing on Sunday.

As Hong Kong endlessly bickers over political reform, hi-tech Shenzhen forges ahead

Xu dodged a question on what edge the hi-tech hub enjoyed over Hong Kong.

At a closed-door meeting with Hong Kong deputies to the NPC last Monday, Zhang reportedly urged Hong Kong to seize the opportunities that the country had reserved for the city and ditch its “street politics”.

He said the gross domestic product of Shenzhen, a small fishing village just a few decades ago, might surpass that of Hong Kong’s within two years.

Zhang was talking a day after Premier Li Keqiang condemned calls for independence in Hong Kong.

Shenzhen’s GDP last year was 1.94 trillion yuan (HK$2.16 trillion), up 9 per cent from 2015; Hong Kong’s was HK$2.49 trillion, up 3.8 per cent from the previous year.

But Wong Ka-fu, an economist at the University of Hong Kong, said per capita GDP and productivity were better indicators of economic performance.

In 2016, Hong Kong’s per capita GDP was HK$339,273, while Shenzhen’s was 167,400 yuan.