Vice-President Xi Jinping, who starts his three-day tour of Hong Kong today, is seeking closer cross-border co-operation. Making a success of it would have far-reaching implications for Taiwan's reunification with the mainland, he said. 'Deepening the partnership between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau and fostering the development of Hong Kong and Macau has a significant meaning. 'It can powerfully demonstrate the success of 'one country, two systems' and eventually contribute to the reunification of the motherland,' Mr Xi was quoted by Xinhua as saying. The vice-president, who is in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, stopped over in Guangdong on Friday on his way to Hong Kong. It will be his first visit here since he was appointed head of the central leading group on Hong Kong and Macau affairs in November. There has been speculation that Mr Xi will announce a new phase of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement free-trade pact with Hong Kong during his visit. The mainland government has long touted the 'one country, two systems' model in its campaign to persuade Taiwan to accept reunification, although the argument has found scant acceptance there. During his trip to Guangdong, Mr Xi visited several Hong Kong-owned companies. He expressed concern about the effect of soaring oil and commodities prices on them and about their shrinking export market. The vice-president, seen as the man most likely to succeed President Hu Jintao in five years' time, ordered the provincial government to map out 'detailed and fresh measures' to help floundering Hong Kong companies. He said the services sector should be the focus of cross-border co-operation, which should involve a gradual approach, with the section ripest for partnership to go first. During his visit, Mr Xi will inspect Hong Kong's preparations to host Olympic equestrian events, meet officials and visit local families. Guangdong economist Ding Li said Mr Xi's push for closer cross-border ties would give officials and the public confidence to pursue more meaningful co-operation. Since last year, Guangdong authorities have repeatedly called for its people to learn from Hong Kong and asked its main cities, such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen, to try to emulate the city. Guangdong's newly appointed party chief, Wang Yang , made it one of his priorities to enhance co-operation between the province and Hong Kong. The provincial governor, Huang Huahua , has said that Hong Kong and Shenzhen should consider becoming twin cities, and Shenzhen's mayor, Xu Zongheng , has called for a consensus to be worked out as soon as possible on better economic integration between the two cities.