Hong Kong and Shenzhen plan to strengthen economic cooperation, as cities in the Greater Bay Area accelerate partnerships to rejuvenate growth following China’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions. A delegation from Shenzhen’s Futian district signed 25 agreements with the Hong Kong government on Friday to enhance cooperation in a number of fields, including technology, business and commerce. “Hong Kong is transitioning to the stage of systematic regulation towards prosperity, while the mainland is also trying to revive every sector,” Huang Wei, the Communist Party head of Futian district, said at a briefing in Hong Kong on Friday. “Across the nation [people and cities] are striving for economic growth.” He added that Futian would provide comprehensive support to “our friends in Hong Kong” as the district seeks to attract investment and talent to drive growth. Local Chinese governments are encouraging in-person meetings and business trips as they vie for investment and talent to boost economic growth, after the country’s gross domestic product grew by 3 per cent last year, missing the annual target of around 5.5 per cent. Hong Kong has also launched a major drive to regain its economic position after three years of stagnation caused by strict Covid-19 curbs, focusing on luring international investment and talent and boosting business with the mainland. China unveils raft of measures to support Hengqin, Qianhai economic zones Futian, an important business and commercial centre and home to large multinational companies such as Walmart and Ping An Insurance Group, aims to innovate its economy with three growth engines – technology and innovation, finance and fashion. Officials from Shenzhen-based companies including artificial intelligence drug discovery firm XtalPi and Hong Kong-listed eye clinic C-MER Eye Care present at the briefing said they plan to expand cross-border cooperation and investments. The partnership underscores the mutual need to speed up the integration of the 11 cities in the Greater Bay Area, as economic recovery tops the agenda set by Beijing for this year. The two cities will undertake joint initiatives to attract foreign investment and companies, said Bernard Chan Pak-li, undersecretary for commerce and economic development. “Hong Kong serves as a two-way platform, bringing foreign companies and funds to the Greater Bay Area for on-site tours and connecting them with different companies,” Chan said. “We are also trying to help firms in the Greater Bay Area go abroad and find business opportunities together.” Cities in the Greater Bay Area also increasingly engaging with each other following the resumption of quarantine-free travel on February 6. On Thursday, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu wrapped up his first official trip to cities in the region . Ronald Tam, the chief financial officer of XtalPi, said that his company plans to speed up its expansion in Hong Kong, thanks partly to the government’s policies announced in the budget to attract talent. “We are actively planning [to open] our AI dry lab into Hong Kong, and we hope to have 10-30 colleagues relocate to Hong Kong,” said Tam.