Let Hong Kong’s young people help create a Qianhai ‘super zone’
- It is no surprise the Hong Kong government’s efforts at promoting the Greater Bay Area to young people have been ineffective so far
- Hong Kong needs bold, innovative planning that puts people first and promotes social inclusiveness and collaboration from the bottom up to make the Qianhai plan a success
Many respondents expressed concern about low salaries, even though having a higher salary could make employers more demanding and mainland colleagues jealous. Employment prospects after the 18-month period were another issue. Work experience on the mainland might not be recognised in Hong Kong and youths could find it difficult to get another job after returning home.
If these young people want to stay on the mainland, they may struggle to find a job with a monthly salary above HK$18,000, as the average for jobs in most cities in the Greater Bay Area is less than 60 per cent of similar positions in Hong Kong. In addition, the survey found that young people were worried about freedom of information and quality of life on the mainland.
After discussions with the central government, Ho said, an agreement for “normal online communication” was reached to support information collection by researchers and contribute to the development of scientific research in the area.
The key point is that Macau authorities succeeded in removing one of the pain points that stifle communication. I believe that, once this is implemented, Hengqin will become a success, enjoying conveniences not available elsewhere in mainland China, and will be able to better connect with the international community.
Can the Hong Kong government think out of the box like Macau and engage more locals, especially young people, to embrace this new opportunity? If not, I am afraid the Qianhai plan will remain an empty promise.
I would like to propose an experimental area in Qianhai – a “super zone” where Hong Kong’s young people can apply their skills for a brighter future. It should have forward-looking smart planning, in line with cutting-edge technology apps, which are convenient for residents, with a focus on sustainability and resilience.
In fact, this is not really a new idea. Hong Kong, the mainland and places around the world are developing smart cities as an effective way to maintain local vitality and competitiveness. The core idea of smart cities is to put people first and promote social inclusiveness and collaboration from the bottom up, to create great synergies.
How can Hong Kong converge smoothly with mainland cities? That will depend on how creative and innovative the Hong Kong government can be. I am hoping that Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will deliver innovative and inclusive planning solutions, rather than haphazard measures, in her policy address.
After all, being aware of people’s feelings and conforming to their wishes have always been at the core of governance. If the government and the people share the same vision and embrace it together, Qianhai has a great chance to join the international community and achieve Hong Kong-like success.
Winnie Tang is adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Hong Kong