Guangdong’s economy grew to 5.3 times that of Hong Kong’s last year, from 4.6 times as large in 2020. Although, as a financial centre, Hong Kong helped generate the momentum of growth, it is inconceivable that the city could ever catch up with that blistering pace, let alone reverse the trend. It is far better to contemplate the opportunities for Hong Kong to prosper from its integration with the province in the Greater Bay Area economic and business hub. To give some idea of the growth potential for the city as Guangdong’s fintech centre, the manufacturing powerhouse’s economy is likely to have surpassed that of South Korea’s for the first time last year. If it were a country, it would rank in the top 10 globally. It is far from reaching its potential for growth. Even levelling uneven wealth and economic output will be positive for growth overall. Guangdong’s gross domestic product grew by 8 per cent last year to 12.4 trillion yuan (US$1.95 trillion) based on the official average annual exchange rate, according to government figures. Hong Kong’s 2021 GDP is expected to be about US$360 billion, according to the latest forecast by the University of Hong Kong. Guangdong’s growth has long topped all other provinces, transforming it into the national leader in technological innovation. But it has faced criticism of the uneven spread of wealth, with nearly half coming from Guangzhou and Shenzhen, reflecting uncoordinated regional development and an urban-rural wealth gap. Guangdong pins modest growth target on R&D, Greater Bay Area The Pearl River Delta’s share of the provincial economy has shrunk from 85 per cent in 2014 to just under 81 per cent. But as Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong says, there is a long way to go to promote the Communist Party’s vision of “common prosperity”, or the more even voluntary sharing of wealth created by development. This would involve cities in the east, west and north optimising business and industrial capacity and attracting investment. That calls for financial and technological expertise honed in a globally competitive environment, which is where the risk-taking, enterprise and adaptability at the core of Hong Kong’s success comes in. It just remains for the city to show it still has what it takes to make the most of opportunities when and however they arise.