New policies to aid SARs' young people

2021-03-24 12:03:37

SHI YU/CHINA DAILY Guangdong cities offering new business and study support for talents from Hong Kong and Macao A number of cities in Guangdong province have rolled out preferential policies to further attract young people from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. In the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) of the province's capital Guangzhou, for example, authorities pledge to optimize policies to facilitate study, employment, business startups and living standards for residents from the two regions. The plan also promises to continue building bases for innovation and entrepreneurship for young people from the SARs. Shenzhen has vowed to optimize its services for Hong Kong and Macao residents in innovation and business startups and aims to offer the same living entitlements as locals. In Zhuhai, the local government plans to explore ways to give the same treatment to residents from neighboring Macao as locals and make it easier for young people from the SAR to study, work and live in the city. It will also explore "green cards" for talented people from Hong Kong and Macao. The new support for young people from the SARs came as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area marked the second anniversary of its outline development plan. Previous policies on issues such as processing of cross-border business license applications, tax subsidies, residence permits and cross-border office buildings have lowered the costs for young people from Hong Kong and Macao of starting businesses, said Zhang Guangnan, a professor of the Institute of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Development Studies at Sun Yat-sen University. Other policies have helped address issues such as insufficient resources and unbalanced opportunities for starting businesses, as well as solutions to different cross-border corporate cultures. However, he added that additional efforts were needed to tackle these issues. More government agencies and organizations in Guangdong, including educational authorities, universities, and the Hong Kong and Macao affairs offices, have joined in the efforts and widened the policy rollouts. The central government and the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as city governments in Guangdong, have all issued policies including those on taxation, financial support and housing. Que Guangling, an official with Guangzhou's United Front Work Department, said this month the city had offered 1 billion yuan ($153.8 million) to support Hong Kong and Macao youths start businesses. A project guideline to encourage innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors by Hong Kong and Macao people, which offers up to 4.5 million yuan for a single project, is also in place. Forty-four innovation and business startup bases for people from the SARs are operating in Guangzhou, accommodating 349 projects, including those in the fields of high-technology, e-commerce, biopharmaceuticals and animation. The projects have resulted in 1,401 product patents and drawn investment financing of more than 1 billion yuan. A total of 17,310 local social security cards have been issued to people from Hong Kong and Macao. Zhang said all policies are cooperative and competitive, with local advantages taken into account, such as special economic zones, free trade zones, the business environment and industrial and cultural features. The corporate sector is also offering internships and job opportunities to young people from the SARs. Public service platforms have sprung up in cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, which are run by Hong Kong and Macao people, government agencies and enterprises. The participation of enterprises indicates that more policies are being turned into concrete results, with businesses eyeing projects for investment, Zhang said. Institutions offering support to young people from Hong Kong and Macao are paying greater attention to how many are being served by the policies, whether they have better knowledge of the Bay Area and whether their education makes them proficient enough to apply their skills in practical terms. Zhang said both the government and corporate sides are looking more at the realization of projects, be they commercial ones or professional services. An increase in turning policies into concrete results is also attributable to closer coordination between various government agencies. Meanwhile, integration in the Bay Area has been advancing, facilitating complementary development and increasing career paths for young people from Hong Kong and Macao. SAR people excel in manufacturing and commercial services, which have wider application on the mainland, especially in Guangdong's highly developed manufacturing sector and also under the country's dual-circulation strategy. Liang Haiming, chairman of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute, said the efforts to support the SARs' young people and grasp "huge opportunities" had arisen from the building up of the Bay Area. He suggested the policies be honed to offer support to those with fewer financial resources and job skills.