A panoramic view of the financial area in Hong Kong. (Photo: Xinhua)
Guangzhou's 'holistic policy' to make city more attractive for entrepreneurs
Hong Kong businesswoman Terrie Fung Tak-yee has found herself traveling more often to the Chinese mainland in recent years. Her company, Shop Easy, has expanded its customer base from Hong Kong to Shenzhen and Guangzhou in Guangdong province, as well as Shanghai.
The frequent travel and growing number of customers have prompted Fung, who is about 30, to consider establishing a branch office in the mainland, preferably Guangzhou due to its proximity. A private incubator in Guangzhou sent her an invitation three months ago. Surprisingly, she declined.
She said she was afraid that she would be deceived as she was not well-informed about accurate local information, nor did she have local networks.
But the problem Fung faces may not be a problem anymore thanks to a new policy announced by the Guangzhou municipal government on May 30.
The policy, with 1 billion yuan ($144 million) financial assistance from the Guangzhou government, covers six aspects concerning study, careers and living. It applies to Hong Kong and Macao residents aged between 15 and 44.
The new holistic policy, following a series of measures to further implement the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area released in February, is the city's latest move to engage talented Hong Kong and Macao people who want to work and live in the 11-city cluster.
Under the policy, which took effect on June 1, a service center and 10 incubators for young Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs will be established within three years.
The incubators will receive 1 million yuan in total funding, and offer rent-free working space for six months and other conveniences such as a registered business address. Guangzhou will also offer 1,000 apartments and subsidized housing units in the next few years for Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs who meet the policy criteria.
Frankie Ngan Man-yu, president of the youth wing of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said it is a big step forward as housing has been a pressing issue for Hong Kong students who would like to work in the Bay Area after graduation. He also suggested that the Guangzhou government work with Hong Kong to offer monthly high-speed rail passes or student discounts.
After the Bay area development plan was announced in February, the Hong Kong United Youth Association conducted a survey of Hong Kong students' employment intentions.
The survey showed more than 80 percent of respondents were willing to work in the mainland. Seventy-five percent believed the internship experience would enhance their competitiveness, and most expected to learn more about the mainland market and vocational culture.
Dong Zilue, a final year student from Hong Kong, took part in an internship program last year at a leading internet company in Guangzhou. He said the mainland has a flourishing digital economy that Hong Kong lacked, and his internship experience helped him learn the latest industry trends and accumulate local contacts.
Dong's internship was organized by the Guangdong provincial government and the Hong Kong government. The program started in 2015, and so far more than 1,000 Hong Kong students have taken part.
This summer, more than 300 students from Hong Kong universities will take up internships at large State-owned enterprises and leading companies in Guangzhou for about one month, said Lei Weiju, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of Guangzhou government.