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Greater Bay Area integration is Hong Kong’s chance to repeat history

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If past is prologue, then Hong Kong’s economic take-off after China officially established its special economic zones in the Pearl River Delta 40 years ago this summer points to a future of expanding economic horizons for our city within the Greater Bay Area.

New physical infrastructure and trade facilitation measures are in place to help drive this next cross-border transformation, which promises larger commercial flows, lower costs, higher efficiencies and greater prosperity for Hong Kong and the region.

Hong Kong has benefited tremendously from its economic interaction with the Pearl River Delta. In the 1980s and 1990s, countless small and medium-sized enterprises – the bedrock of our economy – scaled up rapidly by taking advantage of manufacturing capacity on the other side of the border. This SME miracle worked wonders for incomes, social mobility, living standards and Hong Kong’s overall stability. It also catapulted Hong Kong to the forefront of globalisation.

But the world has moved on. We have entered the era of “Industry 4.0”, which is all about digital manufacturing, the internet of things, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, and the like. With the Greater Bay Area (which includes nine southern Guangdong province cities, plus the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau), we have the unique prospect of forging a new economic alliance that will revolutionise manufacturing around the world and revitalise our related service industries.

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© South China Morning Post