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香港未來的繁榮,取決于中國的這項計劃

Eamon Barrett 2019年07月11日

大灣區政策最能讓人看清未來香港在世界上將會扮演什么樣的角色。

連通香港的港珠澳大橋是世界最長的跨海大橋。

大橋于去年10月開通,沒有大張旗鼓,開幕儀式也很簡短。在容納大橋三個移民檢查站之一的人工島上,中國國家主席習近平發表了簡短的講話以紀念這一時刻。這座分叉式大橋耗資150億美元,算上兩條水下隧道綿延34英里(約55公里),連通香港、澳門和中國大陸城市珠海。

雖然習主席并沒有親自穿過港珠澳大橋,但這座大橋象征著他迄今為止最雄心勃勃的政策計劃之一:將中國11個城市整合成一個占地21600平方英里(約5.6平方公里),擁有7000萬人口的超級城市群,稱之為大灣區(GBA)。對香港來說,這種更加緊密的融合可能有助于打開北方的巨大市場。而對于中國來說,習主席希望大灣區能夠與美國舊金山灣區相媲美,那里的金融服務、航運和創新已經形成了一個豐富的經濟生態系統。

《基本法》賦予了香港作為國際商業和金融中心進行運作所需要的監管自由和政治穩定。這是中國企業向海外擴張的跳板,也是瞄準中國市場的國際公司的入境口岸。

大灣區政策最能讓人看清未來香港在世界上將會扮演什么樣的角色。

什么是大灣區?

40年前,鄧小平正是在廣東啟動了中國的經濟改革政策,大灣區也是由廣東省——9個城市加上香港和澳門兩個特別行政區組成。根據匯豐銀行的研究,大灣區每年創造1.5萬億美元GDP,占中國GDP總量的12%,大致相當于整個韓國的經濟產出。

大灣區的“灣”實際上是個河口,也就是珠江流入南中國海的河口。事實上,在2016年大灣區一詞進入政策詞典之前,該地區被稱為珠江三角洲。當時,在香港與內地之間建立更加緊密的經濟伙伴關系的構思就已經在醞釀之中。北京方面和香港在2003年制定了《內地與香港關于建立更緊密經貿關系的安排》,正是為之做的鋪墊。

在實踐層面上,過去數十年間——甚至可以說是幾個世紀以來——大灣區各地的城市也一直都發揮著綜合樞紐的作用。在1841年鴉片戰爭結束時簽訂的條約將香港割讓給英國、并開放中國各地的港口之前,所有的對外貿易都是通過珠江三角洲進行。季風季節,商人們在當時還是葡萄牙殖民地的澳門避風,然后在雨季放晴后順著珠江航行到廣州進行貿易。

如今,總部設在香港的設計公司與東莞的制造商合作;佛山吸收了廣東省省會廣州的工廠溢出效應,而廣州則正在將自己重塑為一個政策和金融中心;在由香港涌入的技術和資金的推動之下,深圳實現了從漁村到大都市的指數級增長。

但是,盡管有了如此之多的合作,大灣區內部各個城市之間仍然存在一些摩擦。身為特別行政區的香港和澳門自己鑄幣,用自己的法律進行治理,管理著自己的邊界,這就為貿易和人員流動帶來了障礙。即使是港珠澳大橋,私家車主也需要向目的地城市申請駕照和許可證,才能駕車通過。

“將大灣區的一體化置于國家旗幟下是很重要的?!毙洛┎﹣唺蕵饭径麻L兼首席執行官、中國人民政治協商會議全國委員會委員何猷龍說道,該公司是一家全球娛樂和博彩集團,主要業務在澳門?!耙尨鬄硡^成為現實,就需要各個城市進行合作,因為每個城市都有各自的目標。但我認為,既然所有城市都收到了高層的開拔令,這將會有所幫助?!?/p>

“開拔令”是在2月28日發布的,當時中國國務院公布了人們期待已久的大灣區藍圖。這是典型的中國式舉措,制定了各個城市需要實現的總體目標,但缺少細節。根據這份文件,大灣區的“綜合實力”到2022年時應該“顯著增強”,然后到2035年時“大幅”躍升。

普華永道駐香港的合伙人馬修·菲利普斯表示:“有一些方向性的支持領域正在變得清晰,香港擅長從廣闊的視野中尋求主動性?!?/p>

The world’s longest open sea bridge starts in Hong Kong.

It opened with little fanfare and a short ceremony last October. President Xi Jinping of China marked the occasion with a single-sentence speech delivered from an artificial island built to house one of the bridge’s three immigration check points. Stretching 34 miles, including the length of two underwater tunnels, the $15 billion forked bridge connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.

Although Xi didn’t travel across the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge himself, the connector is symbolic of one of the president’s most ambitious policy plans to date: a scheme to unify 11 Chinese cities into a single sprawling megalopolis, covering 21,600 square miles, housing 70 million people and called the Greater Bay Area (GBA). For Hong Kong, closer integration could help open a vast market that sits just north of its border. For China, Xi hopes the GBA will rival San Francisco’s Bay Area, where financial services, shipping and innovation have formed a rich economic ecosystem.

The Basic Law grants Hong Kong the regulatory freedoms and political stability it needs to operate as a hub for international business and finance – a springboard for Chinese companies expanding overseas and an entry port for international firms targeting China.

The Greater Bay Area policy offers the best insight into what Hong Kong’s future role in the world will be.

What is the GBA?

The Greater Bay Area is comprised of nine cities in Guangdong – the southern province where Deng Xiaoping launched China’s policy of economic reform 40 years ago – plus the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. According to research from HSBC, the GBA generates $1.5 trillion in GDP each year, which is 12% of the national total for China, or roughly the same economic output as all of South Korea.

The “bay” of the GBA is really an estuary, where the mouth of the Pearl River lets out into the South China Sea. In fact, before the phrase “Greater Bay Area” entered policy lexicon in 2016, the region was referred to as the Pearl River Delta (PRD). At that time, the idea of drawing Hong Kong into closer economic partnership with the mainland was already underway. Beijing and Hong Kong developed the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) to do exactly that in 2003.

On a practical level, cities across the GBA have been working as an integrated hub for decades too, if not centuries. Before the treaties that ended the Opium War ceded Hong Kong to the British in 1841 and opened up ports around China, all foreign trade was carried out through the Pearl delta. Merchants sheltered in the Portuguese colony of Macau during the monsoon season, then sailed up the Pearl River to trade in Guangzhou when the rains cleared.

Today designers headquartered in Hong Kong partner with manufacturers in Dongguan; Foshan has absorbed factory spillover from Guangzhou, the provincial capital, which is reinventing itself as a center for policy and finance; and Shenzhen’s exponential growth from fishing village to shining metropolis was spurred by technology and funds flooding in from Hong Kong.

But for all the cooperation, there are still friction points across the GBA. As Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macau mint their own currencies, rule by their own laws and manage their own borders, which creates roadblocks for trade and the movement of people. Even for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, private car owners need to apply for a license and permit from their destination city before they can drive across.

“To put integration of the Greater Bay Area under a national banner is important,” says Lawrence Ho, Chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, a global entertainment and gaming group with its main operations in Macau, and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a national legislative advisory body. “To make the GBA happen you need the cities to play ball and cooperate because every city has their own objectives. But I think now that all the cities have received their marching orders from the top, that will help.”

The “marching orders” were issued on February 28 when the State Council, China’s cabinet, unveiled a long-awaited blueprint for the GBA. Typical of Chinese initiatives, it was short on details and instead set out general objectives for the cities to achieve. According to the document, the “combined strength” of the Greater Bay Area should “increase substantially” by 2022 and then increase “vastly” by 2035.

“There are some directional areas of support that are becoming clear and deriving individual initiatives from the broad overview is what Hong Kong is good at.” says Matthew Phillips, a Hong Kong-based partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

2018年10月1日,香港特首林鄭月娥出席升旗儀式。圖片來源:Anthony Kwan Getty Images

香港的新角色

在大灣區內部,預計香港將會利用自己作為國際金融、航空和爭議仲裁中心的地位,而國務院的藍圖還要求香港發展創新和科技。后一角色引發了一些關注,因為與被稱為中國硅谷的深圳相比,香港在科技發展方面似乎是嚴重落后的。

深圳是騰訊、華為和小米等科技巨頭的所在地;在特斯拉的競爭對手比亞的幫助下,這座城市的公交車和出租車已經實現電氣化;而且,與中國其他許多城市一樣,移動支付也是深圳的優先通貨。相比之下,香港最著名的公司是傳統的房地產企業集團和銀行;城市因缺少出租車而備受困擾;現金仍然是最常見的支付方式。

“二十年來,香港人只談論低技術?!毕愀劭萍紙@公司的首席執行官黃克強說道,該公司管理著在政府資助下成立于2001年的香港科學園?!跋愀廴擞芯湓捳f:‘高科技會制造麻煩,只有低技術才有利可圖?!蚁?,我們為此損失了二十年?!?/p>

黃克強承認,直到過去三年里,建在香港中心商務區18英里(約29公里)開外新界海岸的科學園才取得了成功。在此之前,由于科學園地處偏遠,更重要的是缺少政府資金支持,因此無法吸引和留住人才。

在去年的一次科技業活動上,香港特區行政長官林鄭月娥哀嘆,失去無人機制造商大疆是個錯誤,香港不該重蹈覆轍。去年,大疆的營收達到了210億美元。2006年,大疆的首席執行官汪滔曾經就讀于香港科技大學,他在求學期間創立了大疆,這家公司后來成為了全世界最大的無人機制造商。然而,由于在香港找不到資金支持,汪滔將這個點子帶到了深圳,也就是現在的公司總部所在地。

不過,盡管失去了大疆,香港科技園也還是在其他方面取得了重大的勝利。香港中文大學的一名教授創立了商湯科技,該公司目前是全世界最有價值的人工智能初創企業,估值高達45億美元,總部就設在香港科技園。在香港科技園里,各個企業辦公樓的大門都使用商湯科技的面部識別技術來做安保,工作人員在入口處使用一個小型視頻模塊進行掃描。

“如果大疆現在成立,我想我們會有辦法讓他們留在這里?!秉S克強說道,他指的是科技園去年從政府那里獲得的13億美元資金?!白罱粚谜浅V匾暭夹g創新,我認為我們正在迎頭趕上?!?/p>

金融的未來

香港更容易被視為金融之都,而非科技中心。過去25年里,美國智庫傳統基金會每年都將香港評為世界上最自由的經濟體。去年,香港交易所重獲全球最受歡迎的IPO市場的地位,有125家公司IPO上市,總共籌資365億美元。

2月21日,大灣區藍圖在香港舉行的一次研討會上發布。香港特區行政長官林鄭月娥在會上發表講話時強調,融合政策承諾將會維護“一國兩制”模式——香港是中國(一國)的一部分,但采用高度自治(兩制)的形式。

香港智能城市聯盟的大灣區投資委員會副主席托尼·韋爾布表示:“香港仍然是中國溝通外界的國際樞紐,我認為這一點短期內不會改變?!表f爾布正在推出一項合資計劃,以香港特別行政區與大灣區之間更加緊密的融合為主要賣點,吸引歐洲初創企業進入香港。

韋爾布還表示,讓香港融入大灣區,還需要更明確的共識。但他對未來充滿希望,并相信這一地區會繼續蓬勃發展。(財富中文網)

譯者:艾倫

審校:夏林

Hong Kong’s new role

Within the GBA, Hong Kong is expected to leverage its status as a hub for international finance, aviation and dispute arbitration. The State Council’s blueprint also charges Hong Kong with developing innovation and tech. This latter role has raised a few eyebrows since compared to its northerly neighbor Shenzhen, referred to as China’s Silicon Valley, Hong Kong appears desperately behind on tech development.

Shenzhen is home to major tech giants like Tencent, Huawei and Xiaomi; the city has electrified its public buses and taxis mostly with the help of local Tesla rival BYD; and, as in many other cities in the mainland, mobile payments are the preferred currency in Shenzhen. In contrast, Hong Kong’s most famous companies are traditional real estate conglomerates and banks; the city is plagued by a shortage of taxis; and cash is still the most common means of payment.

“For twenty years Hong Kong talked only about low tech,” says Albert Wong, CEO of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), which manages the government-funded Hong Kong Science Park, established in 2001. “Hong Kong people had a saying that ‘the high-tech causes trouble, only the low-tech is profitable.’ I think we lost twenty years to that.”

Wong admits the science park, which was built on the coast of the New Territories 18 miles from the Hong Kong’s central business district, only gained success over the past three years. Before that, the park’s remote location and, more importantly, lack of government funding meant it failed to attract and retain talent.

At a tech event last year, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the administrative region’s top lawmaker, bemoaned the loss of drone-maker DJI, a company with $21 billion in revenue last year, as a mistake Hong Kong shouldn’t repeat. DJI CEO Frank Wang was a student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2006 when he founded what would become the world’s largest drone manufacturer. However, unable to find financial support in Hong Kong, Wang took the idea to Shenzhen, where the company is now headquartered.

But even though it lost DJI, the HKSTP has had other big wins. SenseTime – founded by a professor at Chinese University Hong Kong and now the world’s most valuable A.I. start-up at $4.5 billion – is headquartered at HKSTP. The doors to the HKSTP’s corporate offices are secured using SenseTime’s facial recognition tech. Staff scan in using a small video module next to the entrance.

“If DJI was starting now, I think we‘d have a way of keeping them here,” Wong says, pointing to the $1.3 billion in funding the park received from the government last year. “The recent government has put a lot of emphasis on tech innovation and I think we’re catching up.”

The future for finance

Hong Kong is more readily considered a financial capital than a tech hub. The Heritage Foundation, a U.S. think tank, has ranked the former British colony as the world’s freest economy annually for the last 25 years. And last year, Hong Kong’s bourse regained its status as the world’s most popular destination for IPOs, with 125 companies raising $36.5 billion.

At a speech given February 21 during a symposium in Hong Kong, where the GBA blueprint was unveiled, Chief Executive Carrie Lam emphasized that the integration policy had pledged to uphold the “one country, two systems” model that currently dictates Hong Kong’s relationship with mainland China – an understanding that Hong Kong is part of China (one country) but operates with a high degree of autonomy (two systems).

“Hong Kong is still the international hub for China in and out and I don’t think that will change for a while,” says Tony Verb, vice chair of the Hong Kong Smart City Consortium’s committee on GBA investment. Verb is launching a venture to draw European start-ups into Hong Kong, using the SAR’s closer integration with the GBA as a primary selling point.

“It still need clear consensus to let Hong Kong integrate into GBA,” he says. “But I’m hopeful because this region has been thriving.”

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