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香港未来的繁荣,取决于中国的这项计划

Eamon Barrett 2019年07月11日

大湾区政策最能让人看清未来香港在世界上将会扮演什么样的角色。

连通香港的港珠澳大桥是世界最长的跨海大桥。

大桥于去年10月开通,没有大张旗鼓,开幕仪式也很简短。在容纳大桥三个移民检查站之一的人工岛上,中国国家主席习近平发表了简短的讲话以纪念这一时刻。这座分叉式大桥耗资150亿美元,算上两条水下隧道绵延34英里(约55公里),连通香港、澳门和中国大陆城市珠海。

虽然习主席并没有亲自穿过港珠澳大桥,但这座大桥象征着他迄今为止最雄心勃勃的政策计划之一:将中国11个城市整合成一个占地21600平方英里(约5.6平方公里),拥有7000万人口的超级城市群,称之为大湾区(GBA)。对香港来说,这种更加紧密的融合可能有助于打开北方的巨大市场。而对于中国来说,习主席希望大湾区能够与美国旧金山湾区相媲美,那里的金融服务、航运和创新已经形成了一个丰富的经济生态系统。

《基本法》赋予了香港作为国际商业和金融中心进行运作所需要的监管自由和政治稳定。这是中国企业向海外扩张的跳板,也是瞄准中国市场的国际公司的入境口岸。

大湾区政策最能让人看清未来香港在世界上将会扮演什么样的角色。

什么是大湾区?

40年前,邓小平正是在广东启动了中国的经济改革政策,大湾区也是由广东省——9个城市加上香港和澳门两个特别行政区组成。根据汇丰银行的研究,大湾区每年创造1.5万亿美元GDP,占中国GDP总量的12%,大致相当于整个韩国的经济产出。

大湾区的“湾”实际上是个河口,也就是珠江流入南中国海的河口。事实上,在2016年大湾区一词进入政策词典之前,该地区被称为珠江三角洲。当时,在香港与内地之间建立更加紧密的经济伙伴关系的构思就已经在酝酿之中。北京方面和香港在2003年制定了《内地与香港关于建立更紧密经贸关系的安排》,正是为之做的铺垫。

在实践层面上,过去数十年间——甚至可以说是几个世纪以来——大湾区各地的城市也一直都发挥着综合枢纽的作用。在1841年鸦片战争结束时签订的条约将香港割让给英国、并开放中国各地的港口之前,所有的对外贸易都是通过珠江三角洲进行。季风季节,商人们在当时还是葡萄牙殖民地的澳门避风,然后在雨季放晴后顺着珠江航行到广州进行贸易。

如今,总部设在香港的设计公司与东莞的制造商合作;佛山吸收了广东省省会广州的工厂溢出效应,而广州则正在将自己重塑为一个政策和金融中心;在由香港涌入的技术和资金的推动之下,深圳实现了从渔村到大都市的指数级增长。

但是,尽管有了如此之多的合作,大湾区内部各个城市之间仍然存在一些摩擦。身为特别行政区的香港和澳门自己铸币,用自己的法律进行治理,管理着自己的边界,这就为贸易和人员流动带来了障碍。即使是港珠澳大桥,私家车主也需要向目的地城市申请驾照和许可证,才能驾车通过。

“将大湾区的一体化置于国家旗帜下是很重要的。”新濠博亚娱乐公司董事长兼首席执行官、中国人民政治协商会议全国委员会委员何猷龙说道,该公司是一家全球娱乐和博彩集团,主要业务在澳门。“要让大湾区成为现实,就需要各个城市进行合作,因为每个城市都有各自的目标。但我认为,既然所有城市都收到了高层的开拔令,这将会有所帮助。”

“开拔令”是在2月28日发布的,当时中国国务院公布了人们期待已久的大湾区蓝图。这是典型的中国式举措,制定了各个城市需要实现的总体目标,但缺少细节。根据这份文件,大湾区的“综合实力”到2022年时应该“显著增强”,然后到2035年时“大幅”跃升。

普华永道驻香港的合伙人马修·菲利普斯表示:“有一些方向性的支持领域正在变得清晰,香港擅长从广阔的视野中寻求主动性。”

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,香港特首林郑月娥出席升旗仪式。图片来源:Anthony Kwan Getty Images

香港的新角色

在大湾区内部,预计香港将会利用自己作为国际金融、航空和争议仲裁中心的地位,而国务院的蓝图还要求香港发展创新和科技。后一角色引发了一些关注,因为与被称为中国硅谷的深圳相比,香港在科技发展方面似乎是严重落后的。

深圳是腾讯、华为和小米等科技巨头的所在地;在特斯拉的竞争对手比亚的帮助下,这座城市的公交车和出租车已经实现电气化;而且,与中国其他许多城市一样,移动支付也是深圳的优先通货。相比之下,香港最著名的公司是传统的房地产企业集团和银行;城市因缺少出租车而备受困扰;现金仍然是最常见的支付方式。

“二十年来,香港人只谈论低技术。”香港科技园公司的首席执行官黄克强说道,该公司管理着在政府资助下成立于2001年的香港科学园。“香港人有句话说:‘高科技会制造麻烦,只有低技术才有利可图。’我想,我们为此损失了二十年。”

黄克强承认,直到过去三年里,建在香港中心商务区18英里(约29公里)开外新界海岸的科学园才取得了成功。在此之前,由于科学园地处偏远,更重要的是缺少政府资金支持,因此无法吸引和留住人才。

在去年的一次科技业活动上,香港特区行政长官林郑月娥哀叹,失去无人机制造商大疆是个错误,香港不该重蹈覆辙。去年,大疆的营收达到了210亿美元。2006年,大疆的首席执行官汪滔曾经就读于香港科技大学,他在求学期间创立了大疆,这家公司后来成为了全世界最大的无人机制造商。然而,由于在香港找不到资金支持,汪滔将这个点子带到了深圳,也就是现在的公司总部所在地。

不过,尽管失去了大疆,香港科技园也还是在其他方面取得了重大的胜利。香港中文大学的一名教授创立了商汤科技,该公司目前是全世界最有价值的人工智能初创企业,估值高达45亿美元,总部就设在香港科技园。在香港科技园里,各个企业办公楼的大门都使用商汤科技的面部识别技术来做安保,工作人员在入口处使用一个小型视频模块进行扫描。

“如果大疆现在成立,我想我们会有办法让他们留在这里。”黄克强说道,他指的是科技园去年从政府那里获得的13亿美元资金。“最近一届政府非常重视技术创新,我认为我们正在迎头赶上。”

金融的未来

香港更容易被视为金融之都,而非科技中心。过去25年里,美国智库传统基金会每年都将香港评为世界上最自由的经济体。去年,香港交易所重获全球最受欢迎的IPO市场的地位,有125家公司IPO上市,总共筹资365亿美元。

2月21日,大湾区蓝图在香港举行的一次研讨会上发布。香港特区行政长官林郑月娥在会上发表讲话时强调,融合政策承诺将会维护“一国两制”模式——香港是中国(一国)的一部分,但采用高度自治(两制)的形式。

香港智能城市联盟的大湾区投资委员会副主席托尼·韦尔布表示:“香港仍然是中国沟通外界的国际枢纽,我认为这一点短期内不会改变。”韦尔布正在推出一项合资计划,以香港特别行政区与大湾区之间更加紧密的融合为主要卖点,吸引欧洲初创企业进入香港。

韦尔布还表示,让香港融入大湾区,还需要更明确的共识。但他对未来充满希望,并相信这一地区会继续蓬勃发展。(财富中文网)

译者:艾伦

审校: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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