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HK people to get equal rights in property purchases in Bay Area

By Chen Zimo and Luis Liu in Hong Kong | China Daily Asia | Updated: 2019-11-07 10:12
Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (center) and Macao SAR Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on attend the third plenary meeting of the Leading Group for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in Beijing, Nov 6, 2019. [PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY]

A series of new policies will make it more convenient for Hong Kong people to live in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, including equal rights to buy property in the nine Guangdong cities in the region, Hong Kong’s top leader said Wednesday.

After the third plenary meeting of the leading group for the development of the Bay Area held in Beijing, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced 16 policies that will make it easier for Hong Kong and Macao people to live, work, study and start businesses across the 11-city cluster.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government welcomed the series of policy measures, which can benefit people from different sectors of Hong Kong society, Lam said.

One of the most noticeable policies is that Hong Kong and Macao residents will be treated as local residents when they buy properties in the nine Guangdong cities. Currently, they have to provide proof of their duration of residence, study or employment, or pay a certain amount of individual income tax and social insurance.

Meanwhile, the children of Hong Kong and Macao residents will share the same pre-primary education services, and participate in the same entrance examination for senior high school admittance as their mainland peers.

In addition, it will be easier for Hong Kong residents to use the mobile electronic payment services on the mainland, as well as cross-boundary wealth management and open mainland bank accounts. These measures could also further promote financial cooperation between the two places, Lam said.

Local young people will be the first to benefit. Angus Ng Hok-ming, executive president of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Youth Association, said he believes that relaxing the purchase restriction provides a way to ease the plight of Hong Kong youth caused by the city’s staggering housing prices.

Ng also said that effective control measures should be taken to avoid a sharp rise in mainland housing prices, which would adversely affect local mainland residents’ property purchases.

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