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China Daily Website

Thriving more than ever

Updated: 2012-06-30 11:25
( China Daily)

The people of Hong Kong are looking back with pride and forward with confidence as they commemorate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Fifteen years after its historic return to the embrace of the motherland on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong is thriving. Its economy grew 5 percent on average between 2004 and 2011, outpacing most developed economies, and it is continually ranked by international financial institutions as one of the world's most competitive economies.

A number of crippling financial crises and public health scares have threatened to bring the city to its knees during the last 15 years. But except for a few bruises and scrapes, each time it emerged in good shape, thanks in equal measure to the enterprising and hard-working people of Hong Kong, and the unfailing support of the central government.

"Gift packages", a term aptly coined by the people of Hong Kong to describe the policy incentives tailor-made for the special administrative region by the central government, have continually found their way to Hong Kong since the handover.

The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, signed in 2003, opened up huge markets for Hong Kong goods and services. The arrival of millions of mainland tourists each year, under the Individual Visit Scheme, has generated an unprecedented boom for Hong Kong's tourism industry.

The central government unveiled its latest "gift package" for Hong Kong this week to coincide with President Hu Jintao's visit to attend the anniversary celebrations. One of the policy initiatives has been crafted to encourage more foreign investors to settle trade and invest in Hong Kong using the yuan, in a bid to nurture and fortify Hong Kong's position as the world's offshore yuan hub.

The economies of Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland have never been more interactive and integrated. Hong Kong has been playing an unrivaled role in helping mainland enterprises to reach out to the global market and accelerating the mainland's full integration into the world economy.

With the world economic outlook clouded by uncertainties, the open economy of Hong Kong is predictably more susceptible to external shocks than the mainland. But the wind in its sails is stronger than ever with support from the mainland economy.

Hong Kong has indeed come a long way on its post-hand-over journey, and the people of Hong Kong are looking forward knowing that the Pearl of the Orient will continue to shine.