HKTDC: service providers can capitalize on 5-yr plan

Updated: 2011-03-25 06:26

By Joy Li(HK Edition)

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The city's service providers should leverage their expertise to capitalize on opportunities arising from the mainland's new five-year economic plan aimed at domestic consumption and more sustainable growth, according to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) on Tuesday.

The new economic blueprint, which was passed at this month's plenary meeting of the National People's Congress, sets a 7 percent annual GDP growth target between 2011 and 2015. The target for the last five-year plan was 7.5 percent.

"The lowering of the target not only demonstrates the government's determination but also indicates a major move to transform the country's economic growth pattern," Premier Wen Jiabao told a press conference earlier this month after the conclusion of the parliamentary session.

"Hong Kong companies should ride on the plan, along with the privileges brought by the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong / Guangdong Cooperation, to expand their business in the mainland market," said HKTDC Assistant Executive Director Raymond Yip on Thursday. He added that there may well be heightened interest in Hong Kong services, given that the city is the mainland's window for procuring technological products, energy-saving technology and professional services.

The HKTDC will kick off a series of events to help Hong Kong service providers build partnerships on the mainland. The first promotion, SmartHK, will take place in Guangzhou in May 12-13, the largest ever event featuring Hong Kong service providers, according to the HKTDC.

"More than 150 Hong Kong companies, covering a wide range of services and technology to help mainland enterprises move up the value chain, will join SmartHK," said Yip.

In May and November of this year, the HKTDC will also hold a mainland-Hong Kong service industry symposia in Chengdu and Hong Kong respectively, providing a platform for networking and business matching.

The HKTDC and the Law Society of Hong Kong will hold a series of legal workshops in June in major Pearl River Delta cities such as Zhongshan, Foshan and Dongguan to promote Hong Kong's legal expertise.

CEPA, which was signed between the SAR and the Ministry of Commerce in 2003, opened doors for cooperation between the two sides in various service sectors.

For the city's service providers to further tap the mainland, "mutual recognition of professional qualifications is a more vital concern at this stage, as you must first be able to set foot there before seeking a greater share of the pie", Loretta Shuen, chairperson of the tax division at CPA Australia's Hong Kong chapter, told China Daily in an earlier interview.

Currently Hong Kong service companies enter the mainland through joint ventures with a mainland partner.

"For joint ventures, the problem is that the couple may not be a pair. It will really speed things up if Hong Kong companies can be allowed to operate on their own," said Shuen.

The HKTDC's Yip thinks that CEPA, now in the 7th supplementary agreement, represents a gradual development approach.

"With the 8th supplementary agreement coming, we can expect progress every year," said Yip, adding that the pilot-scheme arrangements with Guangdong province will help pave the way for expansion into the rest of the country.

China Daily

(HK Edition 03/25/2011 page2)