Business / Economy

HK to play super-connector for Belt and Road Initiative

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-08-10 10:14

HONG KONG - Hong Kong should intensify its role as the "super-connector" linking the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world, and grasp the opportunity of the China's Belt and Road Initiative to boost its economy, said Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The SAR government should abandon outdated "positive non-intervention" mentality of economic development amid increasing competition with neighboring economies, said Leung during a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua at Government House, the chief executive's official residence.

It was the first time for the chief executive to accept an interview after a universal suffrage motion for the region's constitutional reform was vetoed by opposition lawmakers of the SAR Legislative Council in June.

The SAR government has since then pledged to focus on promoting the region's economic development and improving livelihood of the Hong Kong people in the remaining two-year tenure.

"We spent almost two years to promote the constitutional reform in the past three years," Leung said, "so we should turn our attention to economy and livelihood."

Leung said he has proposed a new idea that the government should be appropriately active in promoting Hong Kong's economy, and it has now been recognized by the Hong Kong society.

But this has been a rather different idea since Hong Kong has been long considered a typical laissez-faire economy with " positive non-intervention" policy carried on by previous governors in British colonial rule.

"One of the reasons why I propose this new idea is, the governments of Hong Kong's rival economies have been quite active in dealing with economic and livelihood issues," he added.

If Hong Kong, as an economy, is to compete with rivals like Singapore and South Korea, the government has to reconsider what kind of roles that the SAR government should and could play, the chief executive said.

After he took office in 2012, Leung has urged Hong Kong to play a role as "super-connector" between Chinese mainland and the rest of the world, as the region has its unique advantages created by the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.

The "super-connector" should act in both ways, according to Leung. On one hand, Hong Kong should continue helping mainland companies with their overseas businesses. On the other hand, the SAR government should pay more attention to attract more foreign investment, talents and technologies to Hong Kong and the mainland.

Many economies, according to Leung, have shown great interests in having economic cooperation with the Chinese mainland through Hong Kong.

Leung stressed that Hong Kong's such function could not be noticed in its transshipment trade volumes chart. "Many commodities sold by the US, Canada or India were shipped directly to the mainland, but their contracts were signed with Hong Kong companies."

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