China strengthens financial support for Qianhai and Hengqin in GBA, aiming to integrate local development with SARs
Published: Feb 23, 2023 10:08 PM
Aerial photo taken on May 29, 2022 shows a view of the Two International Finance Centre (IFC) in south China's Hong Kong. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.(Photo: Xinhua)

Aerial photo taken on May 29, 2022 shows a view of the Two International Finance Centre (IFC) in south China's Hong Kong. Photo: Xinhua

China will step up financial support for Hengqin and Qianhai in South China's Guangdong Province, aiming to promote the development of key regions in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) as a bridgehead to further integrate the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs) with the Chinese mainland. 

The People's Bank of China (PBC), China's central bank, along with four other authorities, jointly issued two opinions on Thursday to provide stronger financial support for the construction and development of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in the Hengqin and Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone.

A total of 30 new measures will be issued for each region, covering a wide range of aspects from financial market interconnection and promotion of cross-boundary trade to strengthening financial supervision. 

The opinion sets the goal to achieve a high- level financial market connection with Hong Kong by 2025, while further opening up the banking, security and insurance sectors in Qianhai cooperation zone.  

Moreover, measures targeting high-quality opening-up and cross-boundary financial cooperation will be carried out, such as approving eligible financial institutions in the zone to carry out cross-border securities and investment services, and implementing more convenient financial settlement measures for trade in goods.

John Lee Ka-chiu, chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR government, said on his official Weibo account that he arrived in Guangzhou on Thursday, aiming to further promote the high-quality development of the GBA and actively promoting cooperation through his first official visit to the GBA after taking office.

Hengqin will strengthen financial market interconnections with Macao. The corresponding opinion outlines some proposals, such as to establish an electronic fence system and allow the pataca, Macao's currency, to be used for small payments in the cooperation zone.

These measures will further integrate the development of the mainland with the SARs, analysts said, while more targeted financial infrastructures will be established. 

Targeted financial support is a key to linking and utilizing various sources from logistics to talent in the GBA, especially under the situation of some Western countries aiming to "decouple from China," Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute of the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Thursday.  

Dong added that the two SARs have advantages in attracting international resources and talent. Through the strengthened support, the GBA will be able to further integrate with the SARs while boosting its own development. 

"The GBA will build more financial infrastructure based on various application scenarios of finance. These financial facilities will be conducive to the circulation of funds and resources in the GBA, and will play an important role in promoting the internationalization of the yuan and facilitating capital movements, investment and trade between Hong Kong, Macao and the Chinese mainland," Wang Peng, a research fellow at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.