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The mega Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will play a critical role in integrating the infrastructure network across the Pearl River Delta region. Hzmb Authority / For China Daily

Younger adults living in SARs see a bright future emerging north of border

Younger adults in Hong Kong and Macao are seeing a bright future north of the border with the release of the long-awaited development outline for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. They believe it will help them pursue their interests on the Chinese mainland - whether that means academic studies, building careers or starting new businesses.

The outline, a long-term plan to guide the 11-city cluster"s development - with goals set for 2035 - also vows to expand Hong Kong and Macao residents" opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship in the region through stronger policy support.

Kuo Wai-keung, a 29-year-old Hong Kong entrepreneur running a technology startup in Shenzhen, feels encouraged by the outline, which he said had "unprecedented" importance for innovation and new business.

The outline pledged to offer more subsidies and support for eligible candidates from Hong Kong and Macao, and proactively advance the development bases for younger entrepreneurs in various Bay Area cities.

Kuo believes such moves will help meet startups" demand for capital, venues and connections. He added that the plan will help create a favorable atmosphere that will attract more Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs, which would also contribute to the region"s goal of becoming a global innovation and technology hub.

The central government"s policy relaxation in May granted scientific institutions in Hong Kong and Macao the right to apply for national funds for research, but the outline goes a step further.

It aims to establish designated funding schemes for joint research and development projects in the region and may support special arrangements for cross-boundary use of medical data and biological samples.

In the future, Kuo said, he hopes the favorable measures will benefit enterprises with good performance in research and development. He used his own company as an example. Focusing on smart mobility, the company is a technology-driven startup that holds more than 20 patents.

The outline - which describes significant measures to expand access to mainland employment by Chinese nationals from Hong Kong and Macao - introduced the notion of competition for positions at State-owned enterprises and suggested people look into the possibility of applying for public service positions north of the border.

"It showed that the country has fully opened its doors for younger people in the two special administrative regions so they can join the development of the nation," said 24-year-old Hong Kong student Cheng Man-chu.

Cheng, a postgraduate freshman majoring in diplomacy at Jinan University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, characterized the plan"s suggested career additions - working at State-owned enterprises and as civil servants - a "remarkable move".

If implemented, Cheng believes, the two career choices will be very popular with Hong Kong and Macao students.

She also ventured that it will encourage more private enterprises to recruit Hong Kong and Macao students with competitive salaries and benefits packages.

Long Ka-wai, a 24-year-old Macao entrepreneur who had studied for four years at Jinan University, believes the outline"s concrete and constructive proposals will boost the confidence of Hong Kong and Macao youths and motivate more of them to seek development opportunities on the mainland.

To maximize the potential, Long said, the government should simplify application procedures for subsidies for Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs and help them become well-informed about the process.

She said she also hopes more efforts will be made to ensure equitable treatment for Hong Kong and Macao students living on the mainland, because that would provide a big incentive for them to stay.


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