Hong Kong eyes Shenzhen as way out

By Elaine Duan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, March 16, 2012
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On the other hand, there have been great concerns over the issue. Chen Wenhong, director of China's Business Center at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, refuted the possibility for Shenzhen to become a municipality, stating that the city has much in common with Hong Kong by imitating the latter and the status will result in homogeneous competition between the two.

Chen also pointed out that it is impossible for Hong Kong and Shenzhen to edge into the list of world financial centers comparable with New York and London, saying that the market and system differences between the two will become a major obstacle for integration. He said this difference cannot be resolved by simply granting Shenzhen municipality status.

Columnist Lie Fu disagrees with the proposal, saying that the status will increase the trading cost of water from the East River to Hong Kong. The project was funded by the Guangdong provincial government, which is entitled to any profit it creates.

According to Lie, if Shenzhen is granted such status, it is set to take a share of the profit, and when the supply contract is due, Hong Kong needs to negotiate with both the Guangdong provincial government and Shenzhen for renewal.

The columnist also gave an example of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau's package plan of developing the Nansha Islands in Guangzhou, the Frontier Sea in Shenzhen and Henqin islands in Zhuhai during the twelfth five-year plan period.

He pointed out that if Shenzhen is separated from Guangdong Province, Hong Kong needs to negotiate with the Guangdong provincial government and Shenzhen separately for the development, and the original planning may overlap with Guangdong provincial planning and Shenzhen's own plans.

Political commentator Bi Dianlong said that the status is nothing more than creating easier access for local officials to the central government. In his opinion, the less politicized Shenzhen is, the freer and more independent it becomes.

What Shenzhen lacks is economic, political and cultural innovation and an experimental spirit distinct from the pre-existing municipalities, Bi added.

Calvin, a magazine journalist, thinks the proposal represents the wishes of Hong Kong real estate giants instead of average Hong Kong residents.

He said it is difficult for Hong Kong to further development its real estate sector, so Hong Kong real estate tycoons have turned their sight on Shenzhen.

Many Hong Kong residents have chosen to purchase property in Shenzhen because real estate prices there are much lower. But if Shenzhen gains municipality status and becomes integrated with Hong Kong, Calvin warned that housing prices in Shenzhen will soar and the cost of living in both two cities might surge as a result.

Jessica, a Hong Kong ad content editor, is concerned that the municipality status will impose additional restraints on Shenzhen, which she said would weaken the city's image as a "city of reform."

She also expressed concern over her livelihood in Hong Kong, and her inability to withstand any changes brought about by a reclassified Shenzhen.

According to Li Xiaoyi, a program director with Phoenix Satellite TV, no one in Hong Kong will pay attention to Shenzhen's status because the average Hong Kong resident only cares about Hong Kong.

Li said there are too many complications within the issue and Hong Kong citizens cannot see how it directly affects their day-to-day life.

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