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HK makes strides in multiple aspects through integration into China's overall development: chief executive

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HK makes strides in multiple aspects through integration into China's overall development: chief executive

2024-06-15 17:38 Last Updated At:18:17

Hong Kong has made significant strides in multiple aspects through its active integration into the overall development of China, said John Lee, chief executive of the special administrative region on Friday, expressing his great confidence that the current state of social stability will continue and persist in the region.

Speaking during an interview focused on the opportunities of Hong Kong, Lee said that Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has made impressive progress in the political domain during his two-year tenure, despite the challenges posed by foreign interference.

He emphasized the fulfillment of Hong Kong's constitutional duty as stipulated under the Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law, as well as the successful organization of the district council ordinary election.

"Many challenges were related to the external forces, who attacked our legal system and interfered with our judiciary and governance. This is highly inappropriate. I firmly believe that the discerning public in the world can distinguish right from wrong. There may still be some interferences from the external forces in the future. However, the legislation of Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law has been completed in Hong Kong, and it can provide a strong safety guarantee. I have great confidence that the current social stability will continue and persist," said Lee.

To boost its economy and enhance people's livelihood, Hong Kong has been actively integrating itself into the overall development of the country, said Lee, citing the development of the Northern Metropolis, a planned area that is expected to help Hong Kong diversify its industries.

The Northern Metropolis has an area of 30,000 hectares, around one-third of Hong Kong's total. It covers the Yuen Long and North districts and has a population of around 980,000, with about 400,000 residential units and about 134,000 job opportunities.

"We have divided the Northern Metropolis into four parts, from west to east. The western part is designated as a specialized logistics zone, which will be connected to Shenzhen's Qianhai area through a railway. In the middle, the left or western section is a sci-tech innovation zone that will connect with Shenzhen through the Hetao zone for science and technology innovation cooperation. The other section on the eastern side will serve as a hub for ports, industries, commerce and trade. It will leverage the ports in Hong Kong and Shenzhen to foster the development of commerce, specialized services, and industrial services. Finally, the eastern part of the Northern Metropolis will focus on tourism between Hong Kong and the mainland, as well as the preservation of ecological environment and leisure activities," he said.

Lee also refuted some negative remarks made by certain Western media outlets and individuals regarding Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, emphasizing that Hong Kong's position is highly stable and advantageous.

"Financial center is not just about stock exchanges and trading. In fact, 75 percent of the world's top 100 banks operate in Hong Kong. In terms of insurance, Hong Kong boasts the highest density level around the world. As for financing channels, Hong Kong ranks the first in Asia when it comes to bond issuance. Another significant aspect to consider is the flow of currencies. Take the offshore RMB trading for example, Hong Kong takes up 80 percent of the market share in this regard. Therefore, from various perspectives, it is evident that Hong Kong's status as a financial center is highly stable," said Lee.

Lee noted that over the past two years, the HKSAR government has stepped up its efforts to enhance the livelihood of the people in areas such as housing, healthcare, and poverty alleviation.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's economy underwent a significant transformation, shifting from a contraction of 3.7 percent in 2022 to a positive growth rate of 3.3 percent in 2023, he said.

HK makes strides in multiple aspects through integration into China's overall development: chief executive

HK makes strides in multiple aspects through integration into China's overall development: chief executive

New driving forces from innovative production capacities had contributed significantly to the steady improvement of the Chinese economy in the first half of 2024, experts said after the release of official data on the nation's economic performance in the first six months on Monday.

Data from the country's National Bureau of Statistics showed that the gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5 percent year on year in the first six months of the year, reaching nearly 62 trillion yuan, or about 8.65 trillion U.S. dollars.

"In the first half of the year, China's economy continued its trend of stable growth and steady recovery. Particularly notable were advancements in industrial added value, service consumption, foreign trade exports, manufacturing investment, and the development of high-tech industries. The emergence of new quality productive forces from innovative production capacities contributed to a strong overall economic performance, indicating a promising direction towards new growth," said Huang Hanquan, head of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research affiliated with China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Consumption, domestic investment and foreign trade remained the three major engines driving China's economic growth, according to the data.

Boosted by supportive policies, retail sales of consumer goods rose 3.7 percent from a year ago. Services consumption stood out as a bright spot.

Fixed-asset investment went up by 3.9 percent on a yearly basis in the first six months. In particular, investment in high-tech industries showed robust growth, up by 10.6 percent.

In terms of foreign trade, the volume jumped 6.1 percent year on year during the same period. The trade structure continued to improve, with foreign trade by private enterprises up 11.2 percent year on year.

Wei Qijia, a research fellow with the State Information Center, also an NDRC affiliation, believed high technologies have forged new growth drivers that play an increasingly important role in the overall economic performance.

"Certain industries employing advanced technologies have shown significant improvements in indicators such as investment and others. For instance, new growth points arising from the energy conservation and carbon reduction sectors have emerged. These industries are increasingly playing a crucial role in stabilizing the overall economy," said Wei.

New drivers from innovative production capacities contribute to steady improvement of Chinese economy: economists

New drivers from innovative production capacities contribute to steady improvement of Chinese economy: economists

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