The 2019 Caixin Hengqin Forum, co-sponsored by Caixin Media and Zhuhai New Area, attracted a number of high-profile guests.
They included former PBOC chief Zhou Xiaochuan, now president of the Chinese Finance Association, Wang Shi, founder of Vanke Group, Dai Jianye, director of the Economic Bureau of the Macao Special Administrative Region, and Qu Hongbin, chief economist of HSBC Greater China. The focus was on topics such as China and the world economy, the development of the Greater Bay Area, youth innovation and entrepreneurship. They discussed changing times, China’s response to global changes, and corporate opportunities.
Zhou Xiaochuan: Digital currency emphasizes retail payments
Zhou Xiaochuan believes that China will continue to adhere to its well-established path, emphasizing the use of digital currencies for retail payments. He said that currency is a symbol of national sovereignty. Central banks, especially big countries, are very cautious in choosing the direction of technology. If they go in the wrong direction, the losses are very large, and there may even be a crisis of trust.
Zhou said that the current implementation of digital currencies in the world mainly hopes to achieve two types of goals: one is represented by China, which emphasizes that electronic payment and digital currencies should be oriented to retail systems, and the other is some international-oriented financial institutions that want to use digital currencies for international payments and remittances. The two types of goals are inconsistent, and the design of related digital currencies will be different. Zhou believes that China will continue to follow its well-established path, emphasize the payment function of digital currency, maintain favorable technical support for the retail system, and then gradually consider expanding the use of digital currency.
He also pointed out that technological progress will bring about huge changes in government management between economies. In the future, financial transactions, payment systems and other issues can be solved by new means provided by technological development.
Wang Shi: Accelerate foreign investment and introduce high-quality resources
Wang believes that during the first 40 years of reform and opening up, the government mainly attracted foreign investment through the establishment of special zones to increase economic activity. But now the government should change the model of attracting foreign capital, by more actively going abroad and investing abroad to attract quality companies and resources to China.
For example, he said that Israeli high-tech R&D capabilities have attracted worldwide attention, but according to the past method of attracting US, EU, and Japanese companies to invest in China, it is difficult to attract Israeli companies to settle in China.
When he talked about the introduction of Technion by Shantou, the other party asked to invest US$100 million in the university as a condition for cooperation. In the end, the Li Ka Shing Foundation donated US$130 million to the Israel Institute of Technology, which helped the latter co-found the Guangdong Israel Institute of Technology with Shantou University. The country’s first science and technology joint Chinese-foreign joint university was established in Shantou, with science and technology education and technological innovation as its core development goals.
Wang believes that the government should be more proactive in investing in order to attract high-quality companies and resources to China. “Whoever goes out first, whoever introduces it will be faster.”
Hongbin Qu: The most important thing in 2020 is “to survive”
Qu said that in the first three quarters of last year, China’s economic growth continued to decline, and the real economy was facing severe challenges. He believes that this downward pressure on the economy will continue in 2020, and 2020 will be the “year of survival.”
Qu said that the downward pressure on China’s economy mainly comes from three aspects: the simultaneous slowdown of the global economy has brought downward pressure on the Chinese economy, the Sino-US trade friction has a negative impact on future investment confidence in various fields, and employment has decreased, and domestic demand has declined Affect national consumption.
“These pressures will continue in the future and in 2020.” Qu said that 2020 will be “the year of survival.” He also pointed out that although the economy will continue to decline, it does not mean we need to be too pessimistic, because the government is fully capable of implementing bolder fiscal policies, especially in terms of tax and fee reductions.
Yang Chuan: Hengqin is the best place to undertake industrial upgrading in Macau
The deputy secretary of the Hengqin New Area said that Hengqin is the best option for Macau’s industrial upgrading. However, Macau’s industry relies heavily on the gaming industry, and in cooperating with Macao to develop new industries, it must break through the long-term single industry pattern. In the future, Hengqin will work with Macau to develop six emerging industries: scientific and technological innovation, distinctive finance, medical and health, cross-border commerce and trade, tourism and exhibitions, and professional services.
Yang Chuan revealed that the Guangdong-Macao Industrial Park is progressing smoothly, and the remaining land space is 2.57 square kilometers. The project review mechanism led by the Macau government has now started, focusing on the development of high-tech and modern service industries. At present, there are about 2,000 Australian-funded enterprises registered in Hengqin.
Hengqin also initiated a preferential policy to encourage Macao corporate employees to work across borders with simple procedures. In addition, Macao residents working in the Hengqin Free Trade Zone, as long as they have a residence permit for Hong Kong and Macao residents, can join local medical insurance and enjoy the same medical security services as local residents.
Dai Jianye: 250 Macao youth enterprises go to Bay Area for development
The director of the Macao Economic Affairs Bureau said that the Macao SAR government supports the development of Macao youths in the Bay Area and plays a role as a bridge of exchanges between China and Portugal. It finds business opportunities in professional fields such as trade in goods and commodities, law, finance and accounting, and provides development opportunities for Macao youth.
At present, Macao youths are very interested in developing in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. So far, more than 250 young Macao entrepreneurs have come to the Bay Area for development, and 70% of them have settled in Hengqin. Hengqin also introduced a series of policies to attract young Macao investors to invest in Hengqin.
In terms of promoting youth innovation and entrepreneurship, Macao has established links with innovation and entrepreneurship incubators in Zhuhai, Hengqin, Shenzhen Qianhai, and Guangzhou Nansha, and has carried out various types of cooperation projects such as professional consultants, competitions, and training to develop opportunities for young people in Macao.
Dai said that young people are also generally concerned about how to improve the efficiency of communication between Macao and the mainland, including customs clearance, transportation and other aspects. He believes that if the MaaS system can be established in the Greater Bay Area, including Hengqin, the convenience of people flow in the Bay Area will be greatly improved. MaaS refers to the integration of travel services of various modes of transportation to manage the public’s transportation needs.