To cope with the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), Lingnan University and South China University of Technology joint hands to establish the “Joint Research Centre for Greater Bay Area - Social Policy and Governance” that aims to facilitate exchange and research activities related to the development policy in the GBA. It is the first time for a local university to collaborate with a Mainland college on the joint research organisation with a focus on the study of the social policy and social governance for the GBA.
An Opening Ceremony is held today (18 May) and officiated by Prof Joshua MOK Ka-Ho, Vice President of Lingnan University, and Prof WANG Zhiqiang, Dean of School of Public Administration at South China University of Technology of Mainland China. They released the findings of the first research project titled “Surveys on Youth and University Students’ Perceptions on Development Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area” and shared their comments on the result.
The survey was conducted between March and April this year through a web-based questionnaire targeting two separate groups: a group of 1,214 Hong Kong residents aged between 18 and 35 (young residents), and a group of 472 local university students were successfully interviewed. The findings reveals more than half (50.9%) of the young residents showed positive attitude towards the development in the GBA, comparing to nearly 45 per cent (44.8%) of the university students. In addition, over half of respondents in both groups (both are 51.0%) deemed the participation of Hong Kong in the plan a better opportunity for development.
The survey preliminarily shows that quite a lot of young residents and university students consider the GBA development as obligatory, and agreed it would bring them both benefits and opportunities.
Besides, only 35 per cent of respondents in both groups said they are willing to work in the GBA. Around 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the young residents and the university students respectively said “Do not know/ Cannot comment” in the survey, demonstrating their wait-and-see attitude towards working in the GBA.
The three most cited sectors where the group of young residents found they gain most competitive advantages if working in the GBA would be “Innovation and technology” (45.6%), “Finance” (45.5%) and “Professional services” (35.9%). The group of university students cited similar sectors, which are “Finance” (22.8%), “Innovation and technology” (18.5%) and “Cultural and creative industries” (16.5%).
When asked if their willingness would change for the new policy regarding the preferential income tax treatment for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents working in the GBA, around 40 per cent (38.4%) of respondents in the young resident group agreed it would, while almost 40 per cent (38.9%) disagreed. For the university student group, only more than 20 per cent (22.7%) agreed that the treatment would make them more willing to work in the GBA and almost 40 per cent (39.1%) of them disagreed.
A number of respondents still worried about working in the GBA. Of all respondents in the young resident group and the university student group, 67 per cent (67.2%) and over 55 per cent (56.9%) respectively worried that they could not find suitable jobs. Moreover, the three most cited aspects the young residents worry about if working in the GBA include “Unsatisfactory salary” (78.2%), “internet restrictions” (e.g. unable to browse Google domains) (76.6%), and high tax rate (65.8%). For the group of university students, they cited “internet restrictions” (80.2%), “Education for children” (71.3%) and “Unsatisfactory salary” (70.7%) as their worrying aspects.
At the press conference, Prof Joshua MOK Ka-Ho, Vice President of Lingnan University said that many young people in Hong Kong have less understanding of the regional development scheme and preferential policy which, though, have been launched already in the GBA. It is necessary to step up efforts to boost the promotions, especially targeting the group of local university students.
The findings of the study reveal that young people and university students in Hong Kong prefer to work in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Therefore, Prof Joshua Mok suggested the HKSAR government to build new models of cooperation between the two cities which are convenient to Hong Kong residents for cross-border working and living, and the models could be extended to other cities in the GBA later. The survey findings also shows that some sectors in the GBA such as innovation and technology, finance, and professional services are more appealing to young people and university students in Hong Kong. He suggested the HKSAR government and local colleges to take up the role of connecting local talents with related industries on the Mainland by organising exchange activities for those sectors. It is feasible for local colleges in Hong Kong to add some introductory courses on relevant industries to the university curriculum, as well as to develop pipelines to send over talents to the related industries on the Mainland. At last, Prof Joshua MOK suggested that it is feasible to study possibility of setting up new schools in the GBA for Hong Kong children, in order to address the education issues Hongkongers now facing.