The citizens in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) have been living in peace and prosperity since its return to the motherland 20 years ago.
Itsemployment rate has been kept below 3.5 percent in recent years, while itmaintained an annual 3.2 percent GDP growth from 1997 to 2016, faster than thatof many developed economies.
HongKong is also a place where people live longer than many other places in theworld. The average life expectancy for women and men reached 87 and 81respectively in 2016. Such longevity is contributed by Hong Kong’s medicalsystem, elderly welfare and people’s healthy eating habits, local media noted.
Thanksto concentrated public hospitals, fairly low hospital fees and advanced medicalfacilities, Hong Kong’s medical system is believed to be among the most efficientones. Hong Kong’s hospital authority provides a safe network for citizens byadhering to the policy that “no one should be prevented, through lack of money,from obtaining adequate medical treatment.”
Spendingonly 10 yuan ($1.5), Hong Kong citizens can buy whatever kind and quantity ofmedicine they need from public hospitals. It costs 100 yuan to cover up a day’shospitalization, with meals and accommodation included.
Meanwhile,housing is a major concern for many Hong Kong residents. Over the past 20years, the SAR government has provided nearly 13 percent more public rentalunits. By the end of March 2017, there were 800,000 public rental units in HongKong.
Theexpenditure on social welfare has increased by 70 percent over the past fiveyears, the second highest regular expenditure after education, said Paul ChanMo-po, financial secretary of the HKSAR.
Beingthe world’s fourth largest financial hub and eighth largest trading entity,Hong Kong also homes to the world’s fifth biggest container port and the mostvibrant cargo airport. The place has been listed as the world’s freest economyfor 23 consecutive years by the US Heritage Foundation.
Guidedby the policy of “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong is full of vitality andhigh efficiency and its society maintains a professional and untiring spirit.
“HongKong is endowed with no natural resources. It has only two very importantadvantages: location and human resources,” said Yiu Kai Pang, chairman of Employers'Federation of Hong Kong.
Tobetter grasp the opportunity brought by the 13th Five-Year Plan(2016-20), Hong Kong should give full play to the advantages of “one country”and “two systems” and act as a “super contact person”, said the Hong Kong SAR ChiefExecutive Leung Chun-ying.
Fiveyears ago, economist Yue Chim Richard Wong said that Hong Kong faced thechallenges of both renewing integration with the mainland and maintainingintegration with the world economy.
Positioningitself as a “super contact person”, amidst such backdrop, demonstrates HongKong’s confidence and courage to meet challenges, Wong added.
Inrecent years, Hong Kong and the mainland have enjoyed a higher degree ofcooperation. The role of “super contact person” has gradually been enrichedunder a slew of national economic plans to bring ties closer between Hong Kongand the mainland, such as the 13th Five-Year Plan, the cluster ofcities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Big Bay Area and the Belt and Road initiative.
Todate, more than 1,000 mainland enterprises have been listed in Hong Kong stockexchange, the first choice for mainland enterprises to raise overseas fund.
Accompaniedby Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect in 2014 and Hong Kong-Shenzhen Stock Connectin 2015, as well as the bond connect that’s going to be launched soon, HongKong’s role will be transferred from attracting mainland capitals to allocatingassets for the latter , said Charles Li Xiaojia, chief executive of the HongKong Exchanges and Clearing.
Thoughlots of big mainland enterprises and investors have gone international,ordinary people and medium- and small- sized companies still need a channel to beconnected with the world economy, Li explained, adding that the HongKong-Shanghai Stock Connect and Hong Kong-Shenzhen Stock Connect can serve asthat channel.
“Effortsto support Hong Kong in consolidating its position as an internationalfinancial, shipping, and trade center have been included in the country's 13thFive-Year Plan,” said Chan. Seizing the opportunity, Hong Kong can play therole of “buffer” or “test field” in order to facilitate theinternationalization of yuan, he continued.