12. In response to the three major trends just mentioned, Hong Kong needs to consolidate and build on its existing strengths, rise with the tide and seize the opportunities before us.
13. In the Dedicated Chapter on Hong Kong and Macao in the 13th Five-Year Plan, our country indicates support for Hong Kong to leverage its unique advantages, reinforce and enhance its status as an international financial, transportation and trade centre, and strengthen Hong Kong's status as a global hub for off-shore Renminbi (RMB) business and our role as an international asset management centre, and move various services up the value chain. It also expresses support for Hong Kong in developing the I&T industry and establishing itself as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.
14. As stated in the report to the 19th CPC National Congress, the national economy has been transforming from a phase of rapid growth to high-quality development, and China will continue to forge ahead with consumption upgrading and the supply-side structural reform. The report also proposed to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority and give equal emphasis to "bringing in" and "going global", with a view to boosting two-way investment and trade flows between China and other countries, thus making new ground for opening up on all fronts. Moreover, the report advocated the implementation of a co-ordinated regional development strategy, including the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (Bay Area). On the other hand, the report pointed out the importance of forestalling and resolving major risks, especially the financial risks.
15. The direction and strategies of China's economic development have created enormous opportunities for Hong Kong. Take the financial services industry as an example. With the unique advantage of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has become the premier listing and fund-raising platform for Mainland enterprises and the global centre for off-shore RMB business. We have been contributing to our country's financial reforms and RMB internationalisation in a risk controlled manner. We have also played an unparalleled role in connecting the Mainland and the international markets and investors, and achieved significant development in the process.
16. Looking ahead, our financial services industry will have ample room for more diversified development. We will map out a development blueprint for it.
17. Hong Kong's trade volume is four times its gross economic volume, and free trade is the cornerstone of our economy. We have all along been fostering economic development by expanding the boundaries and scale of our market. In the face of rising trade protectionism and anti-globalisation sentiments, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Bay Area development serve to enlarge the hinterland for business development of our enterprises and expand our market coverage.
Belt and Road Initiative
18. The Belt and Road Initiative spans from east to west, covering both land and sea routes. By effectively improving the flow of people, goods and capital through facilities connectivity and policy co-ordination, the initiative will generate great demand for infrastructure, capital, as well as professional, legal and other high-end services over which Hong Kong has advantages. Supporting the Belt and Road development and assisting Mainland enterprises in going global will open up new room for the development of our enterprises as well as financial and professional services.
19. The Bay Area development is of strategic significance to Hong Kong in three key aspects, namely, "two markets", "I&T industries" and "land resources".
20. With a population of 68 million and GDP amounting to US$1,400 billion, the Bay Area is an enormous market for our financial and high-end services industries. Furthermore, as Hong Kong is the most cosmopolitan city offering the best professional services in the region, our enterprises and those in the Mainland may join forces in tapping new markets.
21. The Bay Area covers not only Shenzhen which houses many leading I&T enterprises, but also a large number of cities transforming towards an advanced manufacturing economy. As such, the Bay Area and Hong Kong can complement each other in the field of I&T industries, thereby creating an international innovation and technology hub where talent, research and development (R&D) institutes and enterprises cluster.
22. The Bay Area has abundant room for development as well as rich land resources. Upon the completion and commissioning of various transport infrastructure projects, travel within the Bay Area will be very convenient. With policy breakthroughs, it would offer more convenience to Hong Kong people who operate business, study, work and live in the Bay Area.