Asia-Pacific News

There are 'tremendous opportunities' in the Greater Bay Area initiative, says Hong Kong legislator

Key Points
  • One Hong Kong legislator is optimistic about the opportunities available for the city from China's Greater Bay Area initiative.
  • Speaking with CNBC, Jeffrey Lam said Hong Kong's position as financial center and its practice of common law are some of the advantages the city can bring to the table.
Hong Kong legislator: Greater Bay Area is important for growth

As the developments in China's Greater Bay Area are underway, one Hong Kong legislator is optimistic about the opportunities presented by the initiative — despite concerns that the city could be on the losing end.

Speaking with CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday, Jeffrey Lam said in terms of GDP, the Greater Bay Area is ranked just behind Tokyo at No. 2 in the world. With that size and its fast development, the region offers "tremendous opportunities," he said.

"The way we see it, we have to find it, it's there," Lam said of the opportunities.

The Greater Bay Area Initiative is a plan to create a "world-class city cluster across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau region," according to KPMG, which said the proposed combination of 11 cities could represent about 12 percent of China's economy.

Adding that there was a need to focus on the "staggered development" in the region, Lam said the territories can leverage the competitive advantages each has to offer.

Everett Rosenfeld | CNBC

"What they are good at, maybe it's not good in Hong Kong," he said. "What we can provide, I think, they will come to Hong Kong."

On the subject of what Hong Kong could bring to the table of the Greater Bay Area, Lam said his city's status as a financial center would allow companies to raise funds while the practice of common law in the former British colony could allow it to become an arbitration center.

Although Lam said Hong Kong is catching up in the high-tech sector, he acknowledged that nearby Chinese cities are innovating at "a very fast pace." Consequently, he said, "Hong Kong youngsters should be bold and brave to look for opportunities across the border."

Emphasizing that China's policy of "One country, two systems" provides the Hong Kong people with a lot of opportunities in entering the mainland, Lam said: "Why waste it?"

Asked if Hong Kong could struggle to attract interest against the likes of established start-up ecosystems such as Shenzhen, Lam said Hong Kong can "make good" of what the city already boasts such as the protection of intellectual property rights or lower taxes for working professionals.