Greater Bay Area cities in Guangdong province have become the first choice for young people from Hong Kong and Macao looking for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities due to the region's strong economic rebound and social stability.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading in many nations and regions worldwide, Guangdong saw its GDP rise 9.7 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of this year to more than 8.8 trillion yuan ($1.37 trillion).
The GDP of the Shenzhen special economic zone rose 10.1 percent to 2.18 trillion yuan in the same period, and that of Guangzhou, the provincial capital, by 14.6 percent to more than 2 trillion yuan.
Shenzhen accounted for 24.7 percent of the province's GDP and Guangzhou 22.7 percent.
In addition to seeing more potential and greater development prospects in Bay Area cities in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao residents share a similar culture and social customs with local people in the province, said Yang Yongcong, vice-dean of the Institute of Studies for the Greater Bay Area at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. He added that cooperation zones in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, which neighbors Macao, urgently need to attract the intellectual support of young people from the two special administrative regions.
Guangdong lacks sufficient high-quality talent and needs to import it from other parts of the country and abroad to support sustainable economic growth, Yang said, adding that some foreign talent had been unable to return to Guangdong because of the pandemic.
Yang said the high integration of Bay Area cities is an inevitable trend in the coordinated development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
"And it has a positive impact on Guangdong's economic development when more and more young people from Hong Kong and Macao come to Guangdong for entrepreneurship and employment," Yang said.
Most young people from Hong Kong and Macao who have moved to the Chinese mainland for entrepreneurship and employment opportunities have high academic qualifications and international vision, which can inject new vitality into Guangdong's high-quality economic development, he said.
Meanwhile, Guangdong has a large number of Hong Kong and Macao funded enterprises, and attracting young people from Hong Kong and Macao to Guangdong for entrepreneurship and employment is conducive to forming a positive feedback effect and attracting more investment to Guangdong, Yang said.
"And the young people from Hong Kong and Macao have actively integrated into the economic construction of the Greater Bay Area, helping create a number of star enterprises, and that will help create better conditions for Guangdong to realize a rise in its industrial value chain," he said.
William Yu is one young person from Hong Kong who has seized opportunities in Guangdong.
He joined Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption after graduation from university but then resigned and moved to Zhaoqing, a city in the Bay Area, to run a tea plantation of more than 80 hectares several years ago. It now produces more than 20 metric tons of tea a year.
Yu urged young people from Hong Kong to visit the mainland before they decide whether to work or start a business there.
Jacky Tsui Ching-kit said he has never regretted choosing to work in Guangzhou after graduation. The doctor at Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, part of Sun Yat-sen University, said his work on the mainland offers him abundant opportunities.
To attract talent from Hong Kong and Macao, major cities in Guangdong have introduced a series of preferential policies.
In July, the Zengcheng district human resources and social security bureau in Guangzhou took the lead by providing living allowances to young Hong Kong and Macao professionals employed in the district.
The bureau said it had approved allowances of 10,000 yuan ($1,540) to four young people from Hong Kong.
Liang Haiming, chairman of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute, said Guangdong and Hong Kong should further advance and optimize cooperation in the years to come after more than four decades of cooperation.
"Hong Kong can further explore the vast mainland market through deepening cooperation with Guangdong, one of the country's economic powerhouses," he said.
Guangdong will also benefit from allowing more professionals, including doctors, lawyers, accountants, tourist guides and planners to practice in the province, Liang said.
Hong Kong and Guangdong should further expand cooperation in finance, trade and judicial matters, he added.