Hong Kong and Macao delegates propose GBA standards to boost SMEs

The “Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” (the “Outline Development Plan”), issued on February 18th, 2019, positions Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen as central to driving the region’s development.

This year is the 5th anniversary of the release of the “Outline Development Plan”,marking a new phase to accelerate and deepen the construction of the GBA. Let’s hear from National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members from the region about their proposals for the GBA’s future development.

Supporting the growth of SMEs in Hengqin and Macao

Just before the Two Sessions, the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin started a new customs operation on March 1st, marking a vital stepofa new system for high-level opening-up and integration between Guangdong and Macao.

SMEs comprise over 90% of Macao’s registered businesses and supply more than 60% of its jobs, as data indicates.

To boost Macao SMEs and enable them to benefit from the Cooperation Zone, Mo Zhiwei, a CPPCC member, a standing member of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), and the Vice Chairman of Macao Chamber of Commerce (ACM), has submitted a proposal on promoting the development of SMEs in Hengqin and Macao. The proposal includes several suggestions: to integrate Macao SMEs into the Cooperation Zone’s supply chain, to establish a dedicated agency in Hengqin for MSME development, and to create a tripartite consultation platform involving the Cooperation Zone Government, the Macao SAR Government, and ACM to facilitate the integration of Macao SMEs into the Cooperation Zone.

Establishing GBA standards for cross-border credit loans

As one of the most open and economically vibrant regions in China, the GBA was expected to surpass 13.6 trillion yuan in economic aggregate last year, attracting global investors.

Investment Promotion Conference for the GBA took place in Guangzhou on November 8th, marking the second such event held by the three regions jointly. An increasing number of SMEs are drawn to invest in the GBA, yet some face financing challenges.

Considering the financing issue, Lin Zhiying, an NPC deputy from Hong Kong and Vice President of the Council for the Promotion of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation, proposed “Suggestions on Establishing GBA Standards for Cross-Border Credit Loans”.During his field research, he discovered that SMEs, often operating with light assets, struggle to access financing from Chinese mainland banks in the GBA. This challenge extends to foreign companies with real estate collateral, as some banks remain hesitant to provide loans. Additionally, SMEs face record-filing procedures, long processing times, and high costs in cross-border financing, compounded by the absence of unified credit recognition and standards in the region.

Lin recommends that authorities implement policies to ease cross-border credit financing in Hong Kong and Macao for SMEs, establish GBA standards for cross-border credit loans, streamline foreign debt registration, and expedite the process.

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