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HK youths keen to work with GBA

BY :China Daily

UPDATED :2024-01-18

University students from Hong Kong and Macao classify plant specimens during a summer vacation internship at the South China Botanical Garden Herbarium in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on July 24, 2023. (Photo by Chen Jimin/China News Service)

Hong Kong youths' recognition of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) has reached new heights, with 66 percent of respondents in a recent survey expressing their willingness to develop in the area, and 67 percent either "agreeing" or "strongly agreeing" with the development plan of the GBA, according to the survey released on January 16.

The percentage of youths' recognition of the development plan of the GBA was nearly twice as high as the response in 2021, and marked a record high for the tracking index launched in 2018.

The survey was conducted by the Hong Kong Guangdong Youth Association and another three organizations, and interviewed 1,000 Hong Kong youths aged 15 to 39 and 530 Hong Kong youths residing in Guangdong province from September to October. The goal of the survey was to take the pulse of youths' views on the development of the GBA.

Among the interviewees who have plans for further study, more than 70 percent intend to go to the Chinese mainland. Among those who are studying in Guangdong, 42 percent indicated a desire to return to the special administrative region (SAR) within five years. The survey organizer believed that it shows that Hong Kong residents have a high potential to work and study between the two places.

Adam Kwok Kai-fai, founder and executive chairman of the association, said that in view of the shortage of talent and labor in Hong Kong in recent years, the government should adopt multipronged approaches, and start attracting students who have the potential to the SAR to pursue further studies as early as possible, as well as encouraging those who have finished their studies in Hong Kong to stay, so as to provide talent for the city's transformation into "eight centers" — eight key areas set out by the nation for the city in its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).

Lawyer Elvis Lam Gwong-kin, who completed his university studies on the mainland and who has practiced in the GBA since 2016, agreed with the measures proposed in the report, including optimizing the government's funding for students to pursue study on the mainland — the Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme.

Lam told China Daily that it provides incentives for youngsters to choose the mainland for study as it significantly reduces the cost of studying.

The scheme allows students from poor families who have dreams of going to college or graduate school to continue their education, he added.

Lam also proposed simplifying the government's Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme, which provides a HK$ 10,000 (US$ 1,300) subsidy for job positions in the GBA's mainland cities for 18 months. Lam suggested canceling the requirement of only those who have recently graduated from college, allowing more youngsters to apply for the employment scheme.

A PhD student from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine shared his personal experience of studying and starting a business on the mainland at the news conference. He said studying on the mainland can help Hong Kong students become more familiar with the cultures of each place, as well as the national development guidelines and policies, giving them the upper hand in pursuing their own careers.

Patrick Choi Cheong-wa, a Hong Kong interior designer who founded an architectural design company in Foshan, Guangdong province, told China Daily that he hopes that the authorities can launch entrepreneurship support programs for Hong Kong youngsters, providing support like apartments, capital, training and professional guidance.

Editor: Annie