HK Property Value Further Boosted by Big Bay Integration

Last week, the Chinese Premier announced the initiation of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Big Bay Area integration. As I see it, the relevant infrastructure projects have long begun construction, and some are already in place. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which is near completion, will make land traffic between Macau, Shenzhen and Hong Kong more convenient, while the high-speed rail system in the area connects people and cargo from all directions. With over 60 million permanent residents in the area, no matter which city becomes the center of development, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Big Bay Area is bound to become a world-class metropolitan region like Tokyo Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area.

So what’s Hong Kong’s role in this mega metropolitan area? Hong Kong’s best strategy is to utilize the unique advantages brought by the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, and position itself as the retail shopfront that connects the Big Bay Area with the world. However, even if we lose the leading position in the area, Hong Kong can still hugely benefit from the overall economic prospects of the Big Bay Area. As for those who half-joked about returning to the simple fishing village lifestyle, I don’t think their vision is a realistic one—nobody wants to go back to the 1950s and live in a society of poverty and austerity.

Now the Chinese leadership has publicly announced that Shenzhen’s economy is going to surpass Hong Kong in two years. It is a pity that the “Hong Kong speed” that we once prided ourselves over has all but gone. For example, the Hong Kong International Cruise Terminal began construction back in 2009, yet the surrounding facilities have not yet been completed. In contrast, the Shenzhen Prince Bay Cruise Homeport, located in Shekou and with the ability to park 220,000-ton cruise liners, has been put into service last November, thanks to the highly effective “China speed”. The homeport not only is gaining profits from the wealthy mainland cruise passengers ahead of everyone else, but also has created over 30,000 jobs for the people of Shenzhen.

Indeed, Hong Kong’s competiveness is lagging behind in this race. The continued sluggishness of the local economy has affected the income growth of local residents, which resulted in the relatively weak purchasing power of Hongkongers. However, through advantageous geographical location, we can still recover lost ground, boost Hong Kong economy and increase income to enhance our ability to purchase properties.

Looking into the future, as Hong Kong rides the momentum of the Big Bay Area’s development, more mainland residents will come to Hong Kong to live, work and start businesses. With more people looking for places to live, the Hong Kong property value is likely to soar. The current property market dictates that whoever offers a better price gets the land, which means that an increasing number of Hong Kong people will lose the ability to buy homes; in addition, locals have not yet reached a consensus on reclamation. Taking all the factors into account, our only hope for now is an updated version of the "Hong Kong property for Hong Kong residents" policy!