Youth I.D.E.A.S. 09
Employment and Economic Development
Challenges and Opportunities : Hong Kong’s Role as a Super-connector
30 March, 2016
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is an important long-term foreign development strategy of China. The central government announced the co-operation and development principles of the BRI in 2013 in a bid to achieve connectivity and to seek common prosperity via enhancing co-operation among different countries and regions along the belt and road. The aggregate economic value of these places amounts to US$21 trillion. Covering 4.4 billion people and accounting for more than 60% of the global population, they form the longest economic corridors in the world.
Over the years, the economies of Hong Kong and Mainland China have been intertwined. Hong Kong should take into consideration the impact of this interaction when making future economic plans. It should think about how to promote its own economic development by making better use of its excellence in order for both sides to gain mutual benefits during the process of the development of the BRI.
Hong Kong has been playing the role of a “connector” and promoting economic co-operation among different countries and regions. It is a significant gateway for Mainland enterprises to “go global” and bring in foreign enterprises to the Mainland. It is therefore worth looking at how Hong Kong can make effective use of its excellence to connect more countries in the development of the BRI in order to upgrade itself from a connector to a “super-connector”. This issue, which involves the long-term development of both the Mainland and Hong Kong, is highly related to the career prospects of young people.
This study conducts an analysis from the perspectives of system and human resources. On the one hand, it examines the inherent excellence of Hong Kong in successfully connecting the Mainland and overseas countries. On the other hand, it tries to understand the younger generation’s knowledge and perception of the BRI. By synthesizing both perspectives, the study explores how Hong Kong can be prepared to take on the role of super-connector in the development of the BRI.
This study uses an online survey and focus groups to understand young people’s knowledge and perception of the BRI and their willingness to learn about foreign cultures. In addition, experts and scholars are interviewed and asked to give their assessments of (a) the conditions required for Hong Kong to play the role of a super-connector and (b) the merits and inadequacy of Hong Kong. They also give suggestions on the preparations Hong Kong young people can make.
On the basis of the findings of this study, Youth I.D.E.A.S. puts forward four recommendations which focus on consolidating the international status of Hong Kong and strengthening the international perspective of young people.
1.1 The government should set up a “Multicultural Exchange Fund” to encourage non-profit making organizations and ethnic minority organizations to organize cultural exchange activities, such as an International Culture Day or a South Asia Food Promotion.1.2 The form of exchange should be enriched and diversified. Exchange activities organized by tertiary colleges and youth service agencies should be extended to include countries and regions in the belt and road. These activities may include student or scholar exchange programmes, internship programmes, and overseas voluntary service programmes. Subsidies could be provided as an incentive.
1.3 Strengthening the international element of educational programmes. Educational institutes should strengthen the international element when designing educational programmes, such as providing knowledge of Islamic commercial law and global geographic politics.
1.4 Providing practical knowledge. Chambers and professional associations in Hong Kong could organize more practical seminars providing information about the life, culture, and career opportunities in the countries along the belt and road.
 Legislative Council. May, 2015. “One belt one road”. Legislative Council Essentials ISE12/14-15.