Hong Kong, 9 Sep (ZXS) -- Topic: Commentary: The Loop connects Hong Kong and Shenzhen to jointly build a new future of innovation and technology

China News Agency reporter Liu Dawei

When you think of the "Hetao", many people may first think of the Hetao Plain located in the Yellow River. But literally, "river loop" refers to the course of the river that bends into a large half circle. In the northern region, the Hetao Plain is formed by the alluvial of the Yellow River and its forks, and the water and soil are abundant. On the coast of the South China Sea, another "Loop" at the junction of Hong Kong and Shenzhen has become the soil for I&T cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen due to historical chance.

The data map overlooks the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Co-operation Zone of the Loop. Photo by China News Agency reporter Chen Wen

The Hong Kong-Shenzhen Loop area is also known as the "Lok Ma Chau Loop Area". Looking at the history of development here, we can clearly see the historical process of co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The formation of this area began with the joint implementation of river flood control and drainage projects in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Since then, the economic cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong has become increasingly close, and this area has become a "bridgehead" for collaborative innovation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. In 2017, Hong Kong and Shenzhen reached a co-operation agreement to jointly develop the Innovation and Technology Park in Lok Ma Chau. As a result, the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Loop area has gradually developed from an island in the river of 0.87 square kilometers to a Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone of about 4 square kilometers of the Loop, forming a pattern of "one district, two parks".

"The gradual development of the Loop area is not only an expansion and evolution of area, but also reflects the cross-border layout development of the industry." According to Fang Zhou, research director of the "One Country, Two Systems" Research Centre in Hong Kong, this cross-border layout includes not only the cross-border facilitation of the flow of human resources, capital, goods, information, data and other elements, but also the deepening of cooperation between the two places in the fields of mechanism coordination and institutional innovation.

The infographic shows the public walking into the "e-Station" Integrated Service Centre of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone in the Loop. Photo by Wang Dongyuan

As the only distinctive platform in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area with the theme of scientific and technological innovation, the development of the Loop Cooperation Zone has been attracting much attention. The recent release of the Shenzhen Park Development Plan of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Co-operation Zone (the "Loop") has injected new momentum into the future I&T development and co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

At present, increasing investment in scientific and technological innovation has become an important channel for promoting development around the world, and Hong Kong is no exception. In 2022, the HKSAR Government announced the Blueprint for the Development of Innovation and Technology in Hong Kong, which clearly states that it will "promote the new industrialisation of Hong Kong" and promote Hong Kong to become an important global I&T hub.

For Hong Kong, joining hands with Shenzhen is a breakthrough for I&T development and one of the ways to integrate into the Greater Bay Area. Indeed, the cooperation in science and technology innovation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen has a natural complementary effect. Hong Kong's advantage lies in its R&D capabilities, but it lacks in the implementation of R&D results, and it must collaborate with the Mainland to activate the development of the whole I&T chain. Shenzhen, which started with science and technology, can assume the responsibility of incubation of achievements with its mature industrial chain advantages and strong innovation application transformation capabilities.

The data picture shows technicians from the International Quantum Research Institute working next to the dilution refrigerator in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Cooperation Zone of the Loop. Photo by China News Agency reporter Chen Wen

To make the collaboration between Hong Kong and Shenzhen smoother, the Loop focuses on the "one district, two parks" model, and clarifies a series of arrangements for the convenient cross-border flow of people, logistics, capital and information. For example, in terms of cross-border flow of people, it is proposed to complete the reconstruction of Huanggang Port by 2025, and the reconstructed port will implement "one place, two inspections", which will greatly shorten the "customs clearance" time and facilitate the work and life of scientific researchers in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Ark believes that promoting the convenient flow of factors between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is the only way to achieve better development of the Loop area. After opening up the convenient flow of these elements, the River Loop, Lok Ma Chau Control Point and the "Northern Metropolis" Xintian Science and Technology City, which the SAR government is focusing on building, can also be integrated into the "Great River Loop" area, and a management agency can be established to implement unified management. At the same time, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen parks can also further open up the management mode and industrial layout cooperation, and strive for the cross-border layout of the same industrial project.

"If we take a strategic vision to plan the 'one district, two parks' of the Loop, then it will definitely become a demonstration area for the new practice of 'one country, two systems' and an important engine for Hong Kong's innovation and technology industry." Ark said. As Si said, the blueprint for the current development has been drawn up, and I believe that the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone of the Loop will make greater achievements to promote the two places to jointly build a new future of I&T. (End)