Lingnan University’s new Joint Research Centre releases first report

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Survey finds that around 50 per cent of young Hongkongers have a positive attitude towards the GBA.

Around 50 per cent of young Hongkongers have a positive attitude to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) strategy, but only a third are interested in working in the mainland zone of the development area, said a report by the Joint Research Centre for Greater Bay Area – Social Policy and Governance, released 18 May 2019.

The report, entitled “Surveys on Youth and University Students’ Perceptions on Development Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area,” is the first research project undertaken by the Joint Research Centre, an initiative by Lingnan University in Hong Kong and the South China University of Technology in the mainland.

The GBA development is a key strategic initiative by Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, which aims to link two Special Administrative Regions and nine municipalities in southern China together to form a megalopolis with a total population of more than 70 million people. The GBA, which includes Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, will enable a coordinated approach to economic development in the region.

 

Lingnan is the first university in Hong Kong to collaborate with a mainland university to conduct research into the GBA with focus on social development, policy and governance issues. The Joint Research Centre will strengthen ties between Hong Kong and the mainland and support efforts to promote cultural development within the GBA, says Professor Joshua Mok, Lingnan University’s Vice-President. The Centre studies daily life in the GBA.

“Surveys on Youth and University Students’ Perceptions on Development Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area” revealed that 50 per cent of young Hong Kong residents, and 45 per cent of Hong Kong university students had a positive attitude towards the GBA. But only 35 per cent of respondents in both groups were willing to work in the mainland zone of the GBA, with 20 per cent of young residents and 30 per cent of university students answering “Do not know / Cannot comment.”

Respondents said they would be most likely to work in the innovation and technology, finance, and professional services sectors in the GBA, noting that they also predicted a bright future for creative industries. But respondents also expressed misgivings about working in the GBA, singling out mainland China’s restrictions on internet use. Nearly 70 per cent of young residents, and over 55 per cent of university students, worried that they would not be able to find suitable jobs in the GBA, and more than 75 per cent of young residents and 80 per cent of university students worried about internet restrictions.

Researchers used a web-based questionnaire to interview Hong Kong residents (“young residents”) aged between 18 and 35, and university students in Hong Kong.

The Joint Research Centre will continue to explore topics of interest to those who live in the GBA. For instance, the Hong Kong government has been encouraging residents to move to the GBA when they retire, but there has been little research on the subject. “We therefore intend to carry out related research. Hopefully we can bring new ideas to governments and people on both sides,” Professor Mok said.