Hongkongers looking for work in the mainland are put off by legal barriers, economic factors and cultural differences

Hongkongers looking for work in the mainland are put off by legal barriers, economic factors and cultural differences

Several hurdles prevent young Hongkongers from pursuing business and work in the Greater Bay Area

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The Greater Bay Area development plan involves linking Hong Kong and Macau with nine other cities to create a new centre of innovation.
Photo: AP

Business, policy, and legal barriers are the main factors stopping Hong Kong’s young people from pursuing work in the Greater Bay Area, according to a youth think tank.

According to the Youth Research Centre of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, 86 per cent of Hongkongers aged 18 to 39 found the difference between Hong Kong’s common law and the mainland’s legal system to be a problem, while 79.9 per cent cited taxation issues and 74.9 per cent said adapting to the business and trade environment across the border was a challenge.

The survey, which covered 522 people, conducted 20 case studies of people working or starting businesses on the mainland, and interviewed scholars and business people.

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Interviewees pointed out two major factors which prevented them from working there in the long term. Under the current regulations, they said their earnings were taxed under the much higher mainland rate if they stayed in the country for more than 183 days a year.

Also, the mainland’s capital controls made it difficult for them to bring their money back to Hong Kong.

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The research group said their study was aimed specifically at young people who are interested in developing their careers north of the border. Cultural differences were shrinking but still an issue, the survey showed. On the positive side, there is a big similarity in things like the movies and TV shows watched by Hongkongers and mainlanders.

However, think tank member Manson Chow Ho-man pointed out that the drawbacks of working on the mainland might be more about relationships rather than the country’s laws. “Getting a job might still be about relationships. The culture of socialising, social drinking and smoking are also potential problems,” Chow said.

The report suggested a bureau be set up to coordinate business among the nine cities in the Greater Bay Area, while offering tax incentives and loosened capital controls for Hongkongers.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne

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