Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that his upcoming visit to the mainland next week is a necessary and timely opportunity to cooperate with Pearl River Delta cities under a grand scheme to develop the area.

He will lead a delegation to visit five “bay area” cities of the Pearl River Delta, in response to a plan announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his annual work report last month. The plan gave focus to cooperation and strategic development in the region.

Leung said the National Reform and Development Commission was set to complete the plan by October, thus the Hong Kong government has to submit its opinion by June.

Leung Chun-ying. Photo: GovHK.

“I have been speaking with the Commission over this issue on different occasions – I have met with the party secretary of Guangzhou at the BOAO forum to discuss how we can work with each other under this grand strategy,” Leung said ahead of the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.

“This tour is necessary, and timely,” he said.

Leung said last year that Hong Kong’s service industry trading with the Guangdong Province increased by 40 per cent compared to 2015, and that it was in-keeping with the grand strategy to develop Hong Kong’s economy.

City tours

Eight top officials will accompany Leung, alongside the Commissioner for Belt and Road Yvonne Choi.

They will travel to Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Jiangmen, Zhongshan and Zhuhai during the three-day visit to look at the cities’ latest developments in infrastructure, town planning and innovation and technology, as well as to meet with local leaders.

The four other “bay area” cities are Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Weizhou.

Photo: GovHK.

Public annuity scheme

Leung was also asked if the new HK$10 billion public annuity scheme announced on Monday benefited too few people.

The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation announced that retirees will be able to invest a lump-sum premium payment, and receive a guaranteed monthly income until death.

People aged 65 and above will be allowed to invest between HK$50,000 and HK$1 million. Retirees could receive HK$450 to HK$580 each month per HK$100,000 premium paid.

If all of the participants put in HK$1 million, only 10,000 retirees may be accepted onto the plan.

Leung said the plan showed the government’s focus on elderly needs.

“Our assessment was that the response to the scheme was positive. If it is welcomed, we can increase the amount,” he said.

Editor’s note: Digital media outlets such as Hong Kong Free Press are currently barred from attending government press conferences.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.