The Central Government has announced 15 new steps – policies and measures – to support Macao’s contribution in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area).
The new steps were announced today following Wednesday’s meeting of the leading group for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, expressed his gratitude to the Central Government and other Greater Bay Area cities, saying the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) would dedicate utmost effort to implementing the announced policies and measures.
The new steps would accelerate development of the city-cluster initiative, and further improve convenience in terms of Macao residents either working, studying or living in other Greater Bay Area cities. The policies and measures would also encourage more frequent exchange, within the Greater Bay Area, of people, goods and capital; and support professional services in the Greater Bay Area.
The 15 policies and measures to benefit Macao are as follows:
I) Policies benefitting members of the public
1. The facilitation of property purchases by Macao residents in mainland cities within the Greater Bay Area. Macao residents will be treated as local residents in purchasing properties in those mainland cities, without being required to provide evidence of their duration of residence, study or employment; nor to meet conditions on the payment of individual income tax and social security.
2. Enabling the use of mobile electronic payment by Macao residents on the mainland. Routes for this encompass encouraging and supporting development of e-payment options by commercial banks, payment institutions, and China UnionPay and its network entities. Using existing e-wallet platforms developed by mainland-based companies, there would be greater support for qualified Macao operators of e-wallet platforms to enable mobile payments. The same would apply to those payment-clearing institutions – based outside the mainland – that fulfil the necessary requirements.
3. Ensuring that children of Macao residents enjoy the same standard of education within the mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area as that offered to children of mainland residents. This measure ensures children of Macao residents enjoy public education services in pre-primary institutions, in accordance with regulations at their place of mainland residence within the Greater Bay Area. It also supports the creation of special classes serving children from Hong Kong and Macao. Children of Macao residents will be able to participate in the senior high school entrance examination for admission to senior high school in the relevant mainland cities, under the applicable local rules. This would be applicable to children who had relocated with their parents.
4. The exploration of the establishment of a cross-boundary wealth management scheme. Mainland people residing in the Greater Bay Area will be permitted to purchase wealth management products from banks based in either Hong Kong or Macao. Hong Kong and Macao residents will be supported if they wish to buy wealth management products in banks based in mainland cities within the Greater Bay Area.
5. The facilitation of travel – by foreigners holding Macao permanent identity cards – to and from the Guangdong cities covered in the Greater Bay Area. There would also be facilitation of a system whereby foreigners holding Macao permanent identity cards would be able to stay or reside in any of the nine mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area. They would additionally be able to apply to the relevant mainland authorities for a visa – or permission for residence – with a validity of between two and up to five years.
6. The loosening of restrictions regarding importation of medicine and medical instruments to the nine mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area. Designated medical institutions operating in the nine cities of Guangdong within the Greater Bay Area are to be allowed to use medical instruments – where urgently needed – that have been marketed in Hong Kong and Macao and that are already in use in public hospitals in Hong Kong and in Macao. Such permission shall be granted by the Guangdong Provincial Government.
II) Policies and measures supporting professional services
7. The loosening of restrictions regarding formation of partnership-based law firms. There is to be removal of the regulation that currently requires a Macao law firm to inject not less than 30 percent in a partnership association with mainland-based law firm.
8. Further extension of the scope of mutual recognition of qualifications. This would include enabling architects and structural engineers who are members of relevant professional institutes in Hong Kong to be members of corresponding institutes on the mainland.
9. The expansion of coverage of supporting measures for Macao professionals working on the mainland. Macao professionals in the fields of construction and engineering – who have professional qualifications that are either approved via the mutual recognition system or are based on examinations successfully completed on the mainland – already enjoy supporting measures if they perform work in either Guangdong, Guangxi or Fujian. The new policy enables such supporting measures to be extended to all places on the mainland.
10. The building of a Shenzhen-Hong Kong cooperation zone for science and technology innovation. The Central Government supports such development and there would be further supporting policies to facilitate the flow of talent, capital, goods, and information.
11. The facilitation of customs clearance of imported animal-derived biomaterials. There would be further measures to facilitate customs clearance – via simplifying the vetting process and shortening the processing time – regarding import of certain other biomaterials.
12. The relaxation of a limitation on export of human genetic resources from the mainland to Hong Kong and Macao. Mainland branches of Macao higher education institutes, scientific research institutes, and hospitals would be treated as mainland entities. Upon meeting specific requirements, they would be allowed to lodge applications for exporting human genetic resources to Macao under a trial scheme. Such applications would have to be submitted by the Macao SAR Government, and the Ministry of Science and Technology would have to be notified.
13. The introduction of favourable policies on insurance supervision. When mainland insurance companies reinsure to qualified Hong Kong and Macao insurance companies, a relatively flexible approach to credit requirements would be adopted.
14. The supporting of insurance-assessment institutions from Macao in establishing business on the mainland. The new measure would remove the eligibility requirement – regarding number of years of operating experience required – in order to enable relevant Macao institutions to establish business on the mainland.
15. The supporting of development of a bond market in Macao. Certain requirements would be further relaxed, such as grading, level of principal capital, and ability to repay in relation to establishment of special-purpose insurers by mainland insurers seeking to issue catastrophe bonds in Macao.
The Greater Bay Area is a city cluster formed by nine cities in Guangdong Province – namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing – plus the Hong Kong SAR, and the Macao SAR.