A speech delivered on July 1 by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, bolstered Hong Kong's confidence and boosted the global business hub's determination to further integrate into China's overall development, prominent businesspeople in the special administrative region said.
They agreed that the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is a golden chance that Hong Kong should not miss out on, and that the city's business sector could play a bigger and leading part in promoting the area's integration.
The views were shared after Xi, at a grand gathering celebrating the centenary of the CPC held in Beijing, stressed in the speech that the central government will ensure social stability in Hong Kong and Macao, and maintain lasting prosperity and stability in the two special administrative regions, while protecting China's sovereignty, security and development interests.
Xi said the central authorities will "stay true to the letter and spirit of the principle of 'one country, two systems', under which Hong Kong people administer Hong Kong, and Macao people administer Macao, both with a high degree of autonomy".
Jonathan Choi Koon-shum, permanent honorary president of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said the remarks made clear the central government's trust in the city to safeguard national security, under the leadership of the CPC, and to maintain stability and continue to make a unique contribution to the nation's rejuvenation.
With the city's National Security Law in place, the city's social environment has been fundamentally improved, and it is time for the global financial hub to revitalize its economy and make joint efforts to solve its deep-rooted issues, said Choi, who just received the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the city's highest honorary award, on July 1.
Choi said he is confident about the city's future and pledged he will join hands with the city's business sector to explore new business opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and Belt and Road countries.
Lo Kam-yam, chairman of the Hong Kong Commerce and Industry Associations, was convinced of Hong Kong's promising future, and that of the Party and the country, after hearing Xi's remarks.
Hong Kong people realize the country's firm support is indispensable to the city's development and prosperity, he said.
Good cases in point would be the implementation of the National Security Law and the improvement made to the city's electoral system, both of which quickly allow the city to get back on track.
Echoing the business heavyweights, Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, noted in a social media post on Wednesday that the development of the Greater Bay Area is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Hong Kong.
Leung encouraged chambers of commerce and professional associations to take the lead and more proactively promote the city's integration into the development of the whole Greater Bay Area.
He suggested that these organizations in Hong Kong set up branches in one or two cities in Guangdong province, where it is easier for them to reach out to more resources, including firsthand information of other cities in the Greater Bay Area.
In Leung's view, these groups should also carry out relevant policy research in a down-to-earth way and play the role of "guiding light" for Hong Kong residents who set their sights on the development of the Greater Bay Area.
The city's top official, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, also highlighted on Thursday the significance and necessity of integrating into the nation's development in technology.
Lam said she believes there will be a growing number of cooperative scientific research opportunities between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, and the city can leverage its advantages and contribute to the country's science and technology development.
Speaking at a Legislative Council meeting, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong Edward Yau Tang-wah stressed on Thursday that the city's integration into the mainland should go deeper and cover broader areas. He vowed to double down on efforts to promote relevant work.