ROME, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The economic growth of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) can increasingly benefit from the proximity with the Chinese mainland, Italian analysts said on Sunday.
Over the past 15 years, the HKSAR has gained a lot of opportunities for development from the mainland, said Airaldo Piva, CEO of Milan-based Hengdian Group Europe, while commenting on Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Hong Kong to mark the 15th anniversary of its return to China.
During his visit, Hu reaffirmed his full support to the government of the HKSAR. This is of course in the interest of the Chinese mainland in the long term, but also especially important to the prosperity of Hong Kong's economy, Piva told Xinhua.
The Chinese president also said on Sunday that the central government will remain committed to the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy.
Hu's visit to Hong Kong was expected as another important stage of the path which started 15 years ago as the Chinese mainland had always highlighted the importance of the "one country, two systems" principle that has been reaffirmed in these days, Piva said.
In fact, he noted "It is especially in the Hong Kong's interest to remain fastened and maintain a solid relationship with the mainland, considered Beijing's increasing leadership role in the world."
The HKSAR's economic development has witnessed radical structural change because of the emergence of the Chinese mainland as a global manufacturing powerhouse, commented Thomas Rosenthal, head of the Strategy and External Relations of Italy-China Foundation.
Rosenthal told Xinhua that the HKSAR has turned from a low-skilled manufacturer to a highly skilled production base, leveraging its role as a sophisticated logistical base for imports from and exports to the Chinese mainland and Asia.
The Chinese mainland needs Hong Kong and Hong Kong needs the Chinese mainland, he said, stressing that as manufacturing fundamentally migrated to the Chinese mainland and other lower cost Asian countries, Hong Kong has grown as the most significant Asian financial center.
The complementarity of this special relationship in system and structure is clear when observing bilateral trade and investment flows, Rosenthal said.
The internationalization of the RMB in Hong Kong also proves that the Chinese mainland is utilizing Hong Kong as its testbed just like the special economic zones in the 1980s and 1990s, he noted.
Rosenthal also added Hong Kong still provides a role model for the Chinese mainland's social, political and economic development based on the rule of law, economic freedom and a more significant space for civil society.
According to Alberto Forchielli, managing partner at Mandarin Capital Partners and president of the think tank Osservatorio Asia, Hong Kong, over the past 15 years, has achieved steady economic growth despite setbacks from a the international financial crisis.
Certainly, Hong Kong took advantage of its proximity with the Chinese mainland for its economy growth, even at times of recession which spared no one, Forchielli told Xinhua.
He said Hong Kong is still "one of the most vibrant societies in Asia, and one of the most prosperous."