After only a few moments’ conversation with him, one can easily tell that Cheng Cheuk-pan, from Hong Kong, has assimilated himself very well into mainland society, not only from his fluent Putonghua (standard Mandarin), but also from his understanding of mainland culture.
Cheng, 37, has worked and lived on the mainland for over 10 years and started up his education business in Qianhai in Shenzhen in 2020.
After Cheng graduated from Jinan University in Guangzhou in 2009, he returned to Hong Kong and worked for an educational institution, but his company then assigned him to Dongguan. Toward the end of 2009, another Hong Kong friend had set up a company in Qianhai and introduced Cheng to the area. He was attracted by Qianhai’s preferential policies for Hong Kong startups and decided to move to Shenzhen and established his own company in Qianhai.
“To be honest, it took me 10 years to fully adapt to the environment here. I tried my best to communicate with local people to understand and learn from them,” Cheng said.
“Qianhai has launched many policies to help Hong Kong people better develop and live in this area, such as providing talented people with apartments on favorable terms, and it has also organized various activities for young Hong Kong people to mingle with the locals,” he said.
“Qianhai’s services for Hong Kong entrepreneurs are very efficient. Whenever I have some questions about local policies, I can easily reach the service staff members who respond in a timely manner,” Cheng added.
Cheng told Shenzhen Daily that he thinks Shenzhen is the best platform for Hong Kong’s young people who intend to live and develop on the mainland, thanks in great part to the city’s fully integrated Hong Kong people communities and its convenient transportation.
“Under the country’s reform and opening-up policy, Shenzhen is now no less prosperous than Hong Kong. Also, Shenzhen shares some cultural similarities with Hong Kong and has many Hong Kong-invested enterprises. So, I think the city is the most appropriate place on the mainland for Hong Kong people to know more about their motherland and when they are able to adapt to the life here, they can go to other mainland cities to seek opportunities,” Cheng said.
As the COVID-19 outbreak greatly hindered mainland students from studying in Hong Kong or overseas, Cheng, a dedicated veteran in the educational field, found a way out for them — the introduction of a Hong Kong associate degree program to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), the first of its kind on the mainland. After Cheng spent a year and a half making preparations, the program was officially launched in Qianhai on May 13.
An associate degree is a two-year academic program that prepares students with a strong grounding in their selected fields, and also provides them with a broad general education background. After finishing the program, a student can apply for universities either in Hong Kong or in other countries.
“In the past, only by staying in Hong Kong could mainland students join such a program,” Cheng said. “Now, mainland students can take the program’s courses in the GBA’s schools. And the program will also enroll Hong Kong students on the mainland, which aims to help mainland and Hong Kong students interact more with each other and strengthen their connections.”
Cheng said he is always willing to do more to promote Qianhai’s preferential policies among young people in Hong Kong and hopes he will be given more opportunities to go to Hong Kong’s universities to share with students his experience on the mainland.