Chayse Chan (right), a wine trader originally from Hong Kong, introduces her products to customers at a wine fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Chayse Chan chose to start her business in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, years ago instead of being a white-collar worker in her hometown, Hong Kong.
She said she now advises her entrepreneurial Hong Kong friends to come to Guangzhou and other Chinese mainland cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
"Guangzhou has a profound cultural heritage and a big population, and therefore it provides more business opportunities than Hong Kong, which has a smaller population," Chan said.
"Hong Kong residents can easily integrate into daily life in Guangzhou, as many local residents can speak the same Cantonese," she said.
Chan said she is optimistic about the investment policies and business environment in Guangzhou, which is only a short trip from Hong Kong, and said the city government has introduced a series of preferential policies to encourage young university graduates from Hong Kong and Macao to start businesses or careers in the open, inclusive city.
With startup capital of only 20,000 yuan ($3,080), Hong Kong residents can be bosses in Guangzhou, she said.
Since dissolving a previous business, Chan, who was born in 1988, has been running a cross-border e-commerce company in Guangzhou's busy Tianhe district that sells Spanish red wine. She said she hopes to bring the wine and culture of Spain to Guangzhou, as her brother is investing in wineries in the European country.
The company has been operating smoothly since opening last year, she said.
Apart from help with finding an office, the Guangzhou Tianhe Hong Kong and Macao Youth Association Headquarters helped her apply for a business license, open a company bank account and recruit employees, she said.
Chan said orders started coming in the moment her company opened. The first customer was a Spaniard working and living in China.
The cost of running a company and living in Guangzhou is much lower than in Hong Kong, making it easier for university graduates from Hong Kong to start businesses, Chan said.
Fan Qi, one of Chan's customers, said he was not surprised that many Hong Kong residents are choosing to start businesses in Guangzhou, because the Pearl River Delta is one of two areas in the mainland with relatively good economic development that offer many business opportunities. The other is the Yangtze River Delta.
"Entrepreneurship should be integrated into local customs, and Guangzhou should be an ideal destination for young business representatives from Hong Kong," said Fan, who hails from northern China and is also engaged in the red wine trade.
Chan said she also likes the life and culture of Guangzhou.
Many shopping malls in the city are similar to those in Hong Kong, which makes her feel at home, and the residents are warm and friendly, she said.
"Meanwhile the Tianhe Hong Kong and Macao Youth Association Headquarters also regularly holds cocktail parties for people from Hong Kong, allowing us to chat and share," Chan said.
A graduate of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she majored in fashion, Chan now rents an apartment of more than 60 square meters for 3,000 yuan a month in Zhujiang New Town, a prime destination in Guangzhou.
"The environment of the apartment is very good, and I go running along the Pearl River banks every evening," she said.
Chan said she also likes shopping, cycling and outdoor sports in her spare time.
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