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1978, China launched a policy of “reform and Guangzhou office, said, “Alignment of infrastructure
opening-up”, which catalyzed the economic development is the key to an integrated and evolving
development of modern day China. Leading the way Greater Bay Area”.
in the implementation of this policy was South China’s
Pearl River Delta (PRD) region. To achieve this, the initiative includes three key
infrastructure projects. Firstly, there is the Hong
Today, the PRD is one of China’s most open and Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which will likely open in
dynamic regions. The PRD is known as “The Factory 2018 and significantly reduce travel times from Hong
of the World” and in 2016 the combined GDP of the Kong to Zhuhai and Macau. Secondly, there is the
11 cities in the region was RMB 9.35 trillion (US$1.38 Express Rail Link, which is due to open in 2018 and will
trillion). This accounted for 12 percent of China’s connect Hong Kong to Shenzhen and Guangdong, and
economy that year, even though the region only subsequently to China’s vast high-speed rail network.
accounts for five percent of the country’s population. If Finally, there is the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Corridor,
the region were a country, it would be the fifth largest which is an eight-lane highway that will reduce travel
economy in Asia. time between Shenzhen and Zhongshan/Jiangmen by
approximately 30 minutes after its completion in 2024.
Despite its success, the Chinese government will
not allow the PRD to rest on its laurels. As the region A more physically integrated GBA will also put
faces increasing competition from countries such as the region in a stronger position to achieve two
India and Vietnam for low-cost manufacturing, the other important parts of the initiative: increasing
PRD must become even more open and innovative the economy’s value adding capabilities and
by taking a leading role in China’s next stage of boosting internationalization, both of which are also
economic development. important more broadly for China’s next stage of
economic development.
With the signing of a framework agreement in
July 2017 between the National Development and To foster a region that adds more value in its
Reform Commission (NDRC) and the governments economy, the initiative plans for the region to
of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau, the PRD become an important global center for advanced
has been placed at the center of an ambitious new manufacturing and to focus on innovation, finance,
initiative. The initiative, first introduced in China’s shipping, trade, and leisure. These are areas where
13th Five Year Plan, aims to transform the PRD into the GBA is already strong, with different cities having
the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area already established their own unique strengths.
(GBA)” by further integrating Hong Kong, Macau, and
nine cities in Guangdong so that they become a world Hong Kong is known as a world
class city cluster. financial center; Shenzhen is known
as China’s “Silicon Valley” because
If the initiative develops according to plan, the region of its innovation and startup
will be transformed from “The Factory of the World” to culture; Guangzhou is known for
a dynamic hub of innovation and services with a GDP its manufacturing industry and as a
of US$4.62 trillion by 2030. This means that the PRD logistics hub; and Macau and Zhuhai
will overtake rival bay areas in Tokyo, New York, and are known for leisure and tourism.
San Francisco to become the biggest in the world in
terms of GDP. A more integrated and open GBA will allow for the
further development of these industries. For example,
Greater Bay Area integration plans the completion of the three key infrastructure projects

Valeria Manunza, International Business Advisory
Assistant Manager at Dezan Shira & Associates’

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