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A Brief Discussion on the Potential Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

Greater Bay Area


The Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office (HKMAO) of the State Council, Mr. Zhang Xiaoming recently conducted a television interview and shared that the framework of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area[1] (Greater Bay Area) has been collaboratively formulated with the contribution of the Guangdong, Macao and Hong Kong Governments of the three regions, preliminary outlined the prime objectives, positioning, development directions and missions of the Greater Bay Area. In the meantime, they are reviewing and enacting the comprehensive good-matching ancillary measures to coordinate the integration of the 11 districts in the Greater Bay Area into the world-class metropolitan cluster.


The Greater Bay Area covers an area of more than 50, 000 square kilometers and has a population of 66 million. By 2017, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reached well over 1.4 trillion US dollars, covering a total of 12 policy areas: Innovation and Technology, Financial Services, Transportation and Logistics, Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and Professional Services, International Legal and Dispute Resolution Services, Clearance Facilitation, Medical Services, Education, Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, Tourism, Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development and Youth Development. Some scholars estimated that the scale of potential development in the Greater Bay Area is comparable to that of Tokyo in Japan, New York and San Francisco Bay area in the United States, and which cannot be overlooked.


At present, the preliminary work of facilitating the Greater Bay Area’s development has been in full swing, which will help to meet the growing volume and frequency of traffic between the three cities in the future. Examples such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), the Hong Kong Section of the Express Rail Link and the Liantang/ Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, etc., will not only benefit the construction industry in mainland China and Hong Kong, but will also significantly shorten the travelling time between Hong Kong and the cities in the Greater Bay Area, thus promote the interconnection between these areas.


Besides, there are still two crucial cross-boundary infrastructure projects that have not yet been completed - “The Second Humen Bridge”, which will connect the two sides of the Pearl River with a total length of 13 kilometers, and the “Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge”, which is the only direct expressway connecting Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou with Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen. Both are expected to be commenced in the first half of 2019 and 2024 respectively. By that time, the surrounding cities of the Big Bay area will all be connected.


What does this "connection" mean? First, of course, it will undoubtedly bring the neighboring urban coastal cities of the Greater Bay Area closer with a convenient land and sea transport system, thus develop the living facilities around the it, such as hospitals, community centers, entertainment and sports venues,  exhibitions and convention centers, art and cultural space, tourist attractions and hotel projects; the second is to promote the development of residential and commercial real estate market, thereby creating a high quality living circle that combines  clothing, food, housing and transportation.


Furthermore, the development plan of the Greater Bay Area also includes reserving more than 350 hectares of land in the Lok Ma Chau Loop to establish an international innovation and technology hub for start-ups, high-tech companies, and tertiary education institutions. Upon the commissioning of six airport[2] expansion projects in the area, international business co-operation and the process of overseas financial investment will be boosted to stimulate long-term economic growth.


However, this enormous development potential is hindered by different laws, tax, and governance systems of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao. It requires the governments of the three places to put forward a cross-boundary communication mechanism through sound discussions and formulate appropriate strategies and policy directions to break through the limitation to improve the economic cooperation model of the three places, solve the difficulty of asset transfer, and enhance the mobility of professionals, thus enhance the efficiency and cost, maintain the vitality of transportation, science and technology, and innovation.


Information is extracted from:

  • The official website of “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area – Map (Hong Kong)”

[1]The six core airport expansion projects along the Greater Bay Area are Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Guangzhou Second Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Macao International Airport, Zhuhai Jinwan Airport and Hong Kong International Airport.

[2]The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) covers over 11 areas, including the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, and the nine municipalities of Guangdong Province, namely as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, and Zhaoqing.


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