There is plan to integrate the nine major cities of the Pearl River Delta along with Hong Kong and Macau. The Greater Pearl River Delta has about 60 million people in it now. The GDP of the area is about US$1.1 trillion (2013 est). By 2020, the pearl river delta region could have a population of 100 million and a GDP of $2 to 2.5 trillion. The GDP figure would put it into the range of France or the UK.
These old population estimates are outdated. The Pearl River Delta will have a population of about 65 million in 2015 and is already over 50 million today (not including Hong Kong and Macau which would add another 9 million.
The Hong Kong – Shenzhen – Guangzhou high speed rail line will complete by 2015. Other high speed rail links will reduce travel time between any city in the area to 1 hour or less. Current travel times can be 2-3 hours.
“Guangdong is trying to speed up the development goal of fully integrated delta cities and doubling residents’ incomes by 2020, but unresolved issues such as hardware barriers and conflicting interests among state-owned [telecommunications] enterprises have delayed development progress,” Peng said.
However, he said a recent reform drive at the national level could help remove some of the stumbling blocks.