China plans to turn the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau greater bay area into the world’s largest bay area in terms of GDP by 2030. This would mean surpassing Tokyo, New York and the San Francisco bay area economies.
In 2016 combined regional GDP of the greater Guandong-Hong Kong and Macao bay area was 9.35 trillion yuan (US$1.38 trillion). China’s overall 2016 GDP of the Chinese mainland at 74.41 trillion yuan last year (about US$12 trillion).
The average GDP (107,011 RMB) in 2015 was 2.2 times higher than China’s national average (49,992 RMB). Shenzhen’s per capita GDP with around 26,000 USD$ in 2015 was the highest among all mainland Chinese cities.
Shenzhen holds rank #3 and Hong Kong rank #5, followed by Guangzhou on rank #7 of the world’s busiest container harbors (2016).
Hong Kong ranks #6 and Shenzhen #8 of the world’s biggest stock-exchanges by market capitalization.
The South China Morning Post notes that Hong Kong’s special status (for the next 30 years) poses challenges for the integration plans. A few months ago, Guangdong development and reform director He Ningka called for a “national-level coordination mechanism” to ensure collaboration in the region.
Professor Lin Jiang of Sun Yat-sen University said he was not optimistic about the prospects for integration Hong Kong and Macau with the other nine Pearl River Delta cities, after observing various cross-border integration talks over the years.
Full integration is scheduled for Hong Kong by 2047 and in Macau by 2049. There will need to be interim frameworks in the meantime.
China wants to increase Guandong-Hong Kong and Macao regional GDP to $4.62 trillion by 2030, surpassing Tokyo, New York and San Francisco bay areas to become the world No 1, Zhang said.
Tokyo has over US$1.8 trillion in GDP.
New York has about US$1.7 trillion in GDP.
SF Bay Area has about 800-900 billion in GDP.
Soon to be completed Infrastructure
The Guangzhou-Hong Kong Express Rail Link is expected to be open for traffic in 2018. It will cut the travel time from Hong Kong to Guangzhou from two hours to only 48 minutes. Trains will leave from Hong Kong every 15 minutes.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge will let people drive to Macau from the western part of the Pearl River Delta.
The Pearl River Delta has more than 60 million inhabitants, which is comparable to the population of the United Kingdom. The population of Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macau totals more than 110 million people. In comparison the German-speaking population in Europe has roughly the same number The plan includes major infrastructure projects, important development platforms, and major economic and trade conditions that would have to follow the area.
By 2030, the area is expected to have the highest GDP among all bay regions worldwide, and become an advanced manufacturing center, as well as an important global hub of innovation, finance, shipping and trade,
The idea of creating a bay area was raised as early as 2009 in a research report for coordinated development of the city cluster in the greater Pearl River Delta region, total released by local governments of the three regions.
In 2015, building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao greater bay area was included in a report on vision and actions toenter build the Belt and Road Initiative.
The area’s development entered a fast track this year after the annual government work report made it clear that China will draw up a plan for the greater bay area.