China Wants to Integrate Greater Bay Area into a Tech Hub Challenger to Silicon Valley

Today, China released a new grand plan for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Guangzhou would be the four key cities of the bay area and the core engines for regional development.

Finance, Insurance Industry Support for Hong Kong

The plan supports Hong Kong as an international finance, transport and trade center as well as an aviation hub, promoting the development of high-end and high-value-added financial, commercial, trading, logistics and professional services.

The insurance sector will be one of the biggest winners under the plan for the new economic hub because it will enable more cross-border insurance policy sales, claims and investigations, said analysts. The plan also includes measures to encourage insurance companies in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau to jointly develop innovative cross-boundary car and medical insurance products to allow policyholders in both markets to easily buy products and make claims.

The plan covers the period from now to 2022 in the near term and extends to 2035 in the long term. By 2022, a first-class international bay area with urban clusters should be basically established, featuring outstanding innovation ability and beautiful environments. By 2035, high-level interconnectivity in the markets in the Greater Bay Area should be realized with synergized regional development.

The grand plan calls for measures to strengthen cooperation in innovation and technology, enhance the building of basic innovation capacity, improved the in-depth integration of industries, academia and research, and deepen reform of innovation systems and mechanisms in the region, as well as step up the protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights.

The Greater Bay Area, which spans nine cities in South China’s Guangdong Province as well as Hong Kong and Macao, the two special administrative regions, with a total GDP of $1.5 trillion in 2017.

New-generation high technologies in information, biology, advanced manufacturing and new materials will grow into core industries in the area. Several key projects in fifth-generation (5G) networks, genetic testing, intelligent robotics, 3D printing and the BeiDou navigation system will be cultivated.

China wants the Greater Bay Area to compete with the New York bay area and San Francisco Bay Area in the USA.

Key development areas

1. An international innovation and technology hub
● More opportunities and better conditions for Hong Kong and Macau youths to start businesses in the bay area
● Allow Hong Kong and Macau research and design firms in Guangdong to have the same treatment as mainland companies and benefit from national and provincial policies

2. Expediting infrastructural connectivity
● Adopt new models of clearance procedures on the express rail and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
● Improve electricity transmission between mainland and Hong Kong
● Increase capacity at immigration ports in the bay area for a more efficient flow of people and goods

3. Deepen ties between Hong Kong and mainland financial systems
● Stock connections between Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, will be enhanced
● Eligible Hong Kong and Macau banks and insurance firms will be supported in opening branches in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai

4. Quality of life, work and travel
● Encourage Chinese nationals in Hong Kong and Macau to work at state enterprises and agencies
● Hong Kong and Macau residents working on the mainland could get the same rights to education, medical care, elderly care, housing and transport as mainland residents

5. Education in the bay area
● Consider letting Hong Kong teachers work in Guangdong
● Children of Hongkongers working on the mainland could get same right to education as mainland
residents
● Higher-education institutions from different cities will be supported in running schools and programmes jointly

6. Cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau
● The establishment of a Greater Bay Area international commercial bank in Guangdong
● Create an international and market-oriented business environment based on rule of law, under the jurisdiction and legal framework of mainland China

7. Ecological conservation
● Strengthen water and air pollution control in the Pearl Delta River area

SOURCES- SCMP, Reuters

Written By Brian Wang

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