Greater Bay Area looks to prosper via increasing exchange

By Zhang Jiaqi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 14, 2019
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The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has outlined ways to embrace growth boosted by increasingly intensive cooperation as China plans to step up efforts in regional coordinated development, one of the resolutions from this year's government work report.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, July 11, 2018 [Photo/Xinhua]

"In developing the Greater Bay Area, we will work to ensure the implementation of plans, achieving compatibility between each region's rules, and facilitating the flow of factors of production and the movement of people," the report said.

Now, as this year's National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) sessions are being held in Beijing, the development of the Greater Bay Area is gathering attention from NPC deputies and CPPCC members, especially those from the three locales.

On Feb. 18, China issued the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area — a comprehensive guide for current and future cooperative development within the Greater Bay Area.

Tightening technological cooperation

With the Beijing-Hong Kong and Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed railways now opened to the public, commute times have been cut dramatically and people are feeling the real change rail transit can bring; however, to develop one-hour living circles still demands the top-level design and development of smart transportation, said Liu Wei, a CPPCC member and CEO of PCITECH.

Now, Liu is planning to lead his company, which applies AI technology to develop intelligent rail transit and smart transportation systems, to invest more in the construction of this "smart transport" in the Greater Bay Area.

According to Liu, people in Guangzhou and Shenzhen are already able to scan a mobile app to ride the subway and pass through security checks with facial recognition, but these conveniences have yet to be realized in Hong Kong.

Alibaba and PCITECH, which are cooperating to renovate the Hong Kong subways, hope to enable Hong Kong commuters to gain mobile access to the subways by the end of this year.

"Cooperation in the application of AI technology will bring great benefits to the people of Hong Kong," Liu Wei said.

On the subject of innovative cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, Liu Ruopeng, an NPC deputy and CEO of Kuang-Chi Technology, another AI tech company in Guangdong province, said his company has cooperated with Hong Kong universities and colleges to cultivate doctoral students, and stated that the two sides exchange communications, talent and technological research.

"As long as the movement of people is further facilitated in the future, communication and cooperation in technological innovation between Guangdong,  Hong Kong and Macao will get more frequent and closer naturally," Liu said.

Witnessing the original Guangzhou-Shenzhen technological innovation corridor extending to include Hong Kong and Macao, Liu Wei said he believes that the development of the Greater Bay Area will boost the technological sector of Hong Kong and Macao, and that such innovation, especially in the AI industry, will greatly boost the economic growth and connectivity of the area.

Boosting educational exchange

The Greater Bay Area features close economic cooperation, but cooperation in education, science and technology lags behind, and in particular, the development of higher education is uneven in different places in the area, said Li Qingquan, an NPC deputy and president of Shenzhen University.

According to Li, the development of the Greater Bay Area is not driven by resources, but by innovation, which requires high-quality talent and a world-class, collaborative higher education system.

Without such a system, there will not be enough support in high-tech research and development, Li said. In view of this, Li brought to the national legislative body his suggestion to establish a Greater Bay Area university to promote the coordinated development of higher education in the area.

Chan Cheuk-hay, a CPPCC member and president of the Hong Kong College of Technology, proposed in-depth integration of education in the Greater Bay Area through deepening cooperation among universities.

According to Chan, some universities in Hong Kong have set up branch campuses and research institutions in other locations within the Greater Bay Area. On this basis, he suggested increasing the number of Hong Kong application-based colleges and universities, especially those engaged in vocational and technical education, as well as cooperating with ones on the mainland to jointly cultivate students.

Lai Sai-kei, an NPC deputy and principal of Keang Peng School in Macao, pointed out in the discussions of the Macao delegation that a large number of talents will be needed urgently for the development of the Greater Bay Area, and that these should be nurtured through education.

Lai suggested that the central government set up an educational leadership committee in the Greater Bay Area that can create a top-level plan to coordinate the cultivation of talent in the area.

He also called for more student exchanges and more communication among educational officials, experts and teachers in the area.

Smoother flows of production factors

The Greater Bay Area boasts good economic development, sound transportation infrastructure, mutually complementary industries, influential universities and high-tech companies, as well as the ability to innovate and transform technological achievements, said Sio Chi-wai, president of Macao Development Strategy Research Center.

However, he also noted that the area now faces many challenges, such as how to achieve the smooth flow of production inputs due to differences in systems, and how to foster new driving forces of economic growth.

"I believe only by innovative means can governance of the three places be improved and the development of the Greater Bay Area be solidly promoted," Sio said.

Ho Sut-heng, vice president of the Macao Federation of Trade Unions, also gave her suggestions on addressing such problems, calling for top-level design, pilot reforms to achieve compatibility between each region's rules, as well as talent exchanges and cultivation.

Zhou Muzhi, a professor of Tokyo Keizai University, also shared his insights on the development of the Greater Bay Area in an exclusive interview with

As early as the year 2001, Zhou put forward that China should develop large megalopolises based on large-scale international research carried out in cooperation with China's National Development and Reform Commission, and successfully predicted China's three megalopolises today, including the Pearl Delta, a major part of the Greater Bay Area.

As an expert in urban development with experience in the redevelopment planning of the Tokyo Bay Area, Zhou suggested the Greater Bay Area aspire to be an open communication platform.

"First is to improve industrial structure and create new driving forces by developing knowledge economy, information technology and high-end service sectors; second, to become a forerunner of opening up," Zhou said, adding that he means opening up in a holistic, all-inclusive manner.

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