The development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is a national strategy that General Secretary Xi Jinping has been personally planning, deploying and promoting. It is a new measure to shape a new comprehensive opening up pattern in the new era and a new practice to promote the development of the “one country, two systems”.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) consists of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Macao Special Administrative Region (Macao SAR) as well as the municipalities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in Guangdong Province, covering a total area of 56,000 square kilometers with a combined population of approximately 70 million at the end of 2017. As one of the most open and economically vibrant regions in China, the Greater Bay Area plays a significant strategic role in the overall development of the country.
Depending on distinctive geographical advantages, robust economic strength, as well as high concentration of key factors of innovation, the Greater Bay Area shows an advanced level of internationalization with solid cooperation foundations, and will develop into a vibrant world-class city cluster, a globally influential international innovation and technology hub, an important support pillar for the Belt and Road Initiative, a showcase for in-depth cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong and Macao, as well as a quality living circle for living, working and travelling.
(II) Guiding Ideology of Development of the Greater Bay Area
The Greater Bay Area aims to fully apply Xi Jinping's Thought on the Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the Spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, coordinate the implementation of the “Five-sphere Integrated Plan” and the “Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy”, fully and faithfully implement the principle of “one country, two systems” under which the people of Hong Kong govern Hong Kong, the people of Macao govern Macao with a high degree of autonomy, act in strict adherence to the Constitution and the Basic Laws, remain committed to the new vision of development, fully understand and utilize the systemic strengths of “one country, two systems”, the unique strengths of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as the strengths of early and pilot implementation of reform and opening up in Guangdong, emancipate the mind and explore boldly, continuously deepen mutually beneficial cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, further establish a mutually beneficial relationship in regional cooperation, promote coordinated regional economic development, give new impetus to the development of Hong Kong and Macao, provide support for national supply-side structural reform, the implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy and the building of a new system of an open economy, develop a vibrant and internationally competitive first-class bay area and world-class city cluster, and build a role model of high-quality development.
(III) Basic Principles of Development of the Greater Bay Area
To be driven by innovation and led by reform. The Greater Bay Area will implement the innovation-driven development strategy, improve the regional synergistic innovation system, pool together international innovation resources, and develop an internationally competitive innovation development area; it will comprehensively deepen reform, encourage new breakthroughs in reform in key areas and core fields, reap the dividends of reform, and foster the convenient flow and optimal distribution of various factors within the Greater Bay Area.
To coordinate development and plan holistically. The Greater Bay Area aims to implement the coordinated regional development strategy, fully leverage the comparative advantages of different areas, strengthen policy coordination and planning interface, improve the positioning of different places in the region, promote coordinated development of urban and rural areas in the region, and continuously enhance the holistic nature of development.
To pursue green development and ecological conservation. The Greater Bay Area will make every effort to take forward ecological conservation, establish the approach of green development, uphold state policies on saving resources and protecting the environment, implement the most rigorous ecological protection system, adhere to the most rigorous farmland protection system and the most economical land use system, promote the adoption of green and low-carbon production methods and lifestyles as well as modes of urban development and operation, provide a good ecological environment for residents, and facilitate sustainable development of the Greater Bay Area.
To open up and cooperate and achieve a win-win outcome. The Greater Bay Area will adopt the Belt and Road Initiative as an important focal point, develop a new system for an open economy, create a high-level platform for opening up, converge with high-standard trade and investment rules, and accelerate the development of new edges in international cooperation and competition; to fully leverage the unique advantages of Hong Kong and Macao, it will create and improve the open cooperation systems and mechanisms in various fields, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong and Macao.
To share the benefits of development and improve people’s livelihood. The Greater Bay Area strives to uphold the philosophy of people-centered development, and enable all people to enjoy more benefits of reform in a more equal manner; better protect and improve people’s livelihood, increase the supply of quality public goods and services, continuously promote social equality and justice, and afford people living in the Greater Bay Area a fuller, more protected and more sustainable sense of benifits,, well-being and security.
To adhere to “one country, two systems” and act in accordance with the law. The Greater Bay Area will integrate the adherence to the “one country” principle and the respect for the differences of the “two systems”, stay committed to the basis of “one country”, and leverage the benefits of “two systems”; integrate the upholding of the Central Government’s overall jurisdiction and the safeguarding of a high degree of autonomy in the special administrative regions, respect the rule of law, and act strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Laws; integrate the needs of the country with the strengths of Hong Kong and Macao, fully leverage the market-driven mechanism, foster complementarity among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and achieve joint development.
(IV) Strategic Positioning of Development of the Greater Bay Area
A vibrant world-class city cluster. By leveraging the advantages of Hong Kong and Macao as free and open economies and of Guangdong as the pioneer of reform and opening up, the Greater Bay Area aims to continue deepening reform and further opening up, lead nationally and set an example in developing institutions and mechanisms for high-quality economic development, expedite institutional innovation as well as early and pilot implementation, develop a modern economic system, better integrate into the global market system, build a global base of emerging industries, advanced manufacturing and modern service industries, and develop an internationally competitive world-class city cluster.
A globally influential international innovation and technology hub. The Greater Bay Area strives to target the most advanced technologies and industries in the world, strengthen the development of innovation platforms, vigorously develop new technologies, industries, as well as types and models of business, accelerate the process of developing an economic system mainly driven and supported by innovation; to steadfastly take forward the trial of comprehensive innovative reform, fully leverage the strengths of scientific R&D and industrial innovation of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, remove bottlenecks and constraints impeding the free flow of innovation factors, further stimulate various innovation entities, and build the Greater Bay Area into a hub of global technological innovation and an important source of emerging industries.
An important support pillar for the Belt and Road Initiative. The Greater Bay Area makes efforts to better leverage the roles and functions of Hong Kong and Macao in the opening up of China, enhance the development of an open economy in the nine PRD municipalities, facilitate the effective connection between domestic and international markets as well as resources, participate in international economic cooperation and competition at a higher level, and develop an influential international transport and logistics hub as well as an international cultural exchange center.
A showcase for in-depth cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong and Macao. The Greater Bay Area aims to rely on the good foundation for cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, fully leverage the functions of the key cooperation platforms in Qianhai of Shenzhen, Nansha of Guangzhou and Hengqin of Zhuhai, explore new modes of coordinated and synergistic development, enhance comprehensive and practical cooperation between the nine PRD municipalities and Hong Kong and Macao, facilitate the efficient and orderly flow of people, goods, capital and information, give new impetus to the development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and set an example of closer cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong and Macao.
A quality living circle for living, working and travelling. The Greater Bay Area will firmly adopt the people-centered development philosophy, put into practice ideas on ecological conservation, make full use of modern information technology, achieve the smart management of city clusters, accord priority to livelihood projects, bring more convenience to the lives of people in the Greater Bay Area, raise the quality of living of residents, provide more convenience for Hong Kong and Macao residents studying, working, starting businesses and living on the Mainland, strengthen exchange and integration across different cultures, and build a beautiful bay area that is ecologically safe, environmentally attractive, socially stable and culturally vibrant.
(V) Spatial Layout of Development of the Greater Bay Area
To maintain an approach that is driven by poles, supported by axes and radiating to nearby areas, the Greater Bay Area will promote a rational division of labor and complementary positioning among large, medium-sized and small cities, further enhance coordination in regional development, facilitate the integrated development of urban and rural areas, and build a scientifically structured, compact and highly efficient bay area development framework.
1.Section 1 Building a Spatial Network Driven by Poles and Supported by Axes
Driven by poles. The Greater Bay Area will leverage the leading roles of the strong combinations of Hong Kong-Shenzhen, Guangzhou-Foshan and Macao-Zhuhai, deepen cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, as well as Macao and Zhuhai, expedite the integrated development of Guangzhou and Foshan, enhance their overall strength and global influence, and lead the Greater Bay Area in participating in international cooperation in great intensity.
Supported by axes. Relying on a rapid transport network involving mainly high-speed rails, intercity railways and high-grade motorways, as well as port and airport clusters, the Greater Bay Area will build regional economic development axes, and form an efficiently connected spatial network of major cities; to better utilize the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, speed up the construction of key transport infrastructures such as the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge and the Shenzhen-Maoming Railway, enhance the level of development on the west bank of the Pearl River, and foster development synergy between the east and west banks of the Pearl River.
2.Improving the Development System of the City Cluster and Towns
To improve the core cities. The Greater Bay Area aims to build on the four core cities of Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen as core engines for regional development, continue leveraging their comparative advantages in striving for excellence and achievements, and strengthen the radiating effect in leading the development of nearby regions.
Hong Kong. To consolidate and enhance Hong Kong’s status as international financial, transportation and trade centers as well as an international aviation hub, the city will strengthen its status as a global offshore Renminbi (RMB) business hub and its role as an international asset management center and a risk management center, promote the development of high-end and high value-added financial, commercial and trading, logistics and professional services, etc., make great efforts to develop the innovation and technology industries, nurture emerging industries, establish itself as the center for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, and develop into an international metropolis with enhanced competitiveness.
Macao. To develop into a world-class tourism and leisure center and a commerce and trade cooperation service platform between China and Lusophone countries, the city will promote an appropriate level of diversified economic development, and develop into a base for exchange and cooperation where Chinese culture arts as the mainstream and diverse cultures coexist.
Guangzhou. To fully leverage its leading function as a national core city and an integrated gateway city, Guangzhou will comprehensively strengthen its functions as an international commerce and industry center and integrated transport hub, enhance its function as technological, educational and cultural centers, and develop into a global metropolis.
Shenzhen. To leverage its leading role as a special economic zone, a national economic core city and a national innovation city, expedite its transformation into a modern and international city, and strive to become a capital of innovation and creativity with global influence.
To develop the key node cities. It is required to support Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in fully leveraging their strengths, deepen reform and innovation, enhance the composite strengths of the cities, and form key node cities with distinct characteristics, complementary positioning and strong competitiveness; to enhance coordination in development, strengthen interaction and cooperation with core cities, drive the development of towns nearby with distinct characteristics, and jointly raise the development quality of the city cluster.
To develop towns with distinct characteristics. It aims to fully leverage the advantage of the nine PRD municipalities in having numerous large and sizeable towns with distinct characteristics, nurture towns with charm and distinct characteristics, improve municipal infrastructure and public services and facilities, develop specialty industries, pass on traditional culture, and form a strong support for enhancing the regional development layout; to develop smart towns, commence experiments in the application of smart technology, promote innovation in institutions and mechanisms, and explore the model of developing future cities; to accelerate administrative system reform in large towns, and continuously expand the functions of extra-large towns on the basis of reducing administrative costs and increasing administrative efficiency.
To promote integrated development of urban and rural areas. It is proposed to establish a holistic system and policy framework for integrated development of urban and rural areas, promote integrated urban-rural development in the nine PRD municipalities, raise the quality and level of urbanization, and develop livable urban-rural areas with Lingnan characteristics; to strengthen guidance on classification, rationally delineate areas with different functions, improve spatial layout, and foster compact urban-rural development; to enhance the level of integration regarding infrastructural development in urban-rural areas, promote urban renewal based on local conditions, redevelop villages in cities and combine small villages, step up the development of ancillary facilities, and improve living conditions for urban and rural residents.
3.Radiating the Development to the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region
The Greater Bay Area will leverage the radiating and leading function of the Greater Bay Area, coordinate the productivity layout of the nine PRD municipalities and eastern, western and northern Guangdong, and foster development in nearby areas at a faster pace; develop a key economic support zone with the Greater Bay Area as its vanguard and the Pearl River-Xijiang economic zone as its hinterland, propel development in South Central China and Southwest China as well as Southeast and Southern Asia; improve the transport network from the Greater Bay Area to other provinces and regions in the Pan-PRD region, enhance regional cooperation, progressively develop “enclave economies”, facilitate the flow of factors of production and relocation of industries in the Pan-PRD region, and establish a stratified and complementary industrial cooperation system with a reasonable division of labor; to rely on coastal railways, high-grade motorways and major ports, and achieve synergistic development between the Greater Bay Area and the Western Taiwan Strait as well as the Beibu Bay city clusters; to rely on transport routes such as high-speed rails, mainline railways and motorways, deepen cooperation and exchange between the Greater Bay Area and the South Central Region and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and strengthen the radiating and driving effect of the Greater Bay Area on the Southwest Region.
(VI) Development Objectives of the Greater Bay Area
By 2022, the Greater Bay Area will improve its power and strength substantially, the cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao should be deepened and broadened, the internal driving forces for development should be further enhanced in the region, and the framework for an international first-class bay area and world-class city cluster that is vibrant and highly innovative with an optimized industrial structure, a smooth flow of various factors and a pleasant ecological environment should essentially be formed.
Regional development should become more coordinated, and a city cluster which has a reasonable division of labor, complementary functions and coordinated development should basically be established;
The environment for coordinated innovative development should be enhanced, the aggregation of factors of innovation should be accelerated, and the innovation capacities regarding new technologies and the commercial application of scientific and technological achievements should be significantly enhanced;
Supply-side structural reform should be further deepened, the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries should be accelerated, the core competitiveness of emerging and manufacturing industries should continuously increase, the digital economy should see rapid growth, and the development of modern service industries such as financial service should be expedited;
Infrastructural support and protection, such as transport, energy, information and water resources, should be further strengthened, and urban development and management should be further enhanced;
A green, intelligent, energy-saving and low-carbon way of production and lifestyle, as well as mode of urban development and management, should be established initially, and the lives of residents should become more convenient and happier;
There should be accelerated development of the new system of an open economy, greater connectivity among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao markets, more effective and efficient flow of various resources and factors of production, and more vibrant cultural exchanges.
By 2035, the Greater Bay Area will become an economic system and mode of development mainly supported by innovation, with its economic and technological strengths vastly increased and its international competitiveness and influence further strengthened; the markets within the Greater Bay Area should basically be highly connected, with very effective and efficient flow of various resources and factors of production; the coordination of regional development should remarkably improve, with the influence on neighboring regions further strengthened; the people should become wealthier; the level of social civility should reach new heights, with cultural soft power demonstrably strengthened, Chinese cultural influence broadened and deepened, and exchange and integration between different cultures further enhanced; the levels of conservation and efficient use of resources should be significantly improved, the ecological environment should be effectively protected, and an international first-class bay area for living, working and travelling should be fully developed.
(VII) Main Contents of Developing the Greater Bay Area
1. Developing an International Innovation and Technology Hub. To implement the innovation-driven development strategy in great intensity, deepen innovation cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, build an open community for coordinated innovation in the region that encompasses integrated development, pool together international innovation resources, enhance the innovation system and policy environment, focus on enhancing the capability for the commercial application of technological achievements, and develop a focused area of global technological innovation and a major source of emerging industries.
2. Expediting Infrastructural Connectivity. To strengthen infrastructural development, enhance external and internal connectivity, take forward the establishment of an infrastructural network with a rational structure, comprehensive functions, smooth connections and efficient operations, and provide solid support for socio-economic development in the Greater Bay Area.
3. Building a Globally Competitive Modern Industrial System. To deepen supply-side structural reform, strive to develop new industries, new types and new models of businesses, support the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, expedite the development of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries, raise industries’ levels of development to advanced international standards, promote the complementarity, close cooperation and interconnected development of industries, and nurture the development of a number of world-class industry clusters.
4.Taking Forward Ecological Conservation. To firmly establish and act on the belief that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, cherish the environment as we cherish our own lives, and implement the strictest possible systems for protecting the environment. To act on the principles of prioritizing resource conservation, environmental protection and letting nature restore itself, be led by the development of a beautiful bay area, devote efforts to improving ecological and environmental quality, develop spatial planning, industrial structures as well as ways of work and life that help conserve resources and protect the environment, put into practice green, low-carbon and circular development, and make the Greater Bay Area a place with bluer sky, greener mountains, clearer water and a better environment.
5. Developing a Quality Living Circle for Perfect Living, Working and Travelling. To uphold the philosophy of people-centered development, proactively expand cooperation in such fields as education, culture, tourism and social security in the Greater Bay Area, and jointly develop a quality living circle with excellent public services for living, working and travelling.
6. Strengthening Cooperation and Jointly Participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. To deepen cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, further enhance the investment and business environment in the nine PRD municipalities ,increase the extent of market integration in the Greater Bay Area, fully align with advanced international market regulatory regimes and standards, expedite the establishment of new institutional arrangements for an open economy, create an environment for opening up, jointly develop new edges in international economic and trade cooperation, and provide solid support for the Belt and Road Initiative.
7. Jointly Developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation Platforms. To accelerate the development of major platforms such as Qianhai of Shenzhen, Nansha of Guangzhou and Hengqin of Zhuhai, leverage their experimental and demonstration functions in deepening reform fully, expanding the scope of opening up and fostering cooperation, expand the development potential of Hong Kong and Macao, promote collaboration in public services, and spearhead comprehensive cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
(VIII) Guangdong Province Takes Up Responsibilities in Development of the Greater Bay Area
In October 2018, during inspection in Guangdong Province, General Secretary Xi Jinping drew an analogy from a Chinese old saying “everything will fall into place if the net is neatly arranged in the outline”, noting that the “outline” of reform and opening up in new era for Guangdong Province will be the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and it is required to seize the great opportunity and implement the strategy. At present, people in Guangdong Province are learning and implementing the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech. According to the requirements of Li Xi, the secretary of the CCP Guangdong Committee and Ma Xingrui, Provincial Governor, the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is the primary driver of reform and opening up in new era and high-quality development. Guangdong will cooperate with Hong Kong and Macao to work out concrete plan and implementation procedure and connect the “needs of Hong Kong and Macao”, “what Guangdong can do” and “what the Greater Bay Area aims to achieve”, and push ahead with the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in a solid manner in accordance with the “three steps” arrangement.
The first step is to lay a solid foundation for the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area by 2020. We will build a coordinated and efficient working mechanism, set up central pillars for the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, make progress in developing international science and technology innovation center, infrastructure interconnectivity, and modernized industrial system, ecological civilization, quality living circle, new comprehensive opening up pattern, and cooperative development platform. Major breakthroughs have been made in the orderly flow of personnel, materials, capital, and information to build a moderately prosperous society.
The second step is to develop the Greater Bay Area into a framework of international first-class bay area and world-class urban agglomeration with abundant development potential, outstanding innovation capabilities, optimized industrial structure, smooth flow of elements and beautiful ecological environment by 2022. The development pattern of urban agglomeration, which is characterized by reasonable division of labor, complementary functions and development orientation, will be basically established; the collaborative innovation environment will become more optimized, thereby accelerating the integration of innovation elements, and significantly improving the emerging technology original capacity and technological achievements transformation capacity; The supply side structural reform will be further deepened; the area will further optimize its supporting capacity for infrastructures such as transportation, energy, information and water conservancy; the green, smart, energy-saving and low-carbon production lifestyle and urban operation model will be initially established; the cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao will be further improved. The flow of various resource elements will become more convenient and efficient, and the development of new open economic system will be accelerated. Depending on the modern economic system and mechanism for high-quality development, the area will show a significantly improved comprehensive strength.
The third step is to develop the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into a world-class bay area by 2035. We will improve regional development coordination its driving force in the surrounding areas; a comprehensive, integrated and open transportation network has been fully established; the level of resource conservation and intensive use has been significantly improved, and the quality of the ecological environment has been fundamentally improved; people’s livelihood has become more affluent, social etiquette level has reached new heights, cultural soft power has been significantly enhanced, multicultural exchanges have been integrated; high-level interconnection with Hong Kong and Macao markets is basically realized, various resource elements can flow efficiently and conveniently; and an innovation-driven economic system and development model have been formed, further improving economic and scientific and technological strength and international competitiveness and paving solid foundation for China to achieve socialist modernization.
[For more details, please see the website of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area: http://www.cnbayarea.org.cn]