Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao GBA sees deeper economic integration in past 4 yrs
Region to drive further growth of cross-border trade, investment
Published: Feb 19, 2023 10:09 PM
Image shows an architectural rendering of the permanent venue for the Greater Bay Area Science Forum in Nansha District of Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province.Photo:xinhua

Image shows an architectural rendering of the permanent venue for the Greater Bay Area Science Forum in Nansha District of Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province.Photo:xinhua

After four years of fast development, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is set to further become a hotspot for foreign investments and usher in a golden period of development, as COVID-related restrictions have been lifted and travel between the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs) have fully resumed. 

Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of the release of the sweeping development plan for the GBA, which covers nine cities in South China's Guangdong Province and the Hong Kong and Macao SARs. 

Over the past four years, major progress has been made in integrated social and economic development in the region. Particularly, since COVID-related restrictions have been lifted, economic and trade activities and people-to-people exchanges among cities in the GBA have gradually resumed, according to local businesses.

"The GBA has activated the accelerator button with the optimization of epidemic prevention and I am confident on its future development," Ken Wong, director of Hong Kong-based All Times Healthy Co, told the Global Times on Sunday.

With the resumed cross-border connectivity, more talents from Hong Kong and overseas are attracted to the GBA, adding to the competitiveness and vitality to the region, Wong said.

Driven by the momentum, an increasing number of foreign enterprises have also shown interest in expanding investment in the GBA in the next few years, according to a survey released by HSBC in January. Some 70 percent of overseas businesses expressed an intention to increase their investment in the GBA in the years ahead, while 27 percent would scale up business significantly, the survey showed.

The level of technological development and the size of the consumer market in the GBA have become important driving forces for overseas investment, it said. "We are confident that the continued deepening of economic integration in the Greater Bay Area will further consolidate its position as China's high-level gateway to the outside world and further promote the growth of cross-border trade and investment in the region," the bank said.

Statistics show that by the end of 2022, the total economic output of the GBA reached nearly 13 trillion yuan ($1.89 trillion), a scale that has surpassed South Korea, to the same league as Italy and Canada, CCTV reported.

Boasting geographical advantages as a frontier for the Chinese mainland's opening-up, well established infrastructure and deep market linkage to many foreign markets, the GBA has vast room to foreign capital, personnel and technology in post COVID-19 area, Dong Shaopeng, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Cross-border connectivity in the GBA has been accelerated. The traffic flow at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge exceeded 8,000 vehicles on February 10, the highest since the bridge opened in 2018.

In terms of infrastructure, the opening of a set of intercity railways in the GBA is expected to shorten the traveling time between major cities in the region to less than 60 minutes by 2035. 

Cross-border trade, investment and financing are also becoming more convenient with the opening of the Qianhai International Financial City, which could help Hong Kong financial institutions to expand into the mainland market. Up to now, 241 financial institutions have been attracted to the financial city and 30 percent of them are from Hong Kong and overseas institution.

Going forward, local governments in the GBA should further strengthen cooperation and coordination in the regulatory efficiency of commercial project approval, customs clearance, trade and business registration, and daily supervision, so as to make business and financing more convenient for enterprises, Dong said.