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Greater Bay Area development plan unveiled

China yesterday unveiled the outline development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, aiming to develop the region into “a role model of high-quality development.”

The plan was released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.

It has 11 chapters, namely the background of the plan, the overall requirements, the spatial layout, developing an international innovation and technology hub, expediting infrastructural connectivity, building a globally competitive modern industrial system, taking forward ecological conservation, developing a quality living circle for living, working and traveling, strengthening cooperation and jointly participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, jointly developing Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation platforms, and the implementation of the plan.

The plan, an important outline document guiding the current and future cooperation and development of the Greater Bay Area, covers the period from now to 2022 in the immediate term and extends to 2035 in the long term.

By 2022, the framework should essentially be formed 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, according to the plan.

It says that by 2022, the combined strength of the Greater Bay Area should increase substantially, the cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao should be deepened and broadened, and the internal driving forces for development should be further enhanced in the region.

By 2035, the Greater Bay Area should 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, according to the plan.

In the meantime, 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, says the plan.

The people should become wealthier and 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, it says.

Meanwhile, 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 traveling should be fully developed.

Spatial layout set

The plan sets the spatial layout for the Greater Bay Area, calling for measures to build a spatial network driven by poles and supported by axes, improve the development system of the city cluster and towns, and radiate the development to the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region.

It also calls for a rational division of labor and complementary positioning among large, medium-sized and small cities.

Efforts should be made to 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, the plan says.

Fundamental conditions

The Greater Bay Area, with a marked increase in its economic strength and regional competitiveness, already possesses the fundamental conditions for developing into an international first-class bay area and a world-class city cluster, says the plan.

Such a foundation of development is made up of distinctive geographical advantages, robust economic strength, high concentration of key factors of innovation, advanced level of internationalization and solid cooperation foundations, it says.

The plan also notes the opportunities and challenges for the development and stresses the plan’s significance.

The Greater Bay Area comprises Hong Kong, Macao, and Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in Guangdong Province. The total area is 56,000 square kilometers and the total population is around 70 million as of 2017.

Ecological conservation

China plans to take forward ecological conservation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, says the development plan.

The plan stresses establishing ecological protection barriers, strengthening environmental protection and management, and adopting an innovative, green and low-carbon development model.

It vows 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.

The plan promises 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 layouts, 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 skies, greener mountains, clearer water and a better environment.

Industrial system

China aims to build a globally competitive modern industrial system for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, according to the development plan.

Efforts will be made to expedite the development of the advanced manufacturing industry, nurture and strengthen strategic emerging industries, expedite the development of modern service industries, and vigorously develop the marine economy, according to the plan.

The plan says measures should be taken to deepen supply-side structural reform, nurture new industries as well as new business types and models, support the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, and expedite the development of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries.

It also stresses the need to raise industries’ development levels to advanced international standards, promote the complementarity, coordination and interconnected development of industries, and nurture a number of world-class industry clusters.

Connectivity

China aims to expedite infrastructural connectivity to provide solid support for the socio-economic development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, according to the development plan.

Efforts will be made to build a modern comprehensive transport system, enhance and upgrade information infrastructure, develop an energy security protection system, and strengthen protection for the security of water resources in the Greater Bay Area.

The plan calls for efforts to strengthen infrastructural development, enhance external and internal connectivity, push forward the establishment of an infrastructural network with a rational layout, comprehensive functions, smooth connections and efficient operations, and provide solid support for socio-economic development in the Greater Bay Area.

In these regards, measures should be taken to enhance the international competitiveness of the Pearl-River-Delta port cluster, develop a world-class airport cluster, ensure the smooth flow of comprehensive external transport links, build a rapid transport network in the Greater Bay Area, and raise the standards of passenger and cargo transport services, the document says.

It also calls for measures to develop a new generation of information infrastructure, build smart city clusters, enhance the level of cyber security protection, enhance the energy supply structure, and strengthen the energy storage and transport system.

Moreover, efforts will be made to improve water infrastructure and improve flood prevention and mitigation systems, it says.

Technology hub

China aims to develop the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into an international innovation and technology hub, says the development plan.

Efforts will be made to build an open community for coordinated innovation in the region, develop quality innovation and technology carriers and platforms, and enhance the environment for innovation in the region.

In these regards, the plan calls for measures to strengthen cooperation in innovation and technology, enhance building of basic innovation capacity, enhance the in-depth integration of industries, academia and research, as well as deepen reform of innovation systems and mechanisms in the region, promote the commercial application of technological achievements, and step up the protection and exploitation of IP.

The plan requires measures to implement the innovation-driven development strategy at great intensity, deepen innovation cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and build an open community for coordinated innovation in the region that encompasses integrated development.

It also requires efforts to pool together international innovation resources, optimize 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.

Cooperation

Cooperation will intensify in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative as China presses ahead with developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Efforts should be made to create a globally competitive business environment, increase the level of market integration, and jointly expand opening up, says the plan.

Cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao should be deepened, the plan says, calling for efforts to improve investment and business environment in the nine Pearl River Delta cities and to raise the level of market integration in the Greater Bay Area.

Measures should be taken to ensure alignment with advanced international market norms and regulatory standards, expedite the establishment of new institutional arrangements for an open economy, and create an environment for opening up in all respects, according to the plan.

It calls for joint efforts to develop new strengths in international economic and trade cooperation, which will provide solid support to the Belt and Road Initiative.

In these regards, investment facilitation and trade liberalization should be promoted and the flow of people and goods should be facilitated, the plan says, urging efforts to fully participate in international economic cooperation and jointly expand international markets.

Quality living circle


China aims to develop a quality living circle for living, working and traveling in the Greater Bay Area, says the development plan.

Efforts will be made to develop an education and talents hub, jointly develop a cultured Greater Bay Area, build a Greater Bay Area for leisure, expand the scope for employment and entrepreneurship, shape a healthy Greater Bay Area and foster cooperation in social security and social governance.

The plan stresses upholding the philosophy of people-centered development and proactively expanding cooperation in fields such as education, culture, tourism and social security in the Greater Bay Area.

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