Guangdong province has unveiled the concept of “six bay areas and one peninsula”, which includes 14 coastal cities, in its latest blueprint for experimental marine economic zones.
The bay area of the Pearl River estuary, Hong Kong and Shenzhen will be developed into a combination of industrial center, transport hub and crossroads of diversified culture.
The area has been taking shape as both Hong Kong and Shenzhen gradually shift their focus to their western parts.
In Shenzhen, the focus will shift to the bay area, including Qianhai and the Houhai area, from Luohu and Futian.
Qianhai will be developed as a center for financial and shipping services, while Houhai will aim to attract the headquarters of large companies and clusters of high-tech firms.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong is also shifting its focus to the Lantau area in the west, which is being planned as a key center for retail, tourism and exhibition businesses because of its link to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.
The eastern part of Lantau Island will be developed into a third key business district, after Central district and East Kowloon, and it’s one of the city’s most strategic land reserves.
Under the bay area plan, there will be a fast transport corridor connecting the Baoan port economic zone, Qianhai, Houhai and Shenzhen Technology Park, the Hetao area, north Lantau Island and the east Lantau metropolis.
The corridor will connect with the Guangzhou-Shenzhen highway, the Shenzhen Bay bridge, the tunnel linking Tuen Mun with Chek Lap Kok, and the road network connecting east Lantau Island with Hong Kong Island.
Hong Kong and Shenzhen will become key transport hubs in the region, and various intercity railway lines and inner-city lines will further improve the area’s infrastructure.
Both cities have a key role to play in China’s Maritime Silk Road, because of their geographical advantages.
China’s vision for “one road” running through Southeast and South Asia involves building a supplementary industrial chain, which offers diplomatic and economic value.
Also, China is asserting its power in the South China Sea as part of its efforts to build its marine power.
The South China Sea area has abundant resources and geographic significance.
Hong Kong and Shenzhen are key points in the broad strategy to develop the South China Sea.
The bay area has the potential to become a key gateway for China to fulfill its “Maritime Silk Road” and South China Sea strategies by forming a cluster of finance, high-tech, high-end logistics, shipping and professional services and marine engineering.
Both cities should explore integration in shipping services and high-end logistics.
Hong Kong has global-standard political and legal systems, and it has a large pool of professional talent in the legal, financial and accounting areas.
The integration of both cities would offer new opportunities for the professional talent in Hong Kong.
Both cities have a well-developed marine infrastructure.
And Qianhai Marine Park has attracted various organizations and talent in the areas of special boats, marine drilling platforms, deep-sea exploration, ocean environmental protection and so on.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on August 3.
Translation by Julie Zhu
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