Date
12 December 2017
A technician controls an industrial robot on the testing line. China – the Greater Bay Area in particular – is already a world leader in innovation, technology and advanced manufacturing. Photo: Bloomberg
A technician controls an industrial robot on the testing line. China – the Greater Bay Area in particular – is already a world leader in innovation, technology and advanced manufacturing. Photo: Bloomberg

Making Greater Bay Area a global technology and innovation hub

It may surprise some in the West that China – the Greater Bay Area in particular – is already a world leader in innovation, technology and advanced manufacturing.

The latest data from the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization helps to show why: China’s patent office is now the world’s busiest, having received more than 1.1 million patent applications in 2015 alone. This represents 38 percent of all patent applications filed worldwide in that year, and is well ahead of patent applications filed in the next three top-ranking countries, namely the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Helping to drive this innovation are several important government policies such as “Made in China 2025″, the Robotics Industry Development Plan and the Medium and Long-Term Plan for Science and Technology.

The Greater Bay Area plan, while having broader goals, will also support the growth of China’s global technology and innovation sectors.

The Framework Agreement for the Greater Bay Area reflects this, with developing the area into a global technology and innovation hub and building a modern system of industries as two of the seven key cooperation areas in that agreement.

CPA Australia supports the inclusion of innovation policies in the Greater Bay Area plan because innovation is at the heart of current and future prosperity.

Appropriately designed and implemented innovation policies should see more businesses develop and commercialize ideas in the Greater Bay Area, and encourage greater cooperation and efficiencies between governments supporting innovation.

We, therefore, suggest that consideration is given to incorporating an innovation chapter into the Greater Bay Area plan.

The aim of such an innovation chapter would be to accelerate the trend towards the Greater Bay Area’s economy being mainly driven by innovation.

With the cities that make up the Greater Bay Area having their own particular strengths in innovation, technology and research and development, it is important that the plan promote cooperation and coordination.

This should lead to greater effectiveness and encourage businesses to undertake innovation in the Greater Bay Area locations where the competitive advantage in a particular field is strongest. This could result in businesses undertaking innovation activities in different cities of the Greater Bay Area.

There are many policy initiatives that could be included in the Greater Bay Area plan to promote innovation. Below are some suggestions put forward by CPA Australia member-experts that we believe are worthy of further consideration:

• Establishing a joint innovation fund to which all governments of the Greater Bay Area could make a proportional financial contribution. Such a fund could provide matching funding to companies that undertake innovation anywhere in the Greater Bay Area.

• Making it easier for people with specialist skills essential to innovation and advanced manufacturing to work in and move around the Greater Bay Area.

• Establishing an organization to promote the research and development (R&D) and advanced manufacturing capabilities of the Greater Bay Area. This could involve running an annual exhibition showcasing the innovation capabilities of the Greater Bay Area similar to the China Import and Export Fair (the Canton Fair).

• Providing additional funding to promote greater research collaboration between Greater Bay Area universities as well as encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by their students and researchers.

• Re-establish Hong Kong’s Steering Group on Financial Technologies to study how to promote the Greater Bay Area’s fintech sector, including the further development of financing platforms that support innovative Greater Bay Area companies and startups.

As part of efforts to achieve the objective of turning the Greater Bay Area into a global technology and innovation hub, it may be beneficial for those drafting the plan to also consider policies that may encourage the development of the Greater Bay Area as a world leader in e-commerce.

As the success of e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and Tmall demonstrate, e-commerce is critical to linking the businesses of the Greater Bay Area with global supply chains. Building upon the e-commerce and logistics strengths of the Greater Bay Area will, therefore, be important to the long-term success of promoting innovation in the area.

Below are some suggestions put forward by CPA Australia member-experts on encouraging the development of the Greater Bay Area as a global leader in e-commerce:

• All parties to the Greater Bay Area consider agreeing to reduce or remove any identified barriers to e-commerce and have a timeline to achieve that.

• Establishing a joint e-commerce fund to which all governments would make a proportional financial contribution. Such a fund could provide support to assist established e-commerce companies to locate their headquarters or regional headquarters in the Greater Bay Area.

• Establishing a Greater Bay Area e-commerce promotional zorganiation to recruit e-commerce companies to locate in the Greater Bay Area.

The Greater Bay Area plan presents an opportunity for the governments of the Pearl River Delta to build upon the policies Beijing is pursuing to encourage innovation and to do so efficiently through deeper cooperation and coordination.

– Contact us at [email protected]

BN/CG

FCPA (Aust.) Divisional President 2017 – Greater China CPA Australia

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