The SAR and Guangdong have targeted southern Nansha district for joint development in a major breakthrough on economic co-operation. Both governments signed a letter of intent to jointly develop logistics and hi-tech industries in Nansha, which comes under the jurisdiction of the provincial capital, Guangzhou. They will also co-operate on training and exchange of talent.
The move is believed to be in response to a wake-up call for the Pearl River Delta Region to upgrade economic development as China prepares for admission to the World Trade Organisation.
Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung said: 'We believe Nansha has a lot of development potential. We will study how to develop high-value technology. Other areas will include transport, logistics and personnel training and communication.'
Mr Leung said Nansha was ideally located in the heart of the Pearl River Delta and land use conditions were 'relatively free'.
Sitting on the west side of the Pearl River estuary, Nansha was approved as an economic and technological development district in 1993.
SAR tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung also wants to turn the district into a 'world-class medium-sized modern city' with annual industrial output of 10 billion yuan (HK$9.4 billion) by 2005.
According to Mr Fok's plan, Nansha could take advantage of its deep sea port and develop transportation, processing industries and the service sector.
A Guangzhou trade official said developing hi-tech industry would enable quicker improvement of marketing and management strategies.
More than 200 foreign companies, including multi-nationals such as General Electric and BASF, have set up in Nansha, the district's Web site said.
A special taskforce directly accountable to Chief Secretary for Administration Donald Tsang Yam-kuen will be set up to strengthen co-operation with Guangdong. The head of the group will also co-ordinate policy bureaus and explore areas of medium and long-term co-operation. The senior post will be filled by Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport Kitty Choi Kit-yu.