When we think of the Pearl River Delta region these days, the images which appear are very different from those which, only a year or two ago, might have been in the forefront of our minds. Finally, the realisation is dawning that only by working together can Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong realise the region's great potential. After years of dragging our feet, burdened by historical baggage, the barriers are coming down. And as attitudes begin to change, the blueprint for making this economic powerhouse more cohesive, co-ordinated and attractive to the outside world is gradually taking shape. An economic super-zone is the goal. But while we now recognise the value of the Pearl River Delta package, the same cannot be said for the way in which the region is viewed by people overseas. While they are likely to be aware of the 'workshop of the world' in Guangdong, of Hong Kong's role as a finance centre, and of Macau's casino industry, each is viewed as a separate entity rather than parts of a bigger project. Instead, it is the other powerful Chinese delta - the Shanghai-dominated Yangtze - which is more likely to spring to mind. This is an image problem which we need to overcome. Forging ahead with an integrated delta is one thing, selling it is another. The need to promote the region as a whole was a recurring theme during the Pearl River Delta conference organised by the General Chamber of Commerce and the South China Morning Post yesterday. Just consider a few statistics. The region has a land mass of more than 42,000 sq km and a population of around 48 million. At around US$300 billion, its annual GDP is more than a third higher than that of the Yangtze delta. In the past, progress has been blocked not only by barriers to integration, but by suspicion and rivalry between the various cities of the region, each pursuing their own ends in a pointless bid to become the dragonhead of the delta. This has changed within a very short space of time, thanks largely to the central government's efforts to bring about a more co-ordinated approach. The mainland's signing of closer economic partnership arrangements with Hong Kong and Macau, the decision to proceed with the bridge between Hong Kong and Zhuhai and Macau, as well as the relaxing of restrictions on mainland tourists visiting the two special administrative regions, have all helped make fusion more fashionable. The planned economic super-zone, and greater communication between the governments in the region, bode well for the future. The different parts of the jigsaw are falling into place. To their credit, InvestHK and the Trade Development Council have taken the lead to team up with cities in the delta to promote overseas investment in Hong Kong and those cities. This is a step in the right direction, but a joint promotion of the delta as a whole has yet to materialise. The drive required to convey the message overseas that the delta is one big super-zone will only be successful if the last vestiges of the old, insular way of thinking are removed. Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen yesterday called on Hong Kong people to make the mental leap to see the city as part of a bigger region. We would say that the same attitude needs to be adopted by residents of other parts of the region. If we cannot change mindsets in the region itself, we have little hope of projecting a different, more unified, image further afield. Many challenges lie ahead, from co-ordinating our infrastructure to fine-tuning our economies so as to adapt to the reality of closer integration. There is much to be discussed and we will need to think big. The tide of history has turned, and a unified delta is beginning to emerge. It is time to let the world know.