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Greater Bay Area

Greater Bay Area leader calls on Guangdong province cadres to take bold steps in cooperation with Hong Kong and Macau

Vice-premier Han Zheng is reported as saying President Xi Jinping has personally planned integrated economic scheme

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 6:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 1:03pm

The top state leader in charge of China’s ambitious “Greater Bay Area” project has exhorted cadres in Guangdong province to abandon obsolete ideas and take bold and innovative steps when working out measures to deepen cooperation with Hong Kong and Macau.

Vice-premier Han Zheng, who is in charge of the region’s development as well as Hong Kong and Macau affairs, also stressed that the importance of the project, which he said was “personally planned, personally mapped out, and personally promoted” by President Xi Jinping.

The directives came as Han paid a three-day visit to the region earlier this week, according to a report broadcast on Wednesday on the state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

Han’s trip – his first since he took up the vice-premiership in March – coincided with news reports that Beijing would soon unveil details of the bay area development plan for Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also paid visits to the cities of the Greater Bay Area in recent months to strengthen cooperation.

The scheme aims to link up Hong Kong and Macau with nine major cities in the region to make it a world-class bay area, a region roughly the size of Germany, with a US$1.3 trillion economy. It is already home to Chinese technology giants Tencent and Huawei.

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The CCTV report said Han had urged local cadres to apply Xi’s thoughts as their guiding principle and invoke the spirit of the 19th Party Congress, held in Beijing last October, to push for reform.

Old ideas that could not serve the needs of new development should be abandoned, Han added, while systems and institutions that could not fulfil such requirements should also be overhauled.

He also asked cadres to spare no effort to develop the Greater Bay Area into a world-class high-technology hub and a centre of the modern service industry. He also stressed the importance of environmental protection in implementing the development plan, especially tackling water pollution.

During his Greater Bay Area visit, the report said, Han toured the mega cross-border Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge project and Qianhai, a district in the city of Shenzhen designated a testing ground for the country’s financial opening and economic cooperation with Hong Kong, as well as the headquarters of Huawei Technologies.

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In Hong Kong, Professor Wong Yuk-shan, deputy convenor of the city’s 36-member delegation to the National People’s Congress, said Han’s message confirmed the scheme’s importance.

“It officially elevated the Greater Bay Area project from just a planned cluster of cities in southern China to a national-level strategy personally led by Xi.

“This also shows that Beijing has high expectations for the project as it needs to compete with other bay areas in Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco.”