Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area

June 13, 2022
The Continuing Growth of the GBA

The Greater Bay Area (GBA) is the Chinese government’s scheme to connect Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and 5 other cities in South China. An overarching goal of linking up these cities is to create a vibrant world-class cluster that not only acts as an international innovation and technology (I&T) hub with a global influence, but also a high-quality environment for living, working, and travelling.

In 2021, 11% of the GDP in China came from the Greater Bay Area, which is around RMB 12 trillion. There were a total of 86 million people living in the area in 2021, which made up around 6% of the Chinese population. As a major driving force within China, all cities within the GBA are demonstrating a continuous upward trend in their GDP.

At JLL’s City Forum 2022, our panel discussed the latest GBA infrastructure development plans and how the GBA cities are connecting more closely. Visit here to view the full presentation document and here to watch the full event on demand.

Major Players on the Scene

Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen are the four core cities in the GBA. While Macao has maintained its position as a world-class tourism and leisure centre, Hong Kong has also remained the international financial centre, an international transportation and trade centre, and an international aviation hub.

In terms of GDP per capita, Hong Kong, Macao, and Shenzhen are among the top three in the GBA. In 2021, Hong Kong earned the top spot as the city with the highest GDP per capita in the area. To ride along the rapid development of the GBA and with the government’s proactive policies, Hong Kong will further develop into an I&T centre. As for Shenzhen, it continues to be positioned as the High-Tech Industrial Development Zone and Special Economic Zone of China.

Both Hong Kong and Shenzhen have the geographical advantage for the development of transportation infrastructure to enhance market integration leading to further economic growth.

An overview of the Greater Bay Area

“Since the GBA concept launched in 2017, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments are putting a major effort in setting up all the infrastructure – in order to draw both talent and traffic from Shenzhen and the west of GBA to the whole of Hong Kong.”

Wendy Chan, Growth Director, GBA, Greater China at JLL

A Tale of Twin Cities and Three Circles

The concept of “Twin Cities, Three Circles” was proposed over a year ago in the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy to create three zones between Hong Kong and Shenzhen – with a focus on the developments of economy, I&T, and green tourism.

The first circle, “Shenzhen Bay Quality Development Circle,” focuses on the economic cooperation between the Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area (HSK NDA) and Qianhai. The plan is to develop it into a Logistics, Enterprise and Technology Quarter, a Regional Economic and Civic Hub, and a District Commercial Node. This project is expected to be fully completed by 2038.

The development in the Qinghai Cooperation Zone and the New Territories North Central Business District is leveraged by the transportation infrastructure connecting the two. Currently, the Shenzhen Bay Bridge is the main road infrastructure connecting Qianhai and New Territories North; and since the COVID-19 pandemic, freight vehicle throughput has increased almost 50% by 2021. Looking ahead, the Hung Shui Kui MTR Station in the HSK NDA is expected to be completed in 2030; while a potential cross-border MTR Line, the Hong Kong Shenzhen Western Rail Link, will connect the Qianhai Cooperation Zone and the HSK NDA.

The second circle, “Hong Kong Shenzhen Close Interaction Circle,” is going to be an area for Hong Kong and Shenzhen to jointly develop the I&T industry. Diving deeper into the cooperation zone, the first batch of the eight buildings in the San Tin Technopole in Hong Kong will be completed by the end of 2024. As for Shenzhen, both the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Open Innovation Center and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation Integrated Service Center are planned to open in 2023.

Finally, there is the “Mirs Bay/Yan Chau Tong Eco-recreation/tourism Circle” - which comprises of Sha Tau Kok and Lin Ma Hang on the Hong Kong side, with Yantian and the Dapeng Peninsula on the Shenzhen side. The plan for Shau Tau Kok is to transform it into a tourism spot given its rich cultural heritage, the Sha Tau Kok pier will also be opened to public in Q2 of 2022 which allows travelling to and from Lai Chi Wo Crooked Island. On the Shenzhen side, a shopping cooperation zone with Hong Kong is proposed in Sha Tau Kok which will provide more opportunities for retail businesses.

The composition of Twin Cities, Three Circles

Connecting the Dots

The developments in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Boundary Control Points Economic Belt will further deepen the connections between Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and the rest of the GBA. The new transportation facilities within the Economic Belt, including the MTR Northern Link extension, will not only offer new development opportunities for financial and I&T industries, but also enhance the flow of talent and capital from North to South.

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