Category Archives: Features

Foshan: Where legends are born

The municipality of Foshan looks like a suburb of Guangzhou on a map. The two are divided only by a small river and if their boundary were removed they would look like what is expected of a major megalopolis. Which is why it makes sense that they are intertwining more by the day, with a common Metro system and joint planning commissions. But go back in time, not that far, and Foshan’s status as a dynamic and brilliant city in its own right becomes clearer. 

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Jiangmen: Mission to restore faded glory

The municipality of Jiangmen has a fascinating history, and to say it has “been through the wars” would be an understatement. Like most of the Greater Bay Area, it has had its ups and downs. Yet its history is unique as a once-proud node on the Maritime Silk Road, a home to many overseas Chinese who traded throughout Southeast Asia in the days before Hong Kong and Canton became the powerhouses they are today. Once one of the region’s richest areas, today the GBA’s westernmost city is, like the easternmost city of Huizhou, finding itself playing catch-up to the rest in economic development.

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Crossing the Bay: Bridges, Tunnels and Trains

After nearly a year of operation, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) is now well-established as the final piece of the “ring” enclosing the Greater Bay Area’s 11 cities. This being the region that never sits still, therefore, it’s time to look at what comes next for other major projects linking the eastern and western sides of the Greater Bay.

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Huizhou: Set for an upgrade

With forests, beaches and traditional villages, Huizhou has big potential in tourism. The city is also aiming to ride the tech-upgrade momentum created by the GBA masterplan. Here is a deeper dive into one of the Bay’s more spacious municipalities.

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University Town: Raising the research bar

In the middle of the Pearl River flowing through Guangzhou’s Panyu district lies the Xiaoguwei Island, a 43.2 sqkm parcel of land along with its south bank that is home to 12 universities. Known as “University Town”, the collection of campuses was designed and built in the early 2000s to spur research and innovation throughout the entire province. Today it is one of the “ten cores” of the Science and Technology Innovation Corridor (STIC), the blueprint for “China’s Silicon Valley” within the overall masterplan of the Greater Bay Area.

The tertiary-institution district owes its creation to the far-sighted planning ability of provincial leaders. By the end of the 1990s, they had realized that 20 years of breakneck growth under the Reform and Opening era were running out of steam. A mismatch had developed between the needs of Guangdong’s booming manufacturing industry and the skills of its labor force. The higher-education sector had lagged the pace of change: by 1998, only 81 out of every 1,000 candidates for College Entrance Examination were able to secure places in higher education, according to southcn.com. More university places needed to be created.

The mission to solve this quandary was unveiled in 2001, with a masterplan to build a dedicated area for a cluster of universities. Construction began a year later, with an audacious goal set by the Party Secretary at the time, Zhang Dejiang, to “build the nation’s first university town”.

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GBA startup communities: an explainer

As the masterplan of turning the nine cities in Guangdong as well as Hong Kong and Macau into an integrated technology hub unfolds, incubators and accelerators have been springing up around the region, all rushing to gain a foothold in the rise of China’s Silicon Valley.

Incubators, in the Western script, are companies staffed by experienced investors and executives that help startups by providing them with professional training, working space and venture capital. Accelerators are basically doing the same job, but focused on scaling up existing business models. 

The landscape is rather different in China, where the central and local governments are dominant. Here, startup support services are established largely to facilitate the country’s economic development agenda laid down by the Party, and lines are always blurred in terms of the functions of incubators, accelerators and scientific laboratories.

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Shenzhen’s Top Companies: Fintech Giants

A glance at the financial scorecard of Shenzhen’s publicly listed companies in the most recent quarter shows an impressive performance: Across 393 companies, listed on six stock exchanges at home and abroad, revenues rose by 13.05%, profits by a whopping 33.08%, YoY.

 Revs (RMB, bn)YoY%Profits (RMB, bn)YoY%
Total          4,423.6113.05755.62533.08

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