The provincial capital is not
often thought of as a financial center. It doesn’t have a stock exchange of its
own, and financial services comprise less than one-tenth of GDP. This contrasts
with Hong Kong and Shenzhen, where financial services contribute roughly twice
as much (19%-20%) to GDP. Guangzhou, instead, has traditionally been known as
an industrial powerhouse, dominated by state-owned enterprises in heavy
industries and SMEs in export-oriented manufacturing.
Yet Guangzhou’s ambitions for
developing financial services should not be underestimated. This is especially
as the Nansha special economic zone is built out in the coming years (see our
primer on Nansha,
and its World Financial Island in Hengli).
That is where a GBA International Bank is being built, and where a new Futures
Exchange will be launched, initially trading carbon credits.
Indeed, Guangzhou is showing that
a city doesn’t need to have a stock exchange to make its financial sector go.
And with the rise of fintech, it remains to be seen how the entire industry
will be shaken up to the point where traditional financial institutions and trading
platforms will matter less than they do now.
Continue reading Guangzhou sees future in blockchain
Guangzhou has big plans for its cultural
industries, judging by a two-month-long festival that launched this week at the
city’s Grand Theater.
The opening event of the 2019
Canton Cultural Industry Fair saw a flurry of deal-signing, as these events
usually do, with 17 major project agreements inked. The biggest of these was
between the Huadu District government and the Lixin Group, to create a Greater
Bay “cultural tourism hub” centered on the Guangzhou North Railway Station. It is
worth RMB 15 billion, with the first phase set to build a film and television center,
an e-sports arena, and various tourism-related services.
Grabbing attention was the release of a list of the city’s top 50 “Cultural Enterprises”. (See full list below.)
Continue reading Guangzhou names top 50 ‘Cultural Companies’
Visitors on package tours fell 35.7% in September, latest official data shows. This was despite overall visitation rising by 8%, indicating a big shift over to IVS travellers, who come on individual visas.
Most of the drop came from mainland visitors. Of the 448,000 who came in on package tours, 323,000 were from the mainland, but their number was down 37.6%, probably due to the protests in Hong Kong.
Continue reading Macau package tours plunge, GGR dips
Shenzhen is building out its Metro network at a rapid pace. By the end of next year, it will have added seven new lines, according to local media. Here they are.
Continue reading Shenzhen to open 7 new Metro lines
Macau’s outgoing Chief Executive, Fernando Chui, must have been surprised by the call (assuming it came) from Beijing last night, letting him know that China had offered Macau as an alternative venue to host the APEC meeting of economic ministers. It was obviously a quick decision, as Fox News was reporting on the offer within hours of the announcement by Chile that it could no longer host the November 16-17 event in Santiago.
One has to wonder whether Las Vegas Sands boss Sheldon Adelson was equally quick off the mark, perhaps offering his properties on the Cotai Strip for accommodation and meeting space. He might not care to host the entire APEC gathering – because it likely would require turfing out gambling guests from hotel suites – but he would certainly appreciate the chance to host the presidents of the United States and China, who were supposed to sign some kind of trade deal on the sidelines of the APEC meeting.
It looks like we will never know, because sources have been quoted as saying that the US president is highly unlikely to do the meeting on Chinese soil.
Continue reading Macau as MICE rival to Hong Kong?
Macau welcomed 2,764,924 visitors in September, an increase of 8.0% year-on-year. This time, however, visitors from Hong Kong saw the strongest YoY growth, up 27.2%, compared to mainland arrivals, which grew 5.7%.
It has been a long, long time since Hongkongers came to Macau in such large numbers. They are obviously still dwarfed by overall mainland arrivals, but still: what could have made 564,771 Hongkongers rush over to the GBA’s sole collection of baccarat tables last month?
There were 1,924,490 mainland arrivals in Macau last month, of which 49.0% came from Guangdong. Most of those were from the Greater Bay Area cities – 854,988 – with strongest growth from Zhuhai (269,327, up 50%) and Guangzhou (167,936, up 26.8%).
Air arrivals continued to grow strongly, up 16.3% to 294,677, while the ferries continued to lose share to the HZMB, with their traffic falling 45.0% to 416,713.
Macau has been formally approved by the Central Government to take control of an area in the new Hengqin Port, which is due to open on December 20. This will enable visitors to pass through both mainland and Macau Customs and Immigration inside the port’s main hall, an arrangement similar to Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Railway Station.
The National People’s Congress standing committee is due to ratify the arrangement today, after it was approved by the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. The Macau government will lease the area until the end of the SAR’s term, December 20, 2049.
The new arrangement will bring a significant improvement in the arrival experience for visitors to Macau. With immigration desks situated side by side in Hengqin, visitors will be able to cross the Lotus Bridge separating the two sides without having to disembark and pass through a second checkpoint.
It is unclear, however, whether visitors will be able to take buses directly from Hengqin to any point in Macau, or whether they must still take a shuttle bus across before changing to local transport on the Macau side of the Lotus Bridge. The Macau government has not yet clarified the details of public transport arrangements between the two sides after December 20.
It had originally been hoped that Macau’s long-delayed Light Rail Transit system would be connected directly to the new Hengqin station. It is not yet ready for operations, however, and so visitors will still need to be bussed across.
The timing could not be better for the Greater Bay Area, home to arguably the country’s most ambitious high-speed railway network masterplan: The central government has decided to accelerate local governments’ spending on infrastructure – by doubling their originally approved budgets for this year.
Although we will need to wait for further details to trickle down, it seems likely that Guangdong will move fast on this decision. The province isn’t included specifically in the new list of projects approved for spending, but this is likely because it already has so many major railway projects under way. However, a few of the region’s more ambitious plans have been languishing recently while awaiting approval from Up North. Those that spring to mind are the CrossBay Railway, which will run from Zhuhai directly under the bay to Shenzhen, and the second Intercity Railway linking Guangzhou to Hong Kong, which will pass through Shenzhen’s Qianhai and run all the way out to Lantau.
That is besides plans for 600 km/h Maglev lines, will likely now be given more serious study.
Watch this space. We will update in due course.
The region’s biggest and most important infrastructure project of the year, if not the decade, will open on November 1, it was announced today. Originally scheduled to open on National Day, October 1, the Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway was forced to delay its launch after some technical issues came up that had to be resolved. But these have now been fixed.
After 11 years of construction, the railway line is a vital connector of 15 stations, all key nodes along the eastern coast of the Greater Bay Area. Running through its three biggest cities, in its first phase of development the railway will start at the Shenzhen Airport in Baoan and run up to Xintang station, on the border of Guangzhou and Dongguan. Sometime next year it will be extended to Qianhai in the south. The next stage thereafter will be to connect further northward, to Guangzhou East and then Guangzhou Airport and Guangzhou North.
In the meantime, the Xintang station will connect with the old Guangshen Railway, enabling passengers to switch trains and go to Guangzhou East, which is in the Tianhe business district. Read our explainer here, with maps.
The China Marine Economy Expo had its debut last week in Shenzhen. It turned out to be a highlight of the local event calendar, generating RMB 2.5 billion of deals while attracting nearly 100,000 visitors and more than 455 exhibitors from 28 countries and regions.
The expo had a wide-ranging focus across three main sections: marine resources development and engineering equipment; shipping and ports; and emerging industries. Some impressive ocean-going vessels were rolled out, including the Xuelong 2, China’s first independently built polar research icebreaker, which made its maiden voyage from Shenzhen to conduct Antarctic research during the exhibition.
Continue reading ‘New Ocean City’ project unveiled in Shenzhen