Category Archives: Places

Hong Kong gets reform agenda rolling

American scholar Andrew Nathan has an interesting piece in Foreign Affairs summarizing what “insiders” say is Beijing’s approach to the crisis in Hong Kong. Though the presentation of this analysis fits too neatly into a US-centric worldview, it helps explain why the Hong Kong government is moving quickly to address the city’s dire shortage of housing: Because the central government believes the protests are being driven primarily by intolerable socio-economic conditions. Fix those, and the rest will take care of itself.

The logic has appeal. While Nathan’s sources are almost certainly wrong to suggest that the country’s senior leadership isn’t worried about addressing the political dimension of the protests, it makes sense to train attention and resources on fixing first what can be fixed easiest. Any capable government would be taking this approach.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Beijing misunderstands where the protesters’ rage is coming from. The country’s leadership probably knows all too well that the crisis is not going to be fixed with bread alone. But it also likely understands that without a commitment to deep socio-economic reform, no other grievances can be addressed in a sustainable way. Fixing the land issue is about much more than bringing down the cost of living. It’s about changing the way people live.

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Exploring Dongguan – Top 10 Spots

Dongguan is noted for its manufacturing prowess, not its scenery. However, that is misleading. The city has been given a “National Excellence in Tourism” award, largely as a result of its historical relics and charming natural attractions. There is much to see and do here, and it’s a big place, so you need to plan your outings carefully. Here! (the magazine) is a good resource for events and listings of restaurants and bars. Following are our recommendations for the Top 10 must-go spots in Dongguan.
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Songshan Lake to get complex

Songshan Lake, the high-tech zone in Dongguan, is going upscale. Already the home of the Huawei R&D headquarters known as Ox Horn, which has a collection of European-style buildings and its own mini-railway, the district has been in need of a major commercial complex. It is getting one around the Songshan Lake North railway station, courtesy of China Resources Group, which makes its first foray into Dongguan with a large, mixed use project, Wan Xiang Hui. 

The project broke ground yesterday, Dongguan Daily reports. It is expected to be finished in three years, boasting offices, shops, hotels and apartments, covering an area of 44,100 sqm, with a total construction area of about 350,000 sqm. It consists of a podium with five floors above and one below ground, plus two towers at 240 meters and 130 meters high, respectively.

The station is a major future transport hub, with the Guangzhou-Huizhou Intercity Railway passing through, as well as Dongguan’s metro Lines 3 and 5, all of which are still under construction. 

Residents will likely especially appreciate the Wan Xiang Hui Square, which will feature a wide variety of modern dining and entertainment options. Songshan Lake is a beautiful area, but it does get a bit dull at night.

Nansha: From sand to fintech

Of all the places in the Greater Bay Area, Nansha probably has the grandest ambitions. Once little more than a site of large deposits of alluvial sand, at the mouth of the Pearl River, today Nansha is being spoken of as the one true “core” of the Greater Bay’s development plan. Finance, technology, scientific research, and shipping are all being clustered here with a view to building a New Area that can propel the next stage of the region’s – and the country’s – growth.

To say it has come a long way from humble beginnings would be an understatement. Nansha only became a district of the provincial capital, Guangzhou, in 2005, when it was separated from the larger Panyu District. Back then, it was known for not much more than being the source of the sand that laid the foundations – literally – of Hong Kong’s real-estate boom in the post-war period. But already, its potential was being measured due to its location on the southernmost tip of Guangzhou. The country was embarking on a wave of experimentation after joining the WTO a few years before, and it was designating national-level New Areas around the country to launch experiments in economic reform. Nansha was the sixth of these, tapped for future stardom in 2012. (read our explainer of what a New Area is.) 

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Exploring Guangzhou – Top 10 Spots

The provincial capital of Guangzhou is a megalopolis that combines old and new in fascinating ways. No matter if you are a history buff, or simply looking for place to spend a leisurely weekend, there are many fun and interesting options available. Here is a list of our top 10 must-go places. Please note that this is a big city, so planning your trip to each of these spots requires attention to transport details. Klook.com is our favorite, and they have affordable chauffeured tour options. You can do day-trips, now that high-speed train links make it easier, but we wouldn’t suggest it: better to take your time with hotel bookings and stay at least one night – or more.

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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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Zhuhai, Shenzhen launch new promos

On the eve of their 39th anniversary (officially) as China’s first special economic zones, both Shenzhen and Zhuhai have launched concerted efforts to portray themselves as “international” cities. These are noble efforts, and the slick videos they have produced are well worth watching.

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