Category Archives: Cities

Zhongshan pledges to catch up

As the annual report cards have been read out by each of the GBA’s nine mayors in recent days, it has become clearer that 2019 was much worse for the “little tigers” than for the advanced-manufacturing giants: Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou have been hit harder by the external trade slowdown than Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Foshan. (Zhuhai has been an exceptional case because of Hengqin’s development.)

They and their bosses, the party secretaries, have now all trooped up to Guangzhou for the provincial gatherings, where they must explain to each other what is going on at home. Some are coy. Others, like Zhongshan’s newly installed Party Secretary, Lai Zehua, have chosen to bravely lay out how bad the situation has become, while pledging to catch up with a bold industrial-upgrading plan in the coming years. 

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Zhuhai joins GBA tech drive

Zhuhai announced today its new masterplan for technological development, an ambitious blueprint that aims to transform the once-sleepy fishing village on the western side of the Greater Bay Area into a tech powerhouse. At the same time, details were released of Macau’s new Greater Bay Area Fund, which will raise 100 billion yuan initially and is focused on creating a southern version of Beijing’s futuristic Xiongan New District in the southern area of Hengqin, the special zone facing Macau’s casinos in Cotai.

According to a news release from the Zhuhai government, quoted by Nanfang Daily, the new tech policy is aimed at drawing a “road map” for the city to join the Greater Bay Area’s bigger project of becoming a globally competitive science and technology innovation hub.

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Xi lands, blesses Macau

President Xi Jinping began his three-day visit to Macau today by getting off the plane and immediately telling the Greater Bay’s smaller SAR that he was proud of all it had achieved these past 20 years. 

The love is mutual, it would seem, as Macau has laid on a gushing display of patriotism ahead of the most important event of the past two decades since its return to Chinese control. This has included its security forces being placed on high alert. The HZMB has been manned by armed police just inside Guangdong waters; the ferry terminals have seen reduced sailings and strict checkpoints; and Gongbei, the main land crossing from the mainland, has been heavily beefed up with uniformed and plainclothed police. 

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Shenzhen keeps cranking out jobs

Shenzhen, a city with 13 million registered residents, has a workforce of 11,681,100, up 3.3% over last year’s total.

A workforce equal to more than 90% of all residents is only possible, of course, because Shenzhen’s actual population is more than 22 million, once migrant workers are added.

Moreover, according to local media, 151,900 jobs were added to the city’s economy this year, which was slightly above its annual target, while the unemployment rate remained steady at 2.22%. Not a single registered household reported being without at least one breadwinner. 

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President gives Macau three days

President Xi Jinping lands in Macau on Wednesday. He has decided to devote three full days of his busy schedule to spending time with people in the Special Administrative Region, culminating in the 20th anniversary celebrations on Friday, December 20. 

He has never done this before. Not even Hong Kong has received this much attention from the big man previously. For his last visit, five years ago, he (memorably) jetted in, gave a speech, and jetted out again. 

Why a man who runs a country of 1.4 billion people is devoting three days of his schedule to 670,000 of them should be obvious by now for anyone who has observed the region for the past six months, let alone the past 20 years: Hong Kong has been unruly and ungrateful; Macau has been loyal and patriotic. A message needs to be sent: if you behave, and if you love your country, you get rewarded.

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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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Shenzhen adopts blockchain-based IDs

Shenzhen has become the first local government in the GBA to adopt a digital identity verification system based on blockchain technology.

Via the app, “iShenzhen”, local residents can apply for as many as 24 kinds of commonly used electronic IDs, including resident ID cards and household registration cards. The digital ID will be applicable to more than 100 frequently used services, such as applications for proof of no criminal record and birth registration. From next month, it will be extended business identification areas as well. 

Local officials were quoted as saying that the technology held out great advantages for user data security, ensuring that the digital ID can be trusted and traceable. This would meet the public’s “right to know and supervise,” and improve efficiency. 

Read more (in Chinese)

GBA ‘talent flows’ report shows mobility

Shenzhen and Guangzhou attract more than 70% of talent flowing into the Greater Bay Area, new research shows, yet it is Zhuhai that manages to retain talent the longest. 

In its latest quarterly review of the employment market, leading online job site points out that the attraction of the two Tier-1 cities is hardly surprising to job-seekers from outside the province, given their size and status. The two cities are also the biggest magnet for university graduates from within the GBA, with Shenzhen attracting 42% of all graduates, while 28% aim for Guangzhou. 

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Shenzhen, Heyuan to build special zone

Land-scarce Shenzhen just cannot get enough of cooperation with its neighbors. With tech giants such as Huawei expanding into Dongguan, and TV maker Skyworth going into Huizhou, the city is looking to the next “outer ring” of the Greater Bay to take a step further in its expansion.


According to local media, Heyuan is the place, and the “Shenzhen-Heyuan Special Cooperation Zone” is under planning.

It’s a win-win for all parties, apparently. The establishment of the new zone will not only boost Heyuan’s economic development, but also strengthen Shenzhen’s “radiative leading role” and expand the industrial capacity of the Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou “economic circle”. 

Transport infrastructure is key to this happening. With the recent opening the high-speed railway between Huizhou and Heyuan, travel time between Shenzhen and Heyuan has been cut to two hours – and once the extension to Shenzhen has been completed, it will be reduced to an hour. 

Read more (in Chinese).