Category Archives: Zones

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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Qianhai’s office rent seen catching up fast

Qianhai has a lot of yet-to-be leased office space on the market, with vacancy rates at historic highs for a district in Shenzhen. Never mind, says international real estate consultancy Colliers, it will catch up fast and likely overtake the neighboring Houhai district.  

Thanks to policy support for the special economic zone, which is attracting a surge of investment, Colliers believes Qianhai will benefit from near-term and longer-term trends in the coming years. (Read our primer on Qianhai to understand more.) Subsidies are currently generous, making rents here less than 70% of what they are in other districts, while infrastructure is being put in place that will soon make the district easier to access from the rest of the city.   Continue reading Qianhai’s office rent seen catching up fast

HK investment ramps up in Qianhai

In the wake of the Qianhai Cooperative Forum 2019, which was held at the weekend, the city has released statistics showing how fast the special economic zone is ramping up investments and output.

Official data shows utilized foreign direct investment in Qianhai jumped 12.1% to $2.533 billion in the first six months. Hong Kong companies were the most aggressive, and now account for nearly 90% of the zone’s total utilized FDI of US22 billion. Their utilized FDI was 60% of Shenzhen’s and 20% of the entire province’s during the first half.

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Explainer: the GBA’s Science and Technology Corridor

You might have heard about the ‘Innovation Corridor’ linking Guangdong’s tech hubs with Hong Kong. But what is it? Here we explain the basics of ‘One Corridor, Ten Cores, and Multiple Supporting Nodes.’ Forget Zhongguancun in Beijing; this is where ‘China’s Silicon Valley’ is being built.

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Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone turns 12

The Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone, located in Foshan’s Nanhai district, close to the border of Guangzhou, has attracted more than 670 financial institutions and enterprises in the past 12 years. 

Yes, we have never heard of it, either. 

The provincial government backed high-tech zone, which is positioned as a support base for the development of the province’s finance industry, has seen its companies execute investments worth RMB112 billion, with RMB820 billion of assets under management.  

The zone is home to over 30,000 staff, primarily working as back-office support to finance companies. They work mostly in clusters. In the Qiandenghu (Thousand Lamp Lake) town, for example, there are 489 private equity funds with names such as IDG Capital, Technology Financial Group, Beijing Heju Investment, and China Trust Protection Fund. These have raised a total of RMB61 billion. 

Last year, the Financial High-tech Zone set an audacious new goal for itself: to create a “blockchain” powered fintech innovation base, and to construct a complete value chain that complements the ​​Qiandenghu Venture Capital Town.

Now that we know about it, watch this space for more detailed introduction to the zone. 

Qianhai is China’s No. 1 Free Trade Zone

According to a new index ranking China’s Free Trade Zones, Shenzhen’s Qianhai is the country’s No. 1.

The Institutional innovation Index for China Pilot Free Trade Zones (2018-2019), released by Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University, gave Qianhai a score of 86.26 points. It was followed by the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone at No. 2, and Guangzhou’s Nansha at No. 3.

Qianhai scored No. 1 in “transformation of government functions,” “investment facilitation,” “trade facilitation” and “legal environment.” 

(If you need to understand the zones better, read our primer.)

Dongguan has high hopes for new zones

As recent trade data has shown, Dongguan’s relative resilience in the midst of the US-China trade war has been intriguing. One key reason for it has emerged: the creation of special new zones for duty-free trade processing, known as bonded-logistics and cross-border e-commerce zones.

Last year, bonded-logistic zones handled RMB217.5 billion in trade, up 17.7% compared with 2017. The rising star, however, was cross-border e-commerce, which saw RMB37 billion of trade processed, up 133%, ranking it first in the country. Dongguan now has 10 cross-border e-commerce parks, offering a range of services to companies that set up there, including logistics support. They also have a number of incubators for start-up companies.

These are not zones with barbed-wire fences. A prime example is the Humen Port Integrated Bonded Zone. Although only officially upgraded from a “bonded logistics center” last October, the zone handled 241,000 imported packages during the first four months of this year, reaching 83% of the total recorded the whole of last year. 

Dongguan has consistently ranked in the country’s top 10 trading municipalities. Today it is fifth for overall trade volumes, fourth in exports and third in “foreign trade competitiveness”, according to local media. The government is also setting up funds and issuing policies to develop an industrial cluster of e-commerce, including building a well-rounded supply chain, establishing a B2B supervision system and providing funds for enterprises to set up overseas storage bases. 

Read morein Chinese.