Think Guangzhou is big? Think again. The city government has released a draft urban masterplan that envisages building the provincial capital into an “international metropolis”, with a population of 20 million, by the end of the current GBA masterplan in 2035.
That would mean adding 5.1 million residents – presumably all “talents” – over the next 15 years. That is an average of 300,000 per year. It would be an easing of its current growth rate, though: Guangzhou added 566,367 residents last year. That was No. 2 in the country for population growth, behind Shenzhen.
To support this growth, the city plans to build two million new housing units, of which at least 8% will be social housing. How will all these people get to and from home and work? On a railway network that will be adding 2,000 km of tracks, four times its current length. Hi-speed lines will bring in visitors from cities further away, such as Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau, while the Metro will be extended into neighboring cities as well. Moreover, a second airport is currently being planned in the area between Guangzhou and Dongguan.
Still think Hong Kong will be the GBA’s “dragon head”? Really?
Read more in Chinese.
Guangdong has released a three-year masterplan for land use, which focuses on industrial upgrading and the development of a marine industry. Plenty of land will be made available for expansion of the hi-tech zones (in each city), industrial parks (many in each city), and industry clusters (such as Nanshan in Shenzhen or Songshan Lake in Dongguan). Moreover, speed will be of the essence in this plan, which will “encourage” bidders to submit construction plans before they have even taken part in land auctions.
As for the marine-industry plan, the provincial government has high ambitions for how its surrounding waters will be utilized for economic and social development. Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Jiangmen – yes, that’s right, Jiangmen, with a long coastline next to Macau – will be designated special nodes for the development of the industry.
Read more in Chinese.
Being a coastal province, and being China’s richest province, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Guangdong’s “marine industry” – basically, everything related to an ocean-based economy – is the country’s biggest.
For the 24th year in a row, in fact, Guangdong has again been pronounced No. 1 in this industry. It contributed RMB1.93 trillion to the province’s economy last year, up 9% over 2017, accounting for nearly one-fifth of total GDP.
Services are more important than light and heavy industries in the marine economy, and are growing faster overall. However, some standouts include the oil and gas industry (+23.3% in 2018), chemicals (+13%), and power (+12.5%). Offshore wind power projects are looking particularly promising, with six completed and 31 others under planning. Mining, biomedicine, and seawater utilization are also gaining support.
Tourism is growing the fastest, with offshore islands recently being opened to development. In a plan that runs from 2017 to 2030, 167 non-residential islands were included in the total of 196 islands open to development.Read more in Chinese.
Guangdong’s governor, Ma Xingrui, gave a press conference today at which he said the province’s GDP is expected to grow to more than RMB10 trillion this year. It is the way this will be achieved, rather than the number, that jumped out at us, however. He said the province will continue to “open up its market to the outside to strengthen its competitiveness”, and his No. 1 priority for the coming year is to build the Greater Bay Area by “finding solutions for cross-border issues, meeting international trade rules and facilitating the easy flow of capital, talents, goods and information within the GBA”.
Priority #2 to #5 were more interesting for a domestic audience: propelling innovation, investing more in the countryside, promoting Lingnan culture, and protecting the environment.
Priority #6 was more intriguing: To optimize the rule of law and internationalization, build a good business environment, and create the most secure, stable, fair, and legal environment in the country.
Roll on, Governor. Let’s see what comes next.
Read more (in Chinese).
The Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarter Base, a zone along the city’s northern coast that is being masterplanned way, way, way into the future, has unveiled its initial designs. According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, the area will be landmarked by three iconic towers, which will serve to pull in all of the city’s leading companies.
Imagine that: three buildings where every major company in the city will have their headquarters.
The project covers an area of 117 hectares. Since its announcement in 2014, companies that have invested in land purchases there include CITIC Securities, China Merchants Bank, ZTE, Digital China, Evergrande, and Vanke.
The design plan integrated the three winning bids during an international consultation process last year which attracted architects from 76 domestic and overseas design agencies. In addition to the office space, the project will also provide conference facilities and cultural venues. Designers explains that the project will integrate the atmosphere of Shenzhen Bay with an active urban environment, like Sydney, Singapore, or Copenhagen.
Read more (in Chinese).
The latest Guangdong-Macau Cooperation Joint Conference has resulted in nine points of agreement being signed to cover cooperation under the masterplan of the Greater Bay Area, according to a statement by the Macau Government Information Bureau.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On and Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui attended the meeting at the East Asian Games Dome in Cotai.
Key of these was an agreement to support innovative industries to develop the Greater Bay Area as an international science and technology hub. The eight others cover Macau-Zhuhai cooperation; a subsidy scheme for science and technology projects; forestry development; health; youth exchanges; census; construction of floodgates at Macau’s Inner Harbor; and intellectual property.
The State Council’s approval for the Hengqin New Area to become an “International Leisure and Tourism Center” has been in the works for some time, so the announcement yesterday came as little surprise to anyone who has been following its development. Nevertheless, the endorsement from Beijing has shone a spotlight on this big island opposite Macau, where cranes are hard at work on a massive new development that will capture global attention very soon.
At the end of this year, the Hengqin Railway Station opens. It will be similar to the West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, with immigration facilities for both the mainland and Macau housed in the same building. It will also be a similar size, with the capacity to handle 80m visitors a year (Macau received 35m last year). The opening will likely be the spark that ignites a frenzy of media attention for this island, one of three special economic zones in Guangdong (together with Guangzhou’s Nansha and Shenzhen’s Qianhai).
No date has been set for the station to open, but it is widely assumed to be on or near the December 20 anniversary celebrations for Macau, marking two decades since the SAR’s return to Chinese sovereignty. President Xi Jinping is expected to attend that event. We would not be surprised if he pops across to Hengqin for the new station’s opening as well. Hengqin is a project close to his heart, as he launched it while still Vice President back in 2011 with the “Guangdong-Macao Cooperation Framework Agreement”. Hengqin was also the first stop on his whirlwind visit to Guangdong in October last year.
Readers might realise that we know a thing or two about Hengqin. In fact, we are preparing a 30-page report on the subject that will be available soon. Anyone interested in knowing more, please email us and we will keep you updated.