Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui has a thoughtful piece in the China Daily HK edition. He says, in the style expected of a governor, that the Greater Bay Area is Guangdong’s future and, therefore, it is his No. 1 priority. He will spare some time to help with the Belt and Road Initiative, but GBA is his daily devotion, it seems.
Interestingly, he explicitly ties the GBA to the province’s Reform and Opening agenda. “In the new era, construction of the Greater Bay Area is the guiding principle for Guangdong’s further reform and opening-up,” he was quoted as saying. So it’s not just about unity and harmony and providing jobs to restless Hong Kong youths, it seems. Good to know.
Moreover, he lays out some specifics of what he is working on in terms of expediting cross-border integration with Hong Kong: “… integration of rules in education, trade, flow of talent, logistics, financing and information.” We will have to see what the schoolkids of Hong Kong have to say about that.
The article goes on to quote some really interesting stats to show what a region of boffins this is: “The State Council Information Office said R&D expenditure in Guangdong exceeded 250 billion yuan last year, ranking first in China and accounting for 2.65 percent of the country’s GDP. Guangdong ranked first in regional innovation capability in both 2017 and last year. The number of patent applications and grants reached 793,800 and 478,400 respectively.”