Qianhai reveals idea for extension of rail link with HK

Shenzhen’s Qianhai Authority has set the cat among the pigeons by revealing a proposal for an extension of the cross-border high-speed railway line that would connect to Hong Kong’s proposed East Lantau Plan, also known as the Lantau Tomorrow Vision. According to a report over the weekend in the South China Morning Post, alleged plans for the rail line’s future development have been on display on the ground floor of an official exhibition center for the pilot development zone.

In the map, the local section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link that opened in the West Kowloon terminus last year would branch out to the East Lantau metropolis, run through the New Territories and cross the border to Qianhai, joining the national network. Of course, no date has been given for any of this. Hong Kong has not even announced whether the Lantau reclamation project will go ahead yet.

Witman Hung Wai-man, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Qianhai Authority, said the preliminary idea for the rail extension was raised late last year, and the Qianhai Authority would further explore the concept before presenting it to the Shenzhen municipal government and Hong Kong authorities. But that couldn’t stop reporters from calling up Michael Wong, Secretary for Development for the HKSAR, who said he knew nothing about the plan. “I only learned about it when it was revealed in the news on Friday,” Wong said.

It was a reaction that predictably brought a surge of criticism from the usual corners about Hong Kong’s autonomy being eroded.
Read more about the plan here and about Wong’s reaction here.

Premier pledges boost for investors in HK, MO, Taiwan

China’s newly revamped Foreign Investment Law will bring greater opportunities for investors in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Premier Li Keqiang has announced. The premier further said that specifics are being worked out and will soon be clarified through detailed supporting regulations, reports the South China Morning Post.

Speaking at the Boao Forum on Thursday, Li said preferential policies that had proved effective would remain unchanged and the country would broaden market access for investment from the three regions, further opening sectors such as finance, professional services and high-end manufacturing.

Read more here. 

Guangdong research funding open to HK, MO institutions

Scientific research institutions from Hong Kong and Macau are now eligible for research funding granted by Guangdong and may use them in the SARs, according to a report in China Daily Hong Kong.

Previously, institutions from the two special administrative regions had to form joint ventures with other mainland institutions or set up branches in Guangdong.

Under the new three-year pilot scheme, which was unveiled this week, two institutions from Hong Kong and Macau will enjoy equal rights with their counterparts in Guangdong in competition for a total of RMB500 million (US$74.2 million) in funding and key sci-tech projects supported by the province.

The policy also encourages cooperation in key fields identified by the Greater Bay Area masterplan, such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

Read more here.

Shenzhen, Guangzhou top talent magnets

Shenzhen and Guangzhou, for the second consecutive year, won China’s unofficial “talent grab” contest. (No, it’s not the Chinese version of American Idol.) The two cities, followed by Xi’an, recorded the highest population growth rate in 2018, demonstrating their attractiveness to the “socially mobile generation”, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Shenzhen added 498,300 people in 2018, bringing its total to 13.02 million. Guangzhou attracted 406,000, bringing its total to 14.9 million. The high growth rate also showed the two cities’ openness to welcome outsiders and their eagerness to attract young skilled workers, according to Chinese media.

Two other GBA cities, Foshan (8th) and Dongguan (21st), also made into the Top 30. Foshan added 249,000, bringing its total to 7.9 million. Dongguan, ranked 21st, brought in 49,700, bringing its total to 8.39 million.

Read more here (in Chinese)

Guangdong holds up baby-making prowess

China recorded its lowest birth rate in 40 years last year, according to Chinese media, with only 15.23 million babies being born, two million less than the previous year. The birth rate stood at 10.94%, the lowest since 1978.

People in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Liaoning were the most reluctant to give birth, with the birth rate at 8.24%, 7.2%, 6.67% and 6.39% respectively. Hainan, Qinghai, Guangxi had the highest birth rate at 14.48%, 14.31% and 14.12%.

Guangdong, despite being the country’s richest province, stayed well above the national average, at 12.79%. It surpassed traditionally well-populated provinces such as Henan (11.72%) and Sichuan (11.05%) as well as economic rival Jiangsu (9.32%).

Local media believe the key to Guangdong’s relatively high birth rate is its demographics. Many young people have flooded in from other parts of China in recent years, giving the province not only the lowest aging rate in China, but also increasing its birth rate. Moreover, the east Guangdong area, represented by Chaozhou and Shantou, has “relatively well maintained the family tradition of procreation”, according to the report.

Guangdong also has the largest pool of pension funds in China.

Read more here (in Chinese).

Unraveling supply chain complexity in the Greater Bay Area @ March 28 (Thur)

Part of the CityU MBA SHARP Forum, the event explores the compelling need for faster and more efficient movement of goods/services, labor/talent, capital and information in the Greater Bay Area. How does such a need create challenges and opportunities in supply chain management?  Taking advantage of the GBA’s acceleration in innovation, how could companies work in sync with advanced digital technologies (e.g., IoT and AI) to unravel supply chain complexity? Find out more here.
 
Where: Joseph Lee Hall, Li Da Sum Yip Yio Chin Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong

Former Tencent AI chief to head new Sinovation-backed Hong Kong Lab

Sinovation Ventures, the tech investment firm founded by former Google China head Lee Kaifu, says it will team up with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to build a new AI research lab, according to Technode.

The new Computer Perception and Intelligent Control Lab will be led by former Tencent AI Lab chief Zhang Tong, who is currently a faculty member at HKUST. The Stanford-trained AI scientist was previously a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and had also worked at IBM, Yahoo and Baidu before joining Tencent.

Read more here.

HK youth get more incentives in GBA

Hong Kong’s Youth Development Commission has rolled out two new programs aimed at encouraging young entrepreneurs: the Funding Scheme for Experiential Programs at Innovation and Entrepreneurial Bases; and the Funding Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship in the Greater Bay Area. The schemes aim at subsidizing Hong Kong NGOs to provide start-up assistance and incubation services that befit the needs of young people (aged between 18-40) who are about to start their businesses in Hong Kong and in other cities of the Greater Bay Area. This includes helping them settle in entrepreneurial bases and further helping them meet their initial capital needs.
 
Read more here or get the application here.

Neural research lab inaugurated

The Shenzhen Neher Neural Plasticity Laboratory, led by German biophysicist Erwin Neher, who won the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 1991, was inaugurated at Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technologies under the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Saturday.
 
The lab, Neher’s first research lab in China, is one of Shenzhen’s key projects in developing research on neural science while engaging in researches on biomedicine development and the health industry.
 
At present, the lab has a team of 30 full-time researchers, including five senior researchers. The number will increase to 50 before the end of the year.

Read more here. 

Belt & Road Shenzhen International Music Festival

The second Belt & Road Shenzhen International Music Festival kicked off over the weekend in Shenzhen. The three-week event will receive more than 800 musicians of 23 troupes from over 40 countries and regions along the Belt & Road, including Russia, Poland, Turkey, Indonesia and Thailand. Among its list of performers also include the US’ Cleveland Orchestra, Germany’s Freiburger Baroque Orchestra, the China National Symphony Orchestra, U.S. jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center. 

Book the tickets here.