The contrast between Hong Kong and Shenzhen could not be starker than in their respective plans for subsidized, or social, housing. While Shenzhen is targeting a surge over the coming two years, putting as many as 300,000 units on the market, Hong Kong has announced it will likely be able to build no more than 13,400 units in the current year, well down from its initial target of just 18,000 for the fiscal period ending in March.
Shenzhen plans to sell 600,000 new homes between now and 2022, of which
rental units will be no less than 300,000, it was announced this week. This is
part of the city’s bigger urban development plan, unveiled in August last year, which will see
1.7 million new houses built by 2035, with more than 1 million being subsidized.
The Greater Bay Area has a unique opportunity to create new methods of financing industrial growth, a high-powered forum in Shenzhen heard last week.
When Chinese hi-tech firms see difficulties in raising money through traditional methods, the future is there for GBA cities to create efficient financing infrastructure that can support money-burning, fast-developing startups. However, Hong Kong, the world’s No. 1 IPO market, is not doing a good enough job in this regard.
So said Ba Shusong, chief economist at China Banking Association and HKEX, at a conference discussing innovation in the GBA, held by Guangdong’s leading media group on Thursday.
Shenzhen is building a public transport system with rail transit as its core. By 2035, the end of the GBA masterplan, most residents should need to walk no more than 10 minutes to reach a railway station.
According to the city’s overall transport development plan, released this week, the combination of Metro, Intercity, and High-Speed Railways should cover more than 1,000 sq km of land by 2035. That is more than three times what it has built to date.
The eight Metro lines currently under development in the city are the biggest growth phase of the project, and by 2022 at least half of the total network will have been built. Daily passenger flow is at a maximum of around 6.5 million.
Intercity rail is being given a high priority, too, as many Shenzhen residents are living further from urban clusters due to rising living costs. Last year, about 1.36 million trips were made from Shenzhen to neighboring Dongguan and Huizhou, but this is expected to increase to 6.2 million per day by 2035.
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.
Shenzhen’s never-ending quest for modernity produces regular bouts of soul-searching, which are often reflected in commentaries published in official media. One of these, by an experienced writer, Fu Jingyi, which appeared recently in the Southern Metropolis Daily, focused on the city’s talent policy. It determined that the challenge of “optimizing” Shenzhen’s human resources was perhaps greater than many realized, and that creative solutions were called for.
Here is a good story about Greater Bay Area integration that is working, and delivering results. Huizhou has a deepwater port with significant potential. Shenzhen has container traffic that it needs to manage better, as its existing ports at Yantian and Shekou are running at high capacity utilization. Putting their management together makes sense, and that is what they have done.
They are calling it the “Huiyan Combination Port” operation. It essentially involves closer collaboration between the Yantian and Huizhou container terminal, which enables streamlined customs declarations and inspection procedures for Huizhou Port, and improves handling procedures for loading and unloading international vessels in Yantian Port.
Shenzhen’s housing policies have been the focus of intense online discussion in recent months, with many commentators and analysts comparing them to Hong Kong’s. The city’s plans to build 1.7 million new homes by 2035, at a rate of more than 80,000 per year, are unthinkable for Hong Kong, where the government has said it hopes to build 10,000 new social-housing units in the next three years. Moreover, Shenzhen has made it clear that 40% of its housing supply will be earmarked for subsidized housing – in comparison with its neighbor, where 29.1% of households live in public rental housing and another 15.5% in subsidized home ownership housing.
However, Shenzhen is not without challenges of its own in achieving these goals. And sometimes, examples come to light showing the complexity of the city’s housing market. One such case is the redevelopment of the Baishizhou neighborhood.
Recruitment agents, your days are numbered: A Greater Bay Area “talent map” is being prepared by the Shenzhen city government, according to local media. This will essentially be a platform built on a public database, with content supplied by “talent pools” as well as libraries from both the industrial sector and the government.
The aim is to better match skills with job opportunities using, no doubt, AI and other technologies. Moreover, this platform has ambitions to match resources with talent. In other words, if you are smart and have a good idea, your pursuit of financial and human resources should be as frictionless as possible.
As mainland students flee Hong Kong’s embattled university campuses for the safety of neighboring Shenzhen, a spotlight is being shone on the relationship between the Hong Kong universities and their affiliates across the border.
Fearing that they could become targets of the
anti-government protesters who have turned their campus into a battlefield, mainland
students staying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Sha Tin have found themselves among the more
fortunate, as the university has a Shenzhen campus that opened its doors to
them from late yesterday.