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Hong Kong’s Role in National Economic Development and Reform and Opening up, from the Perspective of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area’s Strategic Positioning

On February 18th, 2019, the Central Government and the State Council promulgated the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, specifying strategic positioning in five areas, including a vibrant world-class city cluster, a globally influential international innovation and technology hub, an important support pillar for the Belt and Road Initiative, a showcase for in-depth cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong and Macao, and a quality living circle for living, working and travelling. Based on this strategic positioning, the Greater Bay Area will assume a leading role in national economic growth and opening up, boosting the development of “one country, two systems”. In the new paradigm of Greater Bay Area development and a new era of comprehensive opening up of the country, Hong Kong will assume an indispensable and active role and attain new room for economic growth.

One. The Greater Bay Area’s city cluster will become a new engine of China’s modern economic development in the new era

The first strategic positioning specified in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is a vibrant world-class city cluster. The goal is to “integrate into the global market system, build a global base of emerging industries, advanced manufacturing and modern service industries”, setting an example in developing institutions and mechanisms for high-quality economic development.

In 2018, the Chinese economy grew 6.6%, and nominal GDP exceeded 90 trillion yuan, reinforcing the shift from high-speed growth to high-quality growth in the new era.

Both the size and growth of the Greater Bay Area’s GDP outperform other major domestic city clusters. In 2017, the GDP of the Greater Bay Area amounted to 10.17 trillion yuan. In 2018, the GDP of the nine Greater Bay Areas cities in Guangdong amounted to 8.1 trillion yuan. Considering the yet-to-be released GDP figures for Hong Kong and Macao, the Greater Bay Area’s GDP in 2018 could reach 10.83 trillion yuan, or about 12% of the national total. According to simple projections based on the nominal GDP growth records of the Greater Bay Area cities in the 10 years between 2008 and 2017, the GDP of the Greater Bay Area could reach 15.47 trillion yuan in 2022, achieving the goal of considerably strengthening overall competitiveness. In 2035, the GDP of the Greater Bay Area could reach 52.12 trillion yuan, a big leap in its economic prowess. Assuming a nominal growth rate of 7% for the country as a whole, in 2022, the Greater Bay Area’s GDP would account for 13.1% of the national total. In 2035, the Greater Bay Area’s GDP would account for 18.3% of the national total, genuinely becoming an important engine of China’s economic growth.

The Greater Bay Area city cluster will establish and maintain reasonable collaboration and division of roles, realizing interconnectedness in factor markets. Easy movement of various factors will efficiently improve resource allocation and the synergy of regional development, boosting the transition of the Greater Bay Area from simple addition to organic economic consolidation, improving the quality and efficiency of economic growth, and further elevating the Greater Bay Area’s importance in China’s modern economic development.

In building the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong has the advantages of “one country, two systems” and a fully international market economy, enabling the Greater Bay Area to better capitalize on its strengths accumulated from early and pilot implementation during Mainland China’s reform and opening up, in adequate industrial systems, congregation of innovative factors, a market economy, and high degree of internationalization, providing important support for national development towards a modern and open economy in line with international standards.

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Content provided by Bank of China (Hong Kong)
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