The idea of establishing a greater Bay Area was first promulgated in China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) in 2015. In the 2017 Report on the Work of the Government, Premier Li Keqiang expressed the need to draw up a development plan for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, giving full play to the distinctive strengths of Hong Kong and Macao.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area city cluster comprises the two Special Administrative Regions Hong Kong and Macao and nine Guangdong cities, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing. It counts a combined population of 68 million and a collective GDP worth US$1.5 trillion, comparable to that of Australia or South Korea. This initiative is designed to further integrate their economic activities and to develop external links so as to establish a significant position in the global economy.
China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Guangdong Province, and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao signed a Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation in the Development of the Bay Area on 1 July 2017, an important milestone in formulating the development plan for the Greater Bay Area.
The key cooperation areas listed in the Framework Agreement are promoting infrastructure connectivity, enhancing the level of market integration, building a global technology and innovation hub, building a system of modern industries through coordinated development, jointly building a quality living circle to provide an ideal place for living, working and travelling, cultivating new strengths in international cooperation, and supporting the establishment of major cooperation platforms.
Hong Kong's status enhanced
The cooperation goals of the Framework Agreement include:
The Bay Area has all it takes to become the international innovation and technology hub of China. The deepening collaboration among the cities in the Bay Area will enable them to leverage the synergies of the world-class financial and professional services of Hong Kong, the vibrant tech business sector in Shenzhen, as well as the advanced manufacturing in other cities in Guangdong Province to make it the "Silicon Valley" of the region.