Greater Bay Area: an Upcoming Bay Area in the East
The “Greater Bay Area” (GBA), launched by the Chinese Government in 2016, is meant to foster the collaboration and integration of nine Southern China cities (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing) and the two special administration regions (Hong Kong and Macau) with the aim to turning the region into a dynamic and international economic hub as well as an innovation and technology powerhouse, comparable to the other Bay Areas of the world such as: San Francisco, Greater New York and the Greater Tokyo Area.
The development of the GBA is accorded the status of key strategic planning in the country’s development blueprint, having great significance in the country’s implementation of innovationdriven development and commitment to reform and opening-up.
Hong Kong – the Facilitator and the Promotor
Upon the signing in 2017 the “Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Co-operation in the Development of the Bay Area”, Hong Kong will proactively take forward various initiatives related to the development of the GBA. Indeed, Hong Kong, being the most open and international city in the GBA, and with the advantages of “one country, two systems”, is well positioned to assume a leading role in this Nation’s endeavour.
Well-known for business friendly environment, renowned professional services in finance, logistics, legal and trade, as well as an aspiring higher education sector which could help steer innovation and entrepreneurship, Hong Kong is a perfect partner for businesses and individuals to connect and excel in this exciting new global economic zone.
Shenzhen – the China’s Silicon Valley
During China’s economic reform in the 1980s, Shenzhen was singled out as one of the Special Economic Zones to be an experimental ground for practising market capitalism - “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Since then, the city has rapidly grown into “the world’s factory” and is now commonly known as China’s Silicon Valley, home to Huawei, Tencent, ZTE and many of the most famous technology companies in China. It was reported that, among the 18,109 maker projects which have successfully raised fund on Kickstarter, 80% of the projects were carried out in the factories in Shenzhen. Nowadays, the city has over 1.7 million private companies, including some of China’s largest. The city’s R&D output accounts for more than 4% of its GDP which is among the highest proportion in the country and three times higher than the average. Huawei for example, has its headquarter in Shenzhen with over 60,000 employees, of which 25,000 are working on R&D and the company’s total R&D expenditure amounted nearly US$14 billion in 2017. With the unceasing effort from the China government in turning Shenzhen to an innovation and technology hub, it has the potential to become a city comparable to San Francisco’s Silicon Valley in the near future.
The Greater Bay Area International Institute for Innovations
Under the GBA 9+2 Arrangement, Hong Kong will play a strategic role in facilitating the GBA development by bringing in high quality talents
and technologies to advance the innovation development in the region. Combining Shenzhen’s high technology manufacturing and deployment base, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong link will serve as a springboard for international deep technologies to land in the region for incubation and acceleration.
Sharing common goals and visions in the GBA development, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), in July 2018, collaborated with Shenzhen University (SZU) to establish “The Greater Bay Area International Institute for Innovations (GBA I3)”. Both universities are committed to developing the GBA into a world-class innovation hub for technology development, knowledge transfer (KT) and entrepreneurship through partnership with leading universities, government and corporations from around the world.
Landing Platform for International Partners’ Knowledge Transfer and Entrepreneurship Development
Through leveraging the resources of collaborating institutions, government and corporations, GBA I3 will provide an international landing platform for partners from the academic, private and public sectors from within and outside GBA to put their foothold in the GBA for international knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship development, and in particular, for incubation and commercialization of their technologies or research deliverables.
Planned to set up a permanent establishment in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Lok Ma Chau Loop Area, GBA I3, capitalizing on the opportunities rendered by the policies on Hong Kong-Shenzhen education and innovation collaboration in the area, will provide world class facilities and infrastructures to support international teams to land and develop their research / deep technologies in the GBA.
Entrepreneurship Education – Innovative Curriculum and Experiential Learning
GBA I3 plans to offer high quality innovation and entrepreneurship education programmes to local and international students, including both credit and non-credit bearing programmes with holistic and innovative curriculum combining western pedagogy and local context. Programmes like Startup Internship will offer overseas students and teams experiential learning opportunities to work in prominent startups and technology companies, like Tencent, Huawei, in the GBA region to gain exposure, skills, knowledge and connections in startups in the area.