Macau, China, 20 Feb – The Chinese province of Guangdong and the Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong are going to cooperate to develop the Pearl River Delta with the aim of turning the region into a global competitive market.
The decision was made in a meeting that took place on Wednesday in Hong Kong between the Vice Governor of Guangdong, Wan Qingliang, the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong, Henry Tang Ying-yen, and the Macau secretary for the Economy and Finance, Francis Tam.
This meeting, the first of its kind, follows an announcement made in January by the Chinese central government regarding the implementation of “The Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta 2008-2020.”
Francis Tam said at the end of the meeting that the three parties agreed to co-operate in infrastructure planning, tourism, industry, environmental protection, finance, education, training, transport and innovative technology. Tam also said the parties agreed to push forward the development of the new territory of Hengqin and Zhuhai-Macao Cross-Border Industrial Zone.
The Macau secretary for economy and finance also said that the plan for developing the “Pearl River Delta defines Macau as a global centre of tourism and recreation,” and therefore the Macau government is going focus on diversifying the sector.
“Macau will take advantage of the fact that the Historical Centre of Macau is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and continue to develop cultural tourism, strengthen the cooperation in tourism with the Province of Guangdong and organise cultural excursions,” he said.
Francis Tam also said that as “Macau is a platform for economic services and trade, the aim of the territory will be to serve the western area of the Pearl River Delta”.
Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau have also agreed in principle that travel restrictions should be eased to allow more mainlanders do visit the two speacial administrative regions.
The proposal seeks to extend the special scheme devised for Shenzhen residents under wich they can make multiple visits to Hong Kong within a year, to include all resideents in Guangdong province.
The Pearl River Delta includes Hong Kong, Macau and part of Guangdong province (including the municipal areas of Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan and Zhuhai), a region which was opened up by the central government of the People’s Republic of China in 1978 to foreign trade and investment.
The Pearl River Delta, despite being located in just 0.5 percent of the Chinese territory and having just 5 percent of the country’s population, accounts for 20 percent of China’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The population of the Pearl River Delta, which is estimated to total 60 million people, is projected to grow to 75 million within a decade.
The eastern side of the PRD (Shenzhen, Dongguan), dominated by foreign capitals, is the most developed economically.
The western areas (Foshan, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen), dominated by local private capitals, are open for development.
New transport links between Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai in the PRD are expected to open up new areas for development and facilitate trade within the region.
The proposed 29-kilometre Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will be among the longest in the world.