China's economic powerhouse

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

The Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area is a megalopolis, consisting of nine cities and two special administrative regions in South China. It is envisioned as an integrated economic area aimed at taking a leading role globally by 2035.

It is the largest and most populated urban area and it is among the four largest bay areas in the world, comparable with the bay areas of New York City, Tokyo, and San Francisco. The GBA – with a total population of approximately 71.2 million people (5% of China's total population) – includes nine mega cities of Guangdong province: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Huizhou, and Zhaoqing as well as two special administrative regions, Hong Kong, and Macao (Macau). Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen have been described among the world's 50 "superstar cities". Surrounding the Pearl River Delta with a total area of 56,000 km2 (corresponds to the area of Croatia), it is the largest and the richest economic region in South China.

The GBA's combined regional GDP is US$1,641.97 billion in 2018, which is equivalent to 12 percent of GDP for all of China and would rank the GBA as the 12th biggest economy in the world. As one of China's most vibrant and important regions, the GBA has the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country and houses a majority of China's most innovative technology companies, such as Huawei, ZTE, DJI, and Tencent (parent company of WeChat). GBA has a rich ecosystem of startups, incubators, and accelerators in the fields of agile tech, biotech, medical tech, and innovation. For these reasons, many experts consider the region an emerging Silicon Valley of Asia.



Shenzhen and Hong Kong: Twin cities in the Greater Bay Area

The Greater Bay Area is a critical export hub, accounting for 37% of China's exports. This is due to the large airports and railway stations connected by a modern transportation system. GBA hosts three of the world's top ten container ports and five international airports (Hong Kong International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport, Macau International Airport and Zhuhai Jinwan Airport). These airports account for an air freight traffic bigger than San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo combined.

The GBA is an economic powerhouse. Its combined regional GDP reached US$1,641.97 billion in 2018, equivalent to 12 per cent of mainland China's GDP. If the GBA were its own country, it would rank as the 12th biggest economy globally (almost equal to South Korea's and bigger than Australia's economy). GDP growth of GBA was 4.4 per cent in 2019, and GDP is expected to reach US$4 trillion by 2030, which would lead the GBA's GDP to overtake that of Germany in 2019.


The region has a diverse economic outlook with industrial development zones in all eleven cities covering emerging industries, R&D and high-end sectors. Among the emerging industries, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, hydrogen technologies, new mobility, and cleantech are most prominent. Another rapidly growing economic area in the GBA is healthcare. The Guangzhou International Bio-Technology Island (formerly known as Dove Island) located in Huangpu district, Guangzhou is a biotech industrial zone in the region.

Besides prioritizing innovation and high-tech industries, the GBA seeks to draw in foreign investors. For that purpose, The Opinions Concerning Financial Support for the Establishment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area envisaged gradual financial liberalization. Additionally, In May 2020, the People's Bank of China has introduced new measures aimed at liberalizing China's controls on foreign exchange and foreign currency remittance.