GBA Initiative driving HK forward with unprecedented momentum

Editor's note: On July 1, 2017, the Greater Bay Area initiative was signed to economically integrate Hong Kong and Macao with 9 cities in Guangdong Province. The goal is a strategically unified southern China region that enables the accelerated flow of people, capital, goods, and services, and deepens the "one country, two system" format that joins Hong Kong and Macao with the mainland. Ties between the mainland and Hong Kong have never been so close as they are today.

Wang Guan: Hong Kong is surrounded by the South China Sea on all sides, except to the north, where it neighbors Shenzhen. 25 years in, 7 land crossings now see waves of border hoppers every day. 88-mile Guang-Shen-Gang XRL connects Beijing and Hong Kong via Guangzhou and Shenzhen, cutting the ride from 24 to 9 hours. The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge, a 34-mile mega project, links the mainland, Macao and Hong Kong by bridge and undersea tunnels – the world's longest sea crossing. Moving every single piece of the giant structure is an eye-popping challenge.

Chen Mingjin: When we take a boat back and forth to Xiangzhou or Wanshan Islands or Guishan Island, we can see the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. I saw it turn from pilings into an actual bridge. A bridge linking Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao together has always been a dream of mine.

Wang Guan: Both bridge and railway are part of the "Greater Bay Area", a long-running, broad plan that envisions linking Hong Kong, Macao, and nine of the most developed cities in Guangdong Province on the mainland side, into a sprawling economic hub.

Terence Chan: The Greater Bay Area policy is the greatest opportunity I'd probably get in my lifetime.

Wang Guan: Terence Chan, a Hong Kong architect, founded his design company in Hong Kong in 2014. Four years later, he set up a second one in Guangzhou.

Terence Chan: When I first came to the mainland, I could not believe how big the market was. I spent three months, and I've reached more designs than in Hong Kong within a year. So I keep telling my friends, if you are struggling in Hong Kong, if you feel that Hong Kong is good, you should come to the mainland to check it out.

Wang Guan: It's a tale of 11 cities – The Greater Bay Area, or GBA Initiative – aims at building an international innovation hub by leveraging strengths of a cluster of cities. Ultimately, the GBA project envisages a technology driven region on a par with Silicon Valley and the Tokyo Bay Area. And it already works wonder. In 2021, with a GDP of 1.87 trillion US dollars, the GBA accounted for 11% of the national GDP, on less than 0.6% of China's land.

Everyone can tell you a thing or two about the Hong Kong they know. World market sees it as a trade port and a pulsing financial hub. For its Asian peers, it's always a force to be reckoned with. An inspiring place for artists and musicians. A vibrant cultural blend for life lovers.

Yes, there certainly has been chaos. But there is also this bond with the mainland which has withstood all and risen above. A bond between this unique place and its homeland. A bond between people, old and young. A bond that is being forged further, together.

Script: Wang Guan

Editors: Deng Yutong, Liu Shasha

Designer: Qi Haiming

Producer: Zhao Yunjie

Supervisor: Mei Yan

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