China unveils plan to boost business environment in the Greater Bay Area

Beijing has drawn up a blueprint designed to foster a world-leading business environment in its Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.

The release of the three-year action plan by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, comes as the world’s second-largest economy is grappling with a dip in foreign investment as the economy slows and external de-risking efforts.

In the plan, the commission pledged to further ease restrictions for investors and attract multinational companies and international organisations to establish their headquarters in the technology and innovation hub.

“We must increase [our] attractiveness for inward investors,” the document, published on Monday, said.

“We must align to high-standard international trade rules such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement.”

The Greater Bay Area consists of nine cities in the southern province of Guangdong, along with Hong Kong and Macau – an area that is home to more than 68 million people.

It is positioned as a world-class city cluster to rival those surrounding Tokyo, New York and San Francisco and is one of President Xi Jinping’s three key regional development areas along with Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei in the north and the Yangtze River hub centred around Shanghai.


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Beijing has been trying to increase regional connectivity and integrate business rules as a way of leveraging the role of Hong Kong and Macau to help the Chinese mainland develop.

The action plan said the country would deepen cooperation within the area and “enhance the level of market integration and international competitiveness”.

It also aims to attract investment from developed countries in advanced manufacturing, modern service industries and strategic emerging industries.

China reported a quarterly deficit in foreign direct liabilities in the July-September period, the first since 1998, fanning fears that weak sentiment will persist.

Meanwhile, the country also faces growing tech curbs and reshoring pressure from the United States.

The new action plan pledged to optimise market access and said measures to remove or reduce requirements on Hong Kong or Macau investors would be considered.

The two special administrative zones could act as the driving force for the Belt and Road Initiative and lead companies in the region to further integrate into global industrial and supply chains, it said.

Companies could promote their products, equipment, technology, standards, inspection and certification, and management services to “go global”, the plan said.

As part of efforts to improve regional exchange, Chinese citizens in Hong Kong and Macau will be allowed to take civil servant positions in mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area.



China Economy – South China Morning Post China boost business environment Greater Bay Area

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