Recently, the State Council issued the Overall Plan for Promoting Comprehensive Cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao by Further Deepening Opening-up in Nansha District of Guangzhou (hereinafter referred to as the Nansha Plan). According to the key development direction mentioned in the plan that Nansha attempts to establish an industrial cooperation base for sci-tech innovation, Nansha will build a marine science and technology innovation center of South China, as well as accelerate the construction of Nansha (Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao) data service pilot zone… With the Nansha Plan as the guideline, Nansha is making every effort to gather sci-tech innovation resources of the Greater Bay Area, so as to light up the “beacon of sci-tech innovation in the Bay Area”, develop future industries, create a new engine for high-quality development, and bring the sci-tech innovation of the Greater Bay Area to a higher level.
Coming at the right time, Nansha Plan comprehensively boosts Nansha’s strategic capacity
At a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council on June 24, Guo Yonghang, Secretary of the CPC Guangzhou Municipal Committee and Mayor of Guangzhou Municipality, said that Nansha is located at the geographical center, namely the heart of the Greater Bay Area. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) is about to open this autumn. More and more famous universities and institutions are gathering, and high-quality educational resources such as the Affiliated High School of South China Normal University and Zhixin High School are being introduced to here. With increasing strengths and policy support, Nansha is on its way of opening up and development at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people.
Guo Yonghang mentioned that since the “Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” released in 2019 suggested to build Nansha into a Demonstration Zone for Comprehensive Cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao, Nansha has entered a new stage of multiple national designations, which refers to the State-level New Area, the Pilot Free Trade Zone, and the Demonstration Zone for Comprehensive Cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao. Nansha has been significantly speeding up its development since. In 2021, the GDP of Nansha exceeded 200 billion yuan, and over 223 projects have been invested by Fortune Global 500 enterprises. The ratio of regional R&D expenditures reached 3.67%. A “1+1+3+N” scientific and technological innovation system has taken shape. 749 institutional innovation have been made, of which 43 have been promoted nationwide. More than 2700 Hong Kong and Macao enterprises have registered, investing $117 billion. Meanwhile, Guangzhou Futures Exchange, the Greater-bay Science Forum, and International Finance Forum have settled in Nansha one after another.
According to Guo Yonghang, to strengthen the position of the major strategic platform given by the Nansha Plan, Guangzhou will seize every opportunity and live up to the mission of the times by strengthening the leadership of the Party, bearing in mind “the great interests of the nation, Party and people”, and seeking to take innovative, timely and refined action.
After the Nansha Plan was released, Cong Liang, Deputy Director General of the National Development and Reform Commission and Deputy Director of the Leading Group Office of the Construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, gives his opinion in an article. He emphasizes that supporting Nansha of Guangzhou to deepen the comprehensive cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao with global perspective is of great significance in terms of promoting the development of Guangzhou, furthering the reform and opening-up in the Greater Bay Area, and enriching the “one country, two systems”.
Wang Fuqiang, Director of the Regional and Industrial Economic Research Department of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, believes that from the perspective of the balanced development of the Greater Bay Area, Nansha, as one of the three key platforms for the cooperation and joint development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, has comprehensive urban functions that provide more possibilities for developing future industries. Wang Fuqiang explains that joint efforts could be made to, cultivate modern industries such as new energy vehicles, major scientific infrastructure, an international cooperation platform, and education / training industry focusing on the improvement of human capital.
To be specific, the Nansha Plan sets a goal that “by 2025, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao joint scientific and technological innovation mechanism in Nansha will be more completed, the industrial cooperation will be strengthened, and the system of regional innovation and industrial transformation will be initiated”. To this end, it is planned to achieve these goals by “enhancing the joint sci-tech innovation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, establishing major sci-tech innovation platforms, cultivating high-tech industries, and attracting international high-end talents”.
Taking multiple measures to effectively build a chain of future industries
Nansha is located at the southernmost end of Guangzhou and the estuary of the Pearl River, also the geographical center of the Great Bay Area. It serves as an important hub connecting the city clusters on both sides of the Pearl River Estuary with Hong Kong and Macao. It also functions as the junction of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road and the Land Silk Road. Thus, the key word of Nansha’s development is “ocean”.
Empowered by the ocean, Nansha focuses on marine science and builds Nansha Science City with high standard. It has gathered major sci-tech innovation platforms including the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology CAS, the Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou), and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou). World-class marine science and technology infrastructure are clustering, such as the cold-seep ecosystem, the extreme marine scientific research facility, and the ocean drilling vessel.
Guided by the Plan, Nansha will continue to focus on the ocean, trying to build the Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou) into a national laboratory, continuously gathering high-end marine science and innovation resources, building a national base of marine science core research and a platform of key technology research and development, so as to create a southern marine science and technology innovation center of global influence. With these actions, Nansha strives to develop emerging marine industries like marine new energy, marine electronic information, and marine biomedicine. Nansha is on its way of improving the marine leading industry and marine service industry, in order to become the pacesetter of the blue economic belt in South China and map out the South China Sea strategy while building a maritime power.
The Nansha Plan points out that Nansha will develop digital industry, by accelerating the construction of GBA Innovation Center of National Next Generation Internet Engineering Center (hereinafter referred to as the Innovation Center), as well as promoting the application of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and developing the next generation internet computing services.
IPv6, with the huge amount of address, is the foundation for the rapid development of emerging industries such as 5G, industrial Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Vehicles, and cross-border flow of data. It lays the solid foundation for the Internet of Everything and contributes to the development of smart city and digital economy in Nansha.
Supported by the Innovation Center, the internet industry related infrastructure construction, technical scheme and the research on corresponding governance system based on IPv6 protocol are being conducted in Nansha. It is learned that the innovation center is joining hands with telecom operators, network equipment manufacturers, network technology service providers, terminal application companies, cyber security companies in promoting the application of new research results of next generation internet. This is showing an agglomeration effect in Nansha.
According to Nansha District Bureau of Industry and Information Technology, Nansha will actively carry out 5G application demonstration; enhance the integrated application of “city brain”, implement the project of inclusive digital technology; develop competitive industries such as artificial intelligence, big data, third-generation semiconductors, and Internet of things. Nansha is paying every effort to accelerate the establishment of Qingsheng park of artificial intelligence value innovation, the Dagang base of advanced manufacturing, and the Wanqingsha cluster of third-generation semiconductor industry. The scale of core industry clusters of digital economy keeps expanding.
Taking multiple measures to deeply integrate sci-tech innovation resources in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao
Building industrial cooperation bases for sci-tech innovation is the primary goal of the five key development directions of the Nansha Plan. Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao are rich in sci-tech innovation resources. The Nansha Plan has put forward many strong measures to strengthen the cooperation among the three places in sci-tech innovation. For example, efforts have been made to promote joint endeavors in core technology research among scientific research institutions in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as carry out pilot projects to endow scientific researchers with the ownership or long-term use right of sci-tech achievements.
Wang Jianfan, Director of the Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance, said that in order to speed up the in-depth and comprehensive cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, the Nansha Plan has provided corresponding support in finance and taxation. For example, it is clarified that corporate income tax will be levied at a reduced rate of 15% for enterprises in sectors encouraged in the launching areas, and Hong Kong and Macao residents working in Nansha will be exempted from the portion of their personal income tax that exceeds the tax rate of Hong Kong and Macao, in a bid to boost the gathering of high-tech enterprises and talents. Besides, the government will further extend the length of carry-over of losses for key high-tech enterprises in Nansha.
The “15% tax rate” is particularly noteworthy. Fang Zhou, Research Director of the Hong Kong “One Country, Two Systems” Research Center, said that the tax rate is even lower than the corporate income tax of 16.5% in Hong Kong.
Fang Zhou also believes that some policies proposed by the Nansha Plan merit attention, including “supporting qualified Hong Kong private equity funds to participate in the financing of Hong Kong funded innovative technology enterprises in Nansha”, “supporting the foreign exchange administration reform”, “carrying out policy pilot projects such as Qualified Domestic Limited Partners (QDLP) overseas investment”, and supporting the cooperation among institutions in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao to establish RMB overseas investment funds”. Fang Zhou believes that in the future, new channels will be established to facilitate venture capital to “go global” and “bring in” like the free flow of cross-border funds between domestic and overseas bond markets and investors, with a view to supporting the development of the Greater Bay Area and sci-tech innovation in Nansha.
Li Xiaolin, deputy director of the third regional affairs office of the Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy of National Development and Reform Commission P.R.C, said: “backed by Guangzhou, Nansha is rich in sci-tech innovation resources and strongly supported by manufacturing industry. All these important measures are put forward based on Nansha’s industrial foundation and advantages.”
What can we do to take advantage of Hong Kong? Wang Fuqiang believes that Nansha can actively actively align its industries with Hong Kong’s competitive ones, such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city, and financial technology, etc., and build itself into an important support area for Hong Kong’s re-industrialization.
In addition, he thought highly of “building competitive pilot-bases and application promotion bases” proposed in the Nansha Plan. In his view, the International Scientific and Technological Innovation Center built in the Greater Bay Area will solve problems hindering the commercialization and industrialization of scientific and technological achievements, which is in line with the development of Nnasha. Wang Fuqiang also believes that over time, Nansha will become a pilot plant for new industries and a hotbed for the cultivation of new forms of industry in the Greater Bay Area, which will facilitate Nansha to grow as the innovation beacon of the Bay Area and the pioneer of a new-round industrial reform.