[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]
China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA) Initiative, along with the global Belt and Road Initiative, is an ambitious project undertaken by Beijing to assert itself as a global superpower, said Gary Liu, chief executive of South China Morning Post.
“With a collaborative effort between these 11 cities (under the GBA initiative), we can expect enhanced cross-border movements of capital, people, goods, services, and technology, leading to significantly elevated regional industries,” Liu said Thursday at the Maekyung Hong Kong Forum hosted by South Korea’s Maekyung Media Group in the Asian financial hub of Hong Kong.
The GBA project aims to link Hong Kong, Macau with nine other cities in the southern province of Guangdong, an area with a total population of 70 million people and a combined gross domestic product of over $1.5 trillion, which accounts for roughly 12 percent of China’s national economy.
“GBA has a distinctive cluster advantage for industrial development and economic growth,” Liu said, pointing to the highly efficient manufacturing capacity of Guangdong, the high-tech expertise of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and the world-class banking and services centers of Hong Kong and Macao.
He stressed the role of Hong Kong as the global financial, commercial and trade hub for GBA’s new economy, saying that Hong Kong surpassed New York to become the world’s top destination for initial public offerings in 2018, a title it has retained for three of the past five years.
Liu projected the trade war between the U.S. and China would “not have an easy ending.”
He pointed out the irony of how in 2019, a year marking the 40th anniversary of China’s economic opening up, the two countries are locked in a battle disrupting the global trade order of economic liberalization.
He said the growing trade frictions were hurting not only China but the U.S. as well, and cited a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China in which three-quarters of U.S. companies operating in China said the intensifying trade war was hurting their business. Chinese foreign direct investment in the U.S. has also ground to a halt, falling by about 90 percent in the last two years, he added.
The assessment of many policy experts and academics, according to Liu, is that the current trade dispute is likely just “the first of a generation of escalated tensions and conflicts between the world’s two biggest economies.” He asserted that even in this new climate, China would continue its “expansion and confident growth as a global superpower,” with the GBA and Belt and Road projects at the front and center of its international strategy.
By Park Man-won and Kim Hyo-jin
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