S. Korea exploring deeper ties with China’s Greater Bay Area via back-to-back forums

2019.04.05 13:45:03 | 2019.04.05 13:50:08

Korea-Guangdong Development Forum held in Seoul on Apr. 4, 2019. [Photo provided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy]이미지 확대

Korea-Guangdong Development Forum held in Seoul on Apr. 4, 2019. [Photo provided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy]

South Korea is readying to strengthen economic ties with China’s Guangdong Province, an industrial powerhouse that is being groomed as the next Silicon Valley under Beijing’s Industry 4.0 migration campaign.

The Korean government is seeking to explore ways to deepen trade and investment in the Guangdong-Hong-Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area during a forum to be held at Shangri-La Hotel in Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong, on May 21-22.

The event will be hosted by Korea’s Maekyung Media Group and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and sponsored by Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Shenzhen talks would be a follow-up to the Korea-Guangdong Development Forum held in Seoul Thursday. Launched in 2010, the annual event marked the first economic ministerial meeting to take place between Seoul and a local Chinese government.

Korea’s trade representative Yoo Myung-hee, who attended the event, proposed lifting all trade barriers between the Seoul metropolitan area and the Greater Bay Area, saying that opening up services and investment could encourage businesses from both countries to create one of the world’s most innovative markets.

Ma Xingrui, governor of Guangdong, said areas for economic cooperation were endless, ranging from science and technology to education and urban development. He urged Korean corporate giants to help develop China’s Greater Bay Area, adding that the government can lay the groundwork for businesses in the region.

The forum was attended by prominent government officials and business leaders from both countries. Yoo was accompanied by Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo and senior executives of some of Korea’s largest companies including Samsung, LG and Hyundai Motor. Ma and his entourage of around 100 people included business titans BYD Chairman Wang Chanfu, DJI President Luo Zhenhua and TCL Chairman Li Dongsheng.

Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge이미지 확대

Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge

Guangdong is the richest and most populous province in China, boasting the country’s biggest economy and export volume. The southern province, one of the first beneficiaries of China’s opening policy, is now home to some of China’s most valuable tech firms including the country’s biggest electric car maker BYD, the world’s largest consumer drone manufacturer DJI and the social media and gaming giant Tencent.

Guangdong is also Korea`s largest trading partner in China. Its trade volume with Korea last year amounted to $74.9 billion, accounting for 28 percent of the total trade between the two countries. As many as 1,400 Korean companies are currently doing business in the province.

Guangdong-Hong-Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is a megalopolis spanning 56,000 square kilometers and connecting Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in the Guangdong Province including Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Last month, the Chinese government revealed an ambitious roadmap to transform the Greater Bay Area into an innovation cradle that rivals Silicon Valley by 2035.

By Lim Sung-hyun and Kim Hyo-jin

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