What are the complementary roles Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Hong Kong and Macao will play in the Greater Bay Area as proposed by the State Council of China?
It still early to discuss the details as the plan has not be fully released yet, but we can look at the last 10 years of evolution and guess important pieces of the coming design.
The main idea is to take what each city does best and push it more :Hong Kong has finance, Shenzhen tech, Dongguan hi-end manufacturing, Macau entertainment, Zhuhai leisure, Zhongshan home appliances, Zhaoqing medecine and Foshan furnitures. Any of these cities has also relatively sophisticated electronics manufacturing hubs, which will be used to upgrade the traditional products over time.
Guangzhou is often forgotten in the discussions, but i think it will remain of first importance in this project. It is the political and military center of the region, and the real cultural powerhouse there. Still hosting some of the most powerful merchants of China and the world.
There is also some interesting places that are relatively under the radar. Nobody seems to have heard about Huizhou even though it is one of the leading place for investment in clean energy. This quite ancient city has also its own PLA detachment and three universities of its own. It will become the access point for coastal areas of Guangdong from Shanwei to Chaozhou that have undertaken crazy development as well.
The key here will be the building of infrastructures to link all these urban regions together into a single market inside the delta and into a giant export logistics hub turned towards OBOR countries.
I am very curious about how the education sector will grow and the way people will be trained in the region. So far there is a lack of universities, and it will only get worst as babies from people that have relocated continue to grow up. Rules to open schools have also become more prohibitive in the whole country. Education is one very risky political sector today in China. Universities from all over China and the world has been opening dozens of campuses in the delta but most seem 100% focus on short-term profit. These does not really appear as proper places to grow and nurture a new local and transformative youth culture.
Besides the infrastructure, the ability to invent a new urban canto culture in the delta and train the next generations properly will be a key factor of success of the whole project. More than the plan, I am really looking forward to see what the next young generations of Chinese will make of these places.
This text was originally published in quora.