Zhaoqing Municipal Government has maintained close contact with HKGCC since the Chamber’s previous mission to the city in May 2017, with two meetings taking place so far this year. Then on 11 July, China Committee Chairman Petrina Tam led a delegation on a return visit to the city, at the invitation of Fan Zhongjie, Zhaoqing Municipal Government Mayor. The aim of this mission was to learn more about the latest developments in the local healthcare, leisure, and environmental protection industries in this Greater Bay Area (GBA) city.
The 30-member delegation, including General Committee member PC Yu, travelled via the recently opened high-speed rail line, and during the two-day trip they had the opportunity to visit locations including Zhaoqing New District, Dinghu District and Guangning County. Zhaoqing Vice Mayors Tang Xiaobing and Chen Xuanqun as well as Deputy Secretary-General Zhou Guoping also accompanied the delegates during the visit.
Culture, health and environment
Guangning County is a relatively green and rural area, and aims to become a health and wellness tourism base within the GBA. With Suijiang waterway at its centre, the county has launched a unique cultural tourism project that integrates sightseeing with agricultural experiences, and offers facilities such as piers, tourist centres, cruises and resort hotels.
Yu, who also acted as honourary consultant for the mission, remarked on Guangning’s natural beauty, adding that the project would be more appealing to tourists if additional sports and leisure facilities could be included.
Guangning is a renowned home for bamboo, with annual bamboo production of close to 1 million tonnes. Guangning County Mayor Yao Lingyan explained that the county government has been actively promoting the upgrading and restructuring of the renewable resources industry. To expand the industry chain, a 3,000-acre bamboo industrial park is currently being planned. Meanwhile, environmental factors are also taken
into account to ensure that bamboo resources are best utilised without causing pollution. These measures are part of the efforts to develop a green and low-carbon recycling economy within the GBA.
After visiting the scenic bamboo forests in Guangning, the delegation called on Warezone Bamboo and Wooden Crafts Products Co Ltd., a Guangdong-based bamboo-processing company. It provides one-stop services, from product development, design and production to sales, with products including handicrafts, furniture and daily necessities.
Tourism and urban development
Dinghu Mountain Scenic Area is one of the two most prominent tourist hotspots of Zhaoqing (the other being the Seven Star Crags). As the first national natural reserve in China, Dinghu is well known as a “living nature museum” and is one of the Man and the Biosphere Reserves under UNESCO.
The Dinghu Entrepreneurship and Innovation Park aims to promote urban expansion and upgrading as well as coordinating urban planning and restructuring. As an open, multi-functional business ecosystem, it facilitates the development of headquarters, high-tech industries and incubators.
One of the businesses located in the park is Micromulticopter Aero Technology (Guangdong) Co Ltd, a high-tech enterprise specializing in industrial-grade multirotor drone systems. In 2018, the company was named one of the Future Stars at the 18th Annual Conference on Future Stars of Chinese Enterprises jointly organised by the magazine China Entrepreneur and the 18th Think Tank Summit of Chinese Entrepreneurs and was noted as a company with strong growth potential in the next three years.
In March, the park repositioned its industrial focus to encourage biomedical research and development.
Zhaoqing Hong Kong City
During the mission, the delegation also visited Zhaoqing Hong Kong City. Covering an area of 8 square kilometres, this project is located in the under-construction Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Zhaoqing) Special Cooperation Pilot Zone. When this “city” is completed, people travelling from Hong Kong will be able to walk there from Zhaoqing East high-speed rail station.
The project features innovation and entrepreneurship bases including an innovative industrial park for Hong Kong businesses. There will also be a “Hong Kong Community,” which will include Hong Kong-style facilities including hospitals, schools, health centres, hotels and shopping malls. The intention is to create an appealing community for Hong Kong residents to live – from young people who want to start their own business to the elderly who will have more space to enjoy their retirement years.
“We are very interested in this development, and we hope to learn more about the project and explore opportunities for cooperation through this mission,” said Tam during the visit.
Mayor Fan added that the construction of the Hong Kong-style zone and the launch of the high-speed rail service in July meant that Zhaoqing would no longer be so far away from Hong Kong – both in terms of travel time, and lifestyle and facilities. Therefore, he hopes that Hong Kong businesses will consider investing in Zhaoqing and recommend Zhaoqing to other companies.
Vice Mayor Tang added: “Zhaoqing accounts for almost one-third of the area of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), but its land development intensity is only 6.5% and the land price is also cheaper than that of Shenzhen and Guangdong, which I believe is a big advantage in attracting investment.”
The Chamber delegates expressed their interest in exploring the business opportunities in Zhaoqing after seeing the potential to introduce a Hong Kong-style healthcare system, technology and corporate culture into the GBA.
During the trip, delegates enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas with various local businesses. Tam remarked that she and her fellow delegates were impressed by the pace of development of Zhaoqing and regarded it as a city on the rise within the GBA.
“With its convenient sea, land and air transport, Cantonese-speaking locals and similar culinary culture with Hong Kong, coupled with its rich resources, and most importantly the strong support from the municipal government, these advantages are enough for Zhaoqing to attract Hong Kong investors to establish a second business base there,” said Tam.