The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area

–Your business opportunity!

The Greater Bay Area (GBA) aims to bring together the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao with nine cities In Guangdong: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing. Together, they will form a world-class city cluster that will play a leading role in global innovation, finance and trade.

By combining the strengths of each city to facilitate trade and growth, the Greater Bay Area has the potential to be an economic powerhouse that will be comparable or even surpass leading bay areas across the globe, such as the Greater Tokyo Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, and New York Metropolitan Area. As a major international financial centre, Hong Kong has an important role to play as the connector linking the Greater Bay Area cities to world markets.

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The Greater Bay Area

  • The GBA accounts for less than 1% of the country’s land area and the population of the region is less than 5% of the country’s total population, but It accounts for 12% of the national GDP in 2016.

 

  • In the 11 cities in the GBA, the economic scale is divided into three levels. The first-tier GDP of Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen is more than or close to US$300 billion. The second level includes Foshan and Dongguan, each with a GDP of US$100 billion to 130 billion. The remaining six cities at the third level have their respective GDPs between US$31 billion and US$52 billion.

 

  • From the perspective of industrial structure, the situation in Hong Kong and Macao is quite special, and the proportion of service industry is over 90%. Among the nine cities in the Pearl River Delta, Guangzhou has the highest proportion of service industry, up to 69.4%, followed by Shenzhen (60.1%), Dongguan (53.2%) and Zhuhai (49.5%).
  • As an economic whole, the GBA has concentrated on the major airport groups and port groups in the Greater Pearl River Delta region. There are 5 international airports in Hong Kong International Airport, Macau International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Baoan International Airport and Zhuhai Jinwan International Airport, and two regional airports in Huizhou and Foshan.

 

  • The main ports in the GBA include hub ports such as Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, as well as local ports such as Zhuhai, Humen and Huizhou.

 

  • In the next five years, the construction of transportation infrastructure in the GBA will be more perfect. With the completion of key projects such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-speed Railway and the Shenzhen-Shenzhen Passage, the traffic interconnection between the urban agglomerations in the GBA will be further strengthened, and the major transportation hubs in the Greater Pearl River Delta region will be promoted to achieve the intercity one-hour traffic circle and the three-hour living circle.

11 Cities in the Greater Bay Area

East Coast: Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou City Group

West Coast: Macau-Zhuhai-Zhongshan-Jiangmen City Group

North: Guangzhou-Foshan-Zhaoqing City Group

Preferential Policies for Foreign Investment 

1. Major provincial policies 

1. Major provincial policies 

Policies for land use

Projects of industries listed in the Directory for Encouraged Projects of Foreign Investment are prioritized for the planned quota of land use.

Green Channels (fast track) are accessible for the land use review and approval of FDI projects with specially designated staffing plan, schedules and locations for parallel review to shorten the time for such formalities.

For industrial FDI projects falling into the scope of the Directory for Industries with Development Priority of Guangdong Province with an intensive utilization of land, the minimum land transfer fee can be charged at 70% of that of the same land category and grade as indicated in the National Standards for Minimum Land Transfer Fee for Industrial Use.

Policies for science and technology development

Special funds for Top 500 Modern Industry Projects and science and technology development are applicable to the projects involved in the industries listed in the Directory for Encouraged Projects of Foreign Investment.

Foreign-invested enterprises that meet certain criteria are encouraged to apply for the qualification of high-tech enterprise to grant further support to their growth.

Support is given to the multi-national companies and overseas R&D organizations to set up their R&D headquarters or branches in Guangdong. The local universities, scientific and technological research institutes and companies are encouraged to establish joint R&D centers or key laboratories with foreign-invested companies, which will be included in strategy of developing province-level engineering and technology R&D centers, key laboratories and public laboratories.

Policies for finance and taxation

Foreign-invested enterprises are encouraged to reside in the provincial-level industrial transfer parks. Priorities are granted to such enterprises over their peers with same qualification in terms of the arrangement of special fund for tapping potentials and leading innovation.

Greater support will be granted to the multi-national companies to establish regional headquarters in Guangdong. Approval procedures, supportive services and management of such headquarters will be further improved.

The high-tech enterprises that are prioritized for support according to the national policies enjoy a corporate income tax reduction as high as 15%.

For foreign-invested enterprises specializing in service outsourcing that comply with the national regulations and are categorized as Class B or higher according to the customs administration, bonded area supervision policy is applied to the goods imported by such enterprises providing international advanced technological service outsourcing.

The encouraged projects under the Directory on Foreign Investment Industries can enjoy tax exemption on imported equipment and earn the import tax credit after collection.

Any foreign-invested R&D centers that comply with applicable regulations and passes qualification review can enjoy the tax/duty waived or rebated for any purchased equipment.

The four types of foreign-invested enterprises (encouraged types, export-oriented type, advanced technology type and R&D center), when importing any equipment, technology and spare parts for own use using four types of capital (reserve funds, development funds, depreciation fee and after-tax profit), are exempted from customs duty.

Policies for human resources

Foreign-invested enterprises are encouraged to attract high-level overseas professionals. Those who meet certain criteria are supported with preferential treatment regarding housing, healthcare, schooling for their children, etc.

The overseas high-level executive officers working in the foreign-invested enterprises can enjoy the treatment stated in the Interim Provisions on Special Material Benefits for Attracting Leading Talents of Guangdong.

Overseas high-level management personnel and professionals of foreign-invested enterprises that satisfy the Directory for Encouraged Projects of Foreign Investment, or overseas technical experts and high-level professionals employed by the joint R&D centers or key laboratories enjoy the priorities in application for visa letter, work permit in China and Foreign Expert Certificate. Assistant is also granted to them for the extension application for their stay in China

2. Innovative policies implemented in the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone 

Investment facilitation

The pre-establishment national treatment plus negative list management model on the foreign investment is implemented. Filing is required on the foreign investment projects not included in the negative lists and self-service for filing document retrieval is implemented.

“One-window Acceptance” service is provided for parallel formality processing to handle procedures including approval (filing) of foreign investment projects, approval (filing) of foreign-invested enterprise establishment and change, registration of business entities, organization code certificate, taxation registration certificate (state taxation and local taxation), social security registration number, official seal engraving and filing. “One Offline Window Plus One Online Portal” model is adopted. “All-in-one License” and “One Code and One License” system to merge industrial and commercial business license, organization code certificate, tax registration certificate and other certificates is gradually put in place to combine the business license, organization code certificate and taxation registration certificate and to realize the parallel processing of procedures regarding “thirteen certificates and three seals”.

The oversight mechanism is exercised over delegated matters when they are being handled and after they have been handled with a focus on using the credit information of market entities. A uniform enterprise credit information sharing system is adopted to innovate the mechanisms for joint discipline on those who lose credibility and for coordinated oversight.

Trade facilitation

An entry and exit regulatory service model of “open at the first line and safe and efficient control at the second line” is implemented in Guangzhou Nansha Bonded Port, Shenzhen Qianhai Bay Bonded Port and other special customs supervision areas of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone. Zhuhai Hengqin New District, in accordance with the principle of the State Council, implements the separate management of the “restriction relaxation at the first line, control at the second line, separation of people and goods, and classified management”.

With an import warehouse warrant, imported goods can have prioritized entry into Guangzhou Nansha Bonded Port, Shenzhen Qianhai Bay Bonded Port and Zhuhai Hengqin New District (hereinafter referred to as the “fenced area”) by undergoing the declaration procedures. Exported goods can be declared before entering the port. Warehoused and transported goods within the fenced area are exempt from inspection and quarantine.

“Internet + Easy Clearance” model consists of innovative services such as self-declaration, commodity classification and price review in advance, interactive check and inspection and tax payment through self-service to meet the needs of enterprises undergoing the customs procedures with the assistance of Internet at any time they wish.

The “Intelligent Public Service Platform of GDCIQ” provides a platform for supervision and service provision via using IT technology. With “zero paper, zero distance, zero barrier, zero threshold, zero fee and zero time limit”, the platform has been widely applied to the businesses including cross-border e-commerce, export of market purchase and parallel car import.

“Intelligent Maritime Affairs Platform” integrates various types of maritime information including that of vessels, crew, ship inspection, security inspection and ship companies to support policies such as pre-declaration upon entry and exit of ships. The process of “customs clearance before inspection and zero waiting time for ships” is implemented to enable the container liners and cruisers to unload upon berthing.

“One-stop Widow 2.0” for international trade interconnects 21 administrative departments (e.g. the customs, inspection and quarantine, immigration control, maritime affairs, business affairs and port affairs) to provide 18 types of services (covering commodity declaration, declaration of means of transportation, cross-border e-commerce and logistics status), which realizes the mutual sharing of information, the mutual recognition by management and governance and the mutual assistance for law enforcement, and supports the enterprises with its IT-based one-stop clearance service.

The first global quality tracing system for imported and exported goods in China is launched to conduct the close-loop monitoring on the entire chain to “track the source and check the whereabouts” before, during and after certain handling processes. This system has already covers various categories of commodities (e.g. food, consumer goods, cars) dealt through the trading methods of general trade, cross-border e-commerce and export of market purchase and involves the commodities

Customs clearance within 24h through self-service for international customs clearance has been put in place. The “24h Clearance” policy is also effective at the Hengqin port.

Financial innovation

The cooperation, innovation and development in the cross-border RMB business of the Guangdong PFTZ will be promoted to make RMB as the main currency used in the PFTZ as well as for the valuation, transaction and settlement of trade and investment of large volume. The Guangdong PFTZ takes the lead to trial the “Four Cross-border RMB Businesses”, namely cross-border RMB loans, two-way cross-border RMB bonds, two-way cross-border RMB cash pool and two-way cross-border RMB equity investment, which opens the two-way financing channels linking China’s mainland with overseas markets (mainly Hong Kong and Macau).

In the GDPFTZ, a financial service system is established compatible with the liberalization of service trade among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau including business, science, technology, tourism, logistics, and information.

Cross-border investment and financing innovation is conducted through opening the free trade accounts and other risk controllable approaches. The formalities for foreign exchange receipt and payment of the current account has been significantly streamlined. The pilot scheme on macro prudential management of cross-border financing in full aperture is launched to realize the integrated management of cross-border financing in both RMB and foreign exchange.

The financial market is further opened to accelerate the settlement of financial organizations from Hong Kong and Macau in the Guangdong PFTZ within the CEPA framework, lower the access threshold and relax the restriction on the shareholding ratio by the Hong Kong and Macau organizations in a financial enterprise under joint investment.

The Guangdong PFTZ is also a pioneer in realizing Guangdong-Hong Kong Joint Clearing of Electronic Checks. The payment of public services in the piloting areas of the PFTZ can be settled through the banks from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. The first cross-border public transportation IC card project is implemented in the Hengqin area.

Innovation of legal service system

Piloting Measures for Management of China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Regulations on China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone are promulgated by the government. Honest and integrity index of the Guangdong PFTZ is measured and publicized.

The Guangdong PFTZ is also the first in China to establish the court and procuratorate within the free trade zone with a jurisdiction area covering several administrative divisions and adopts case-filing registration and separation of trials and enforcement.

International conciliation and arbitration is promoted. The Guangdong PFTZ has established the China FTZ Arbitration Alliance, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Commercial Conciliation Alliance as well as special arbitration and conciliation centers specialized in international shipping, maritime logistics, international finance, etc.

A complete system to assist the resolution of disputes over intellectual property right and IPR protection is in effect. The Circuit for Intellectual Property Rights, the International Intellectual Property Exchange Center, the Service Center for IPR Protection, the Center for Proof of International Law and the Digital Forensics Lab of CAS are already in operation.

Innovation of human resources management

The Guangdong PFTZ gives special preferential policies to the high-level professionals from Hong Kong, Macao and overseas countries and regions in terms of immigration to and residence in China, project application, innovation and entrepreneurship, evaluation-based incentives, supportive services, etc. Special regimes will be introduced to realize the mutual recognition of the qualifications of the people working in the service industry in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. Policies such as Opinions on Promoting Talent Development in China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Measures for Verifying Foreign High-level Talent in China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone are promulgated.

Various platforms for innovation and entrepreneurship are contributing to nurturing talents, such as the Fok Ying Tung Research Institute, the Qianhai Silicon Vally + Incubator Acceleration Platform, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Youth Entrepreneurship Innovation Hub, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Dream Park and the Hengqin-Macau Youth Enterprise Valley.

Taxation administration

In principle, the tax policy piloted in China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone could be applied in the Guangdong PFTZ.

Shenzhen Qianhai area provides 15% reduction on the corporate income tax for the enterprises engaged in the encouraged industries. Meanwhile, for overseas high-level talents and overseas professionals in short supply, financial subsidies are provided to cover the excessive part of the individual income tax over 15% of the taxable income from wages and salaries.

Zhuhai Hengqin area provides 15% reduction on the corporate income tax for the enterprises engaged in the encouraged industries. For Hong Kong and Macau citizens who work in Hengqin area, financial subsidies are provided to cover the individual income tax gap between Hengqin and Hong Kong or Macau.

Tax refund policy for foreign tourists is implemented.

Hong Kong’s Role and Opportunity

  • Being the most open and international city in the Bay Area, HK is known for being international financial, transportation and trade centres with renowned professional services. Enjoying the dual advantages of “one country, two systems”, HK plays an important role in the Bay Area Development.

 

  • The HKSAR’s work in taking forward the development of the Bay Area include: developing an international technology and innovation centre; facilitating the development of industries; and through policy innovation and breakthroughs as well as facilitation measures for HK residents studying, working and living in the Bay Area.

 

  • With innovation as well as breakthroughs in policies and institutions, the overall connectivity between Hong Kong and other Bay Area cities will be vastly enhanced, fully leveraging the synergy and opportunities brought about by the development of the Bay Area.

 

  • The HKSAR Government will work closely with central authorities, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, under the principles of innovation, coordinated development, sustainable development, mutual benefits and livelihood improvement, to bring invaluable new development opportunities to different sectors of the community, especially young people.