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The Promise of China’s Pearl River Delta

Author(s): Andrew Sheng, Geng Xiao

Date: May 31, 2017

Theme(s): China

Publications: Opinions & Speeches

Distinguished Fellow Andrew Sheng and HKU Professor Geng Xiao highlights the need for China to further develop the Pearl River Delta region

July 1, 2017, will mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, after more than a century of British colonial rule. It comes at a moment when China’s leaders are increasingly promoting Hong Kong’s unique role in advancing the country’s economic development.

Two months ago, Premier Li Keqiang described China’s intention to deepen economic cooperation across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area – which Hong Kong analysts have called the Pearl River Delta (PRD) – in order to reinforce its role as a major driver of sustainable development. The region includes Guangdong’s nine key cities – including Guangzhou, Foshan, and Shenzhen – plus Hong Kong and Macau. Last year, the PRD’s population stood at 68 million, and its GDP was $1.3 trillion.

The PRD is the southern pillar of the three Chinese coastal growth clusters. In the middle is the Yangzi River Delta (YRD), which includes Shanghai, has a population of 130 million and GDP of $2 trillion. To the north is the Beijing/Tianjin/Bohai (BTB) corridor, covering ten key cities; it has a population of 100 million and GDP of $1.3 trillion. Taken together, these three clusters account for 21% of China’s population and just under 40 per cent of its GDP.

 

This article first appeared in Project Syndicate on May 26, 2017. The views expressed in the reports featured are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Asia Global Institute’s editorial policy.