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Is the Greater Bay Area Plan Going To Create a China’s Silicon Valley

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In the world economy, innovation breeds healthy competition. Despite each country’s contribution to humanity as a whole, there is often the desire to ‘one-up’ another nation’s inventions or advancements in technology.

The United States is home to one place where technological advancement has become commonplace. That location is known as Silicon Valley, located in what is known as California’s Bay Area, home to metropolitan areas such as San Jose, Menlo Park, and Mountain View. Innovation is everyday life to the residents of the area, who have seen the creation of such inventions as radar, the X-ray microscope, video games, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and even Spacecraft heat shields.

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Silicon Valley has contributed a great deal of inventions that have helped humanity in many ways. The speed of discovery and level of tech advancement of said contributions have caught the gaze of the Chinese government, who seeks to build their own version of Silicon Valley with something called the Greater Bay Area Plan.

The Greater Bay Area Plan

The Chinese government recently released a blueprint showing plans to develop a cluster of 11 cities into what will be known as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. It is an ambitious plan and one that will take a projected 15 years to complete if things go according to plan.

The hope is that it will help further plans such as the Belt and Road initiative and strength high-tech manufacturing and services.

The Key Project to Greater Bay Area Plan

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area is supported by three very important infrastructure projects.

First is the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, now the world’s longest sea bridge at a staggering 34.18 miles long. The bridge was built for the purpose of convenience, cutting travel time by half. It now allows travel to each of the ports in as little as 45 minutes.

Second, we have what is known as the Express Rail Link, which along with the longest sea bridge, was completed and opened in 2018. It is a high-speed rail system that connects Beijing and Hong Kong through the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Thirdly, a project known as the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Corridor has a tentative completion date set for 2024. The Corridor is planned as an eight-lane highway that reduces the travel between Shenzhen and Zhongshan/Jiangmen by about half an hour.

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According to Valeria Manunza, International Business Advisory Assistant Manager at Dezan Shira and Associates Guangzhou office, “this alignment of infrastructure development is the key to an integrated, efficient, modernized, and rapidly evolving Greater Bay Area.”

How the Greater Bay Area Will Aid China’s Economic Development

After full integration, the GBA is expected to do two things: give a boost to the country abilities to take things international and adding capabilities that did not exist before.

Proponents of the initiative plan to develop the region into a global hub of advanced manufacturing similar to Silicon Valley that focuses on innovation, financial services, transport and logistics, trade, and tourism and leisure.

The Strengths of the Greater Bay Area

Different cities cited in the Greater Bay Area plan are already strong in many places. Hong Kong is a center for world finances, Shenzhen has earned the title China’s “Silicon Valley” thanks to the innovation that makes it thrive; Macau and Zhuhai, of course, are known for the tourism and leisure they offer to travelers from out of the area.

Other Projects in the Works

China and Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region in Asia, agreed in 2017 to build the Lok Mau Chau Loop Technology Park. The technology park will be situated in Hong Kong on the border between it and Shenzhen, combing the innovation of Shenzhen with the strong legal system and business environment of the city-state.

According to Manunza, “The region is already China’s most international region, with Guangdong province representing 26 percent of China’s trade and 28 percent of China’s exports.” She went on to explain that “A business that is already established in the Pearl River Delta region will be offered the opportunity to expand its range and use the region as a springboard to shift towards a more international approach.

What do you think of the Chinese government’s plans to rival the innovation and technology that has come from California’s Silicon Valley? Do you think the healthy competition will arise from the development of the Greater Bay Area?

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