China Looks to the Bay Area on Deepening Regionalism

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The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area of China is looking to the Bay Area for insights on how to deepen regional cooperation in the service of expanding economic opportunity. At the invitation of Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman recently traveled to Hong Kong to participate in an international forum where he shared his thinking with top government, business and academic leaders on the “secret sauce” of regionalism that has propelled the San Francisco-Silicon Valley region to become the world’s 19th largest economy and a dominant global innovation leader. The forum came in the wake of the release by the Chinese government in February of an ambitious master plan for better integrating the massive and sprawling Pearl Delta Region. The master plan is an important aspect of a series of initiatives by Chinese President Xi Jinping to expand economic development throughout the country.

Wunderman participated in a panel discussion on the advantages of regional collaboration that included Joan McEntee, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Zhang Weiwei, Director of the Centre for China Development Model Research at Fudan University in Shanghai, and Mitsuchika Tarao, Vice Governor of Tokyo (who discussed his region’s plans for the upcoming 2020 Olympic Summer games), among others. Other top leaders who participated in the forum included Ma Xingrui, Governor of Guangdong Province, and Xie Feng, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), who along with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam served as co-host of the conference.

Similar to the partnerships the Bay Area Council has developed over the past 10 years in the Yangtze River Delta surrounding Shanghai, we are excited about the potential benefits to the Bay Area of engaging with the Guandong- Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, representing a population of 70 million people and a gross domestic product of $1.8 trillion.  The Bay Area Council team will be meeting with Guangdong officials next week during our China delegation visit to continue discussions around formalizing our economic cooperation.

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