Chen Wenling: Strengthening Regional Coordination through High Technology
Co-hosted by the Economic Daily and Guangzhou Daily Group, and organized by the Institute of China Economic Trends Research and the Institute of Data and Digital Research of Guangzhou Daily, the first Forum on Coordinated Innovation and Development in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) was held in Guangzhou yesterday.
Chen Wenling, Fan Hengshan, Bai Jinfu, Yi Heping, Li Bingdi, Zhang Yuge and other experts and scholars delivered keynote speeches on building a world-class Bay Area in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, opportunities and challenges as well as coordinated development. The following is a summary of the speeches.
Building a platform for innovation cooperation and creating a demonstration zone of innovation-driven development
What is the significance of the development of the Greater Bay Area? Chen Wenling, Chief Economist of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) said that the competition in the future will focus on manufacturing, high-tech and innovation. We should take the lead in coordinated innovation and thus, it is of great significance to establish a mechanism for coordinated innovation in the Greater Bay Area.
75% of the world’s urban area, 70% of the industrial investment and 70% of the population are concentrated within 100 kilometers from the coastline. Bay Area is the world’s most resource-intensive and innovative place because it gathers many of the Fortune-500 companies, innovative enterprises and R&D center. Coordinated innovation will help the Greater Bay Area to create a miraculous economy.
In Chen Wenling’s view, coordinated innovation and development will enable the Greater Bay Area to improve its strength as a whole. She believes that the innovation of the Greater Bay Area needs to increase stock resources, optimize incremental resources, promote the supply-side structural reform, and achieve high-quality development.
Chen Wenling pointed out that many foreign groups have come to Guangdong to experience China’s innovation. If the innovation experience of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao can be combined to form a new strength in original innovation, disruptive and cutting-edge technology, it will be able to make a significant contribution to this new round of innovation.
How to create new advantages in the new round of reform and opening up through the coordination among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and make it a good channel of demonstrating China’s image and style?
“We must further liberate our minds, eliminate administrative barriers, form mechanisms for coordinated innovation and build platforms for innovation and cooperation,” said Chen Wenling. In particular, the four central cities should play a leading role, form combined advantages and promote personnel and data flow so as to make the best of the coordinated innovation.
Next, we must pursue innovation-driven development and set the Greater Bay Area as a good example for other cities. Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao should create a system for higher education cooperation and technological innovation, establish platforms and systems to protect intellectual property. The Greater Bay Area should have more supporting policies in place to attract top talents and further promote reform and opening up.
At the same time, the Greater Bay Area should drive the development of the three urban sectors through the core cities. Furthermore, we should make the other three important areas (Nansha, Qianhai and Hengqin) the strategic centers of innovation.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area should become the science center of South China
Xu Heping, a well-recognized expert in innovation, former director of the research department of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and chairman of the National Research Association of Science and Technology Revitalization and Urban Economy, believes that we must build a world science center, and the Greater Bay Area should become the science center of South China.
He said that we should fully understand and explore the resources and advantages of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. Compared with other bay areas and China’s innovation centers, the Greater Bay Area has better resources and advantages for innovation.
First of all, the Greater Bay Area has great supporting strategies and a group of urban agglomerations that have huge potential for innovation.
Secondly, the Greater Bay Area has a huge industrial base accumulated in the past 40 years of reform and opening up, and an industrial system based on innovative and entrepreneurial enterprises, which is not available in other bay areas.
Finally, the Greater Bay Area has unique educational and scientific research resources. He suggested that the Greater Bay Area should aim at “leading development”, and promote scientific research, technological development and industrial innovation so as to form a modern and collaborative system for technology innovation and build a global synergy center and innovation hub.
How can the Greater Bay Area achieve leading development? Wei Heping believes that we must build a global demonstration center of innovation-led development, develop new economies and foster new momentum and models.
Second, we must make the Greater Bay Area a national leading center of innovation and a pioneer for innovation system.
Third, we should build a world-class research and development center. Industrial development requires technical support. At present, China still has some shortcomings in raw materials, basic process and components, however, these areas also have the potential for development.
Fourth, we should establish a global center for industrial innovation. In the era of industrial transformation, traditional industries will be gradually phased out and emerging industries will become the new impetus to support future development.
Fifth, we must attach great importance to the construction of science centers. In the past 40 years, China’s technological innovation has made great progress, especially since the beginning of the new century. In our technological innovation model, technological innovation has always led the development of technology and economy. Now, China’s economic development has entered a new era and innovation has become the driver of economic development. Xu Heping said that China should build a World Science Center, and the Greater Bay Area should become the science center of South China.
Guangzhou must constantly optimize its own functions and strengthen coordination.
To become a world-class urban cluster, the urban cluster of the Greater Bay Area should have global influence and international competitiveness, as well as the features of compact spatial structure, close economic linkage, innovative elements, high-end infrastructure, highly-developed economy and harmonious society. Fan Hengshan, a well-known economist and former deputy secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission said that apart from overall planning, the key to promote the construction of the Greater Bay Area is to deal with some important relationships: such as the relationship among the four central cities, the relationship between the central cities and the general cities, and the relationship between the cities’ integrated linkage and the different systems.
Fan Hengshan believes that Guangzhou can become an international center for business, science and technology, culture, international exchanges and national innovation. It should form new urban characteristics, constantly optimize its functions and strengthen coordination. At the same time, Guangzhou should coordinate with other central cities to jointly build basic research platforms, science and technology corridors, technology centers and industrial parks. They should support each other, enhance cooperation, have differentiated division of labor, and complement each other so as to jointly promote the integrated development of the Greater Bay Area.
In terms of dealing with the relationship between central and general cities, Fan Hengshan pointed out that central and general cities need to establish a division of labor according to their respective strength, complement each other and progress together.
The linkage of the Greater Bay Area is actually an integrated linkage between the cities of the Bay Area. However, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have very different social and legal systems and belong to different customs areas. Fan Hengshan said that it is essential to deal with the relationship between urban linkage and different systems in various cities. In this regard, he made the following three suggestions.
First, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao must strive to establish a unified and binding code of conduct through consultation. The code of conduct will regulate major decision-making process and administrative measures, and clarify specific works in various fields. Second, the commonalities of the various urban regulations in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao should be developed to common rules regulating the three regions. Third, a trial model of joint administration should be implemented in the Greater Bay Area. A group of professionals familiar with their respective rules should become the members of the joint office to deal with the complicated affairs involving the three regions.
How to realize the coordinated linkage between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao when building a financial center? Fan Hengshan said that Guangzhou and Shenzhen should further promote financial innovation according to the development of the Pearl River Delta.
The Greater Bay Area should be one of the most livable areas in China.
Li Bingdi, vice chairman of China Urban-townization Promotion Council, honorary president of China City Development Academy, and former director of the Department of Rural-town Construction at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said that from the perspective of the development trend and historical path of the world’s urbanization, the bay area usually goes through four stages of development: start-up, progress, expansion and promotion.
He raised several issues that need to be addressed during the development of the urban cluster of the Greater Bay Area. The first issue is to focus on promoting the construction of innovation corridors, making full use of the existing resources in the bay area, and strengthening the role of scientific innovation and industrial parks. At the same time, the Greater Bay Area should focus on building a world-class urban cluster, and transfer industries and enterprises that can not adapt themselves to urban functions to surrounding cities and towns, so that the innovation activities can be concentrated in central cities, while incubation and upgrading are located in sub-cities, and manufacturing are located in small towns.
Li Bingdi said that it is necessary to promote urban development and improve urban village with innovation. It is unrealistic to promote the development of the Greater Bay Area by solely relying on the traditional model of land growth. We must explore urban land stocks and improve our development model.
He pointed out that the urban village reconstruction problems facing all cities in the Greater Bay Area. Therefore, the local government should find a new path to create prosperity and win-win outcome in both cities and towns according to the actual local conditions. Furthermore, the local authorities should come up with innovative solutions to transfer agricultural population, help farmers to adapt themselves to city life and explore the establishment of a unified market for urban-rural construction land.
Li Bingdi suggested that the greater bay area should create a center suitable for living and working. With its unique geographical environment and cultural heritage, the Greater Bay Area will become one of the most livable areas in China while building a world-class innovation center, which will attract high-end talents and innovative companies.
First of all, we must vigorously develop the sea-rail combined transport and water-rail combined transport to solve the interference caused by transportation to the city. For the high-speed rail, it is necessary to strengthen the north-south route originating from Hong Kong and promote extensive contacts between Guangdong and Hong Kong. In terms of aviation, we should use a unified mechanism to solve the problem of insufficient airspace in the five major airports of Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai.
Second, it is necessary to comprehensively promote information network and socialized services, making the Greater Bay Area the most advantageous place for modern communication companies.
Third, we must create a new platform to guarantee public services, support investors from Hong Kong and Macao to establish various types of old-age care centers in the Greater Bay Area, and encourage joint construction of old-age service facilities.
Fourth, we must strengthen the construction of ecological civilization, jointly create an accounting system for natural resource assets in the Greater Bay Area, make plans for ecological restoration projects, and promote green development. Especially, we should strictly control the development and construction along the Pearl River, effectively regulate land reclamation and protect water and wetlands.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau greater bay area should explore the establishment of a digital free trade zone.
“The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area belongs to one country but has two systems, three customs zones and involves four major cities. We should explore the establishment of a digital free trade zone and give the advantages of different tariff systems into full play,” said Bai Jinfu, President of the Research Institute of China Economy, and former inspector and deputy director of the Economic Affairs Bureau of the Central Policy Research Office. In his keynote speech on “Building a Digital Greater Bay Area,” he offered unique insights on improving regional integration.
Bai Jinfu believes that technology and digitalization will change everything including reshape regional development pattern, optimize industrial technology, promote rational allocation of resources, economic coordination and regional coordinated development. He said that digitalization is bound to enhance regional integration because it can promote regional economic integration and development at a higher and deeper level, break physical space constraints, bridge development gaps, and promote regional cooperation.
“We must accelerate industrial digitalization,” suggested Bai Jinfu. We should conduct a comprehensive digital transformation on the existing industries in the Greater Bay Area, promote system restructuring and process re-engineering to form digital industry chain featured with remote design, collaborative manufacturing and joint services.
On the other hand, it is necessary to promote digital industrialization and realize smart production, customization, inter-enterprise network coordination and product service extension. We should cultivate new industrial advantages and structure through digitalization.
How to build a digital Greater Bay Area? Bai Jinfu said that we should define the Greater Bay Area with digitalization, understand the construction of the Greater Bay Area with digital thinking and logic, deepen the integration of online and offline resources, break the supply-demand bottlenecks, focus on industrial digitalization and digital industrialization to accelerate the formation of digital advantages.
Bai Jinfu suggested that we should promote the construction of the industrial internet platform in the Greater Bay Area, push forward data-based cross-regional, and distributed production and operation, as well as improving the efficiency of resource allocation in the entire industry chain.
He proposed to build a community of collaborative innovation in the Greater Bay Area, promote rational allocation of regional resources for innovation, innovate the gradient linkage of innovation chain, promote coordination of innovation systems so as to form an ecosystem with regional characteristics for innovation. Furthermore, we should strengthen international cooperation in innovation capabilities, and promote remote R&D and offshore incubation.
Bai Jinfu also said that the Greater Bay Area should explore the construction of a digital free trade zone. By applying an electronic service platform, we can digitalize trade convenience, achieve online-offline integration and seamless integration of the entire process, and build a data-driven, platform-supported, highly efficient and coordinated economic ecosystem, which will help to better utilize the advantages of different tariff systems in the Greater Bay Area.
The key to build the Greater Bay Area is to improve factor’s mobility.
Zhang Yuge, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Economic and Social Research Center of the Comprehensive Development Research Institute, and the director of Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, made suggestions on how to build the Greater Bay Area with convenient factor’s mobility. He said that although shopping, family visits and business trips remain to be the main purposes of cross-border trips, the demand for education and employment is gradually increasing. The living radius of the residents of the Greater Bay Area is expanding and the cross-border exchanges are getting increasingly diversified and personalized. In the future, cross-border employment and entrepreneurship, medical treatment, business and leisure will gradually become normalized. He believes that under the framework of the Greater Bay Area, the 11 cities have become the “commuting metropolitan areas”, and the commuters of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao are mainly ordinary citizens not one-time passengers.
Free flow of factors will guarantee optimal allocation of resources and make the best use of resources and thus, the level of factor mobility will determine the outcome of the Greater Bay Area. Zhang Yuge believes that promoting a free flow of funds, personnel, technology, information and other elements is the key to build a successful Greater Bay Area.
First, we must explore the cross-border flow management for personnel and goods in the era of big data.
As technologies such as the Internet of Things and face recognition are widely applied for port customs clearance and the construction of smart cities, it is essential and urgent for the local authorities to share data internally and externally, otherwise they will have difficulties in adapting themselves to the trend of the big data era.
Second, to establish a list for cross-border goods used for business and daily life goods in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
Third, to further facilitate customs clearance: strengthening electronic and smart customs clearance; improving the facility to ensure rapid customs clearance; designing scientific and reasonable spatial planning and route for customs clearance; and optimize the overall environment of customs clearance.
Fourth, we must set up a green channel for “small logistics”.
Fifth, we must explore new modes of managing cross-border e-commerce customs clearance. In response to the development of cross-border e-commerce, we should optimize customs management, strengthen the application of electronic technologies such as the Internet of Things to fully meet the needs of cross-border e-commerce development.
Sixth, we must take the lead in promoting the construction of large customs clearance and electronic ports to enhance the competitiveness of customs clearance.
We should promote the construction of large customs clearance and build a “single window” for international trade; promote the optimal allocation of port resources, integrate first-line inspection resources, and divert second-line auxiliary resources; improve the information supporting system and establish unified internal standards within government departments, and connect the database effectively between the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao and lastly, we should promote the construction of electronic ports.