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Nansha set to play key role in GBA prosperity

Updated: 2024-01-10 By OUYANG SHIJIA China Daily

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A panoramic view of Nansha Jiaomen River in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province. CHINA DAILY

China is betting on a slew of incentives to help build Nansha district in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, into a strategic hub for technological innovation and advanced industries, making it an attractive destination for international talent and investments, analysts said.

The National Development and Reform Commission, together with the Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration for Market Regulation, on Tuesday unveiled a 15-point document detailing measures for giving better play to Nansha's leading role in bolstering the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Nansha, home to a port and spread across more than 800 square kilometers, has been earmarked as a key development zone under the Greater Bay Area, which aims to turn Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and six other Guangdong cities into a major economic powerhouse fueled by innovation with improved international competitiveness and influence by 2035.

Nansha will implement a 144-hour visa-free transit policy for foreigners and a visa-free policy for cruise travel, as part of the country's ongoing efforts to expand high-standard opening-up and promote the high-quality development of the GBA, according to the document, titled "The guideline for supporting the relaxation of market access and strengthening institutional reform for regulation in Guangzhou's Nansha".

Nansha will be encouraged to participate in the formulation and implementation of technical standards for unmanned systems involving sea, land and air; establish an industrial incubation base of unmanned systems for GBA; accelerate the construction of a high-end marine equipment manufacturing base; build an internationally leading comprehensive service system for cross-border investment and financing for enterprises, and promote green, low-carbon and high-quality development.

Charlie Zheng, chief economist at Samoyed Cloud Technology Group Holdings Ltd, said the document aims to optimize resource allocation and the market environment, hoping to overcome obstacles hindering the development of Nansha and the GBA.

"From an industrial perspective, the key focus on high-end service industries, unmanned smart transportation and advanced marine equipment manufacturing, as well as the promotion of a low-carbon economy, will significantly enhance Nansha's attractiveness to surrounding enterprises and domestic and foreign investments," he said.

According to the document, plans have been made to introduce more professional services talent from Hong Kong and Macao, and speed up the construction of the cross-border wealth management and asset management center for Nansha in GBA.

Wang Peng, a researcher at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, said such a mixture of incentives will attract more people to travel, work and start businesses in Nansha.

"It will help build the place into a hub for technological innovation and advanced industries as well as an attractive destination for international tourism, financial resources and talent."

Bai Wenxi, vice-chairman of the China Enterprise Capital Union, said the measures will help enhance Nansha's international influence, facilitate cross-border investment and financial innovation, and elevate its industrial structure and economic strength.

"The guideline is expected to further promote Nansha's openness and development, accelerate its cooperation and exchanges with Hong Kong and Macao, and inject new dynamics and vitality into the GBA," he said.

"Nansha, as a vital component of the GBA, holds immense development prospects," said Liang Haiming, chairman of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute.

Liang, who is also dean of Hainan University's Belt and Road Research Institute, said the national focus on Nansha's development, through increased policy support, enhanced infrastructure development and promotion of technological innovation, aims to facilitate its economic growth, better contributing to the construction and development of the GBA.

Despite many achievements by Nansha during the past few years, Bai from China Enterprise Capital Union warned that it still faces challenges in terms of transportation infrastructure, city planning and construction, and the recruitment and training of high-end talent.

He said Nansha needs to further strengthen cooperation and exchanges with Hong Kong and Macao.

More efforts should also be made to promote the development of high-end manufacturing, modern services, and the financial sector, creating an internationally competitive modern industrial system, Bai added.

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