Nansha: linking Hong Kong and Macao, a new gateway for China’s high-level opening up

By Cheng Long, Luo Aihua, People’s Daily

Nansha district of Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province, sits in the geometric center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).

Close to all the 11 GBA cities and five major international airports within 100 kilometers, it is an important hub linking the city cluster at the Pearl River estuary and the two special administrative regions.

Nansha district has seen its strategic position constantly improving over the past years, from serving as a state-level new area to a pilot free trade zone, and now it becomes a demonstration zone for comprehensive cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. It is an important carrier promoting the construction of the GBA.

In June this year, the State Council issued an overall plan on promoting comprehensive cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao by further deepening opening up in Nansha district. The plan aims to build Nansha district into a major strategic platform for global cooperation to better spearhead the construction of the GBA.

Under policy support, Nansha district has seen accelerated high-quality development.

In the past three years, the average annual growth in the number of technology-based small- and medium-sized companies stood at 106 percent. More than 620 firms related to artificial intelligence and biotechnology were registered in the district during the same period.

Last year, 11 enterprises based in Nansha district, including, an autonomous vehicle technology firm, were included in a list of unicorn companies with strong innovation capacity released by Guangzhou.

Nansha’s technological progress has created new opportunities for collaborative technological innovation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.

For instance, supported by the Nansha sub-center of China’s National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou, the Fok Ying Tung Research Institute of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) closely connects Guangzhou supercomputer capacity with Hong Kong’s science and technology innovation. A group led by professor Shao Minhua with the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, HKUST has developed a new type of hydrogen cell, which set a record in battery durability.

Besides, Gan Jianping, an expert in physical oceanography and his team have launched the WavyOcean – the first 3D simulation and visualization system for ocean circulation and biogeochemical processes in China.

So far, the Nansha sub-center of China’s National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou has served over 200 scientific research teams from Hong Kong, Macao and overseas.

Relying on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong and Guangzhou-Zhuhai-Macao science and technology innovation corridors, the GBA is accelerating its steps to build itself into a global center of sci-tech innovation.

A demonstration zone for comprehensive cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao is well underway in Nansha district, and the permanent venue for GBA Science Forum has commenced in the district.

The Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou) has set up 16 academician teams, and a facility for the studies of cold seep ecosystems has been put under national special planning. An industrial base aiming to manufacture 30 carrier rockets per year is about to be completed in the district.

Thanks to its geographical advantages, Nansha district is a gateway for opening up. It is building a major trade channel connecting China and the rest of the world.

The Nansha Port is one of the busiest ports in the world, with the first fully automated container terminal in China empowered by domestically developed technologies. It is equipped with four berths for ships over 100,000 tons. The port handled 17.66 million twenty-foot equivalent units of containers last year.

As of this August, the port has opened 150 foreign trade routes reaching over 200 port cities around the world.

On May 30 this year, the port railway launched its first freight train to Europe, continuously sending “Made in China” goods to the continent. The new service model is expected to seamlessly connect silk routes both over land and at sea.

According to Liu Jiajun, an official with Guangzhou Nansha Economic and Technological Development Zone, the district is currently enhancing its brands in digital commerce services to construct a major trade route for the GBA and consolidate the area’s position as a hub of the international supply chain.