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How to Craft the Grand Narrative of Integration and ‘Rushing Towards’ the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao from a Distant View?


From gazing across the sea to “rushing towards” in both directions, The 17th Congress of the World Federation of Hainanese Associations was held for the first time in Guangzhou, sparking a wave of harbor integration and shared opportunities in the economic and trade sector. On December 4th, at the conference’s Hainan Free Trade Port and The Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area Integration Development Forum, commonly known as the Greater Bay Area, and the World Summit of Haishang, attending merchants and experts shared their views and business opportunities, laying out the grand narrative for writing the story of harbor integration.

The 17th Congress of the World Federation of Hainanese Associations was held for the first time in Guangzhou.


Accelerating the Construction of Development Platforms and Carriers for Guangdong and Hainan


At the Guangdong High-Quality Development and Harbor Cooperation Forum, Zhu Wei, the Executive Deputy Director of the Office of the Leading Group for the Construction of The Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area, commonly known as the Greater Bay Area, and the Deputy Director of the Guangdong Development and Reform Commission, stated in his speech that it is necessary to promote mutual development and approach between Guangdong and Hainan. He emphasized seizing new opportunities for harbor cooperation to create a better future together.

Zhu Wei


Discussing the future cooperation between Guangdong and Hainan provinces, Zhu Wei pointed out that in terms of basic infrastructure interconnectivity, Guangdong and Hainan will fully enhance the integrated level of port and shipping across the Qiongzhou Strait. They will accelerate the construction of the Guangzhan and Zhanhai high-speed railways and the Leizhou Peninsula highway, improving the connectivity of transportation, energy, and other facilities across the strait. This aims to enhance the capacity, efficiency, and safety of cross-border channels and jointly turn the Qiongzhou Strait into an optimal route for passenger and cargo transportation.


In terms of specific industrial cooperation, Guangdong will establish a “vegetable basket” base and a material processing base in Zhanjiang facing Hainan. They will actively promote the expansion of steel and petrochemical industries, such as Zhanjiang Steel and Zhongke Refining in Hainan, and collaborate with Hainan in developing cultural tourism, healthcare, scientific research, and deep cooperation in agriculture.


“Currently, Guangdong and Hainan provinces are actively planning to construct a high-quality development demonstration zone for the integrated Qiongzhou Strait on both its northern and southern shores. As a concentrated carrier for mutual development between Guangdong and Hainan, both provinces will jointly promote this to ascend as a major national regional development platform,” introduced Zhu Wei.


How should Hainan learn from Guangdong’s experience to accelerate high-quality development? Mao Yanhua, Dean of the Institute of Regional Openness and Cooperation, Sun Yat-sen University, suggests that to optimize the business environment, Hainan should implement a plan to catch up with domestic leaders in important quantitative indicators of the business environment. This involves conducting “front-runner actions” and “competitive challenges,” normalizing “case diagnosis,” and promoting more frequent civil and enterprise-related services to be handled “once and for all” and “province-wide” or “cross-province” handling.

Mao Yanhua


Mao Yanhua also suggests that Hainan should establish a batch of first-class industrial parks with distinctive features of the free trade port and national influence, nurture several trillion-level and billion-level industrial clusters, and promote the rapid development of three future industries: seed breeding in the southern islands, deep-sea technology, and aerospace. This approach will expand and strengthen the marine economy.


Merchant Community Seizes Integration Opportunities


Enterprises in the Greater Bay Area are seizing the development opportunities of the Hainan Free Trade Port, making significant and cross-sectoral investments across the strait. Airlines are weaving a dense network of flight routes, creating an “aerial highway” connecting the Greater Bay Area with the Hainan Free Trade Port. Behind the wave of integrated development of the harbor, the bustling figures of Greater Bay Area enterprises and merchants are evident.


Zhou Jingliang, Chairman of Shenzhen Ganten FOOD&BEVERAGE Co., Ltd., originally from Hainan, rode the winds of the reform and opening-up policy in the 20th century to establish several well-known food and beverage brands in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Zhou introduced at the World Summit of Haishang that in recent years, his company has accelerated its investment layout in various regions and industries in Hainan. For example, they have built a pure water production base in Wuzhishan City, planning to supply Hainan and use the advantages of the Hainan Free Trade Port to develop markets in Southeast Asia and overseas. Additionally, they are planning to construct a five-star hotel in Dongfang City, Hainan, with an investment of 2 billion yuan to support local cultural tourism development.


Zhou Jingliang believes that after Hainan’s “liberalization,” the speed of development and construction could exceed expectations, potentially creating opportunities as significant as Shenzhen’s rapid development during the early stages of reform and opening-up. “I hope that entrepreneurs will seize this rare opportunity, leveraging their own development advantages to accelerate investment in the Hainan market.”


Interconnectivity of infrastructure is the “number one project” for the mutual approach of the harbor. As of now, China Southern Airlines (Southern Airlines) operates 83 aircraft around the Hainan Free Trade Port, forming a comprehensive domestic flight network, with routes from Haikou to Sanya reaching all major first-tier cities in the country. Additionally, leveraging its hubs in Guangzhou and Beijing, Southern Airlines achieves connectivity between the Hainan Free Trade Port and the rest of the world.

Peng Juzhen’s Speech


“We have established an air express line from Haikou to Guangzhou, currently operating 10 flights daily. This has opened up the main air artery from the Hainan Free Trade Port to The Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area, commonly known as the Greater Bay Area, making travel from Haikou and Sanya to Guangzhou almost as convenient as taking a bus,” stated Peng Juzhen, General Manager of the Hainan Branch of China Southern Airlines, at the forum. He mentioned that in the future, as the number of international passengers in Haikou and Sanya increases, they are considering “straightening” the routes to support the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port with a large number of direct international flights.


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