1. Introduction to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

The construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is a significant national strategy planned, carried out and advocated by President Xi Jinping In 2015, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China collaboratively released the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. It was the first time for the “Greater Bay Area” to be mentioned in the state’s official document when the “Building of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” was proposed in the “Belt and Road” Initiative. In 2017, witnessed by President Xi Jinping, the National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Government of Guangdong Province, the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Macao SAR Government inked the Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Co-operation in the Development of the Bay Area, which sets out the prototype of division of labour, co-operation direction and coordination mechanism for the governments of the three areas. It is mentioned in the report at the 19th CPC National Congress that the country will “continue to support Hong Kong and Macao in integrating their own development into the overall development of the country. The country will give priority to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, co-operation between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao, and regional co-operation in the Pan-Pearl River Delta, thus fully advancing mutually beneficial co-operation between the mainland and the two regions.” In 2018,  Premier Li Keqiang proposed in the Government Work Report to launch the development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area with a view to promoting the mutually beneficial collaboration among the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. In August 2018, the Central Government established the Leading Group for Development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, symbolising that the implementation of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area’s construction. In February, the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was launched, which further clarify the development positions and functions of different cities in the Greater Bay Area.

Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area covers Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and nine cities in Guangdong Province, namely, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing (the “9+2”). As of 2020, the total area of the Greater Bay Area was around 56,000 square metres and the population was more than 80 million, generating an economic aggregate of over 11.5 trillion yuan. Meanwhile, the “9+2” cities and regions are geographically and culturally close, with close people-to-people bond and apparent geographic advantages. These areas boast interconnected infrastructures, innovation-driven and open economy. It strives to become a world-class bay area that playing a strategically pivotal role in China’s economic and societal development as well as reform and opening up. The Greater Bay Area is expected to become a world leading bay area parallel to Tokyo Bay, New York metropolitan area and San Francisco Bay Area, and eventually become an important booster of the world economy.

2. The Role of Macao in the Development of the Greater Bay Area

Macao is one of the four “core cities” as designated by the Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area. The city boasts unique position respectively as a “World Centre of Tourism and Leisure” and a “Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”, it is also committed to becoming a “Base of Exchange and Co-operation with Traditional Chinese Culture as Mainstream and Other Cultures Flourishing in Harmony”. Macao manifests distinct characteristics and functions among Greater Bay Area cities, as it brings various benefits derived from the “One Country, Two Systems”, its being a free port and as a separate customs territory, a simple taxation system and an excellent business environment.

In order to enhance Macao’s integration in the construction of the Greater Bay Area, the Macao SAR Government actively promotes the development of related systems and mechanisms. This includes strengthening support for technological innovation: building on the establishment in Macao of four State Key Laboratories – namely the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine; the State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI (Very-large-scale integration); the State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City; and the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences – Macao is joining hands with other cities in the Greater Bay Area to push ahead together on the establishment of the “Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao Sci-Tech Innovation Corridor”. By gathering international resources in the field of innovation, the Greater Bay Area strives to achieve innovation-driven development with focus on enhancing the capacity of transforming technological innovations into commercial application, in order to position itself as an international highland for scientific and technological innovation.

As the country implements the 14th “Five-year Plan” and accelerates the establishment of a new development pattern “whereby domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay”, Macao gives full play to its role as a platform and as a hub where the domestic and international economic circulation meets. The city will enhance its exchange and connection with other cities in the Greater Bay Area, and the network between the Greater Bay Area and Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as countries and regions along the “Belt and Road”, with a view to reinforcing the effective docking of domestic and international markets as well as their resources, and achieving growth at a higher level together.

3. Provision of customised services by IPIM for the development of the Greater Bay Area

In order to further cultivate the moderate economic diversification of Macao, and to help optimise the city’s industrial structure, the Macao SAR Government has been strenuously nurturing emerging industries in the city, motivating industries’ upgrade and transformation, by various means including speeding up the development of modern financial industry and industrialisation of traditional Chinese medicine, enhancing the professionalism and marketisation of MICE sector. In the meantime, to keep up with the latest trends of the economy and society, Macao focuses on the “tourism +” collaboration with different sectors so as to stimulate the local market.

The Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) – a Macao SAR Government organ under the portfolio of the Secretariat for Economy and Finance – is responsible for promoting external trade, attracting inward investment, nurturing the development of the MICE sector, and promoting economic and commercial co-operation between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries. In line with the Macao SAR Government’s administration, IPIM has initiated various tasks, including in-depth exploration of opportunities in the MICE service sector, commercial collaboration in the MICE field with entities from the Greater Bay Area and overseas regions. Aside from hosting the International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF), the Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition (MIECF), the Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF), the Macao Franchise Expo (MFE), and the Guangdong & Macao Branded Products Fair (GMBPF) and other local signature events, enriching these events with elements of the Greater Bay Area, IPIM continues to offer the “One-stop Service” for MICE Bidding and Support in Macao, as well as various other MICE-related support programmes, in an effort to introduced diverse MICE activities in Macao and help all different industries to seize the opportunities arising from the booming MICE sector, and create even more possibilities.

To keep up with the growth of Greater Bay Area and enhance the effectiveness of its assistance in connecting different cities in the Greater Bay Area precisely, IPIM rolled out the Facilitation Services for Commercial Registration in Nine Cities of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area 2019. In addition, IPIM’s Guangzhou Representative Office takes advantage of its well established network and takes the initiative to visit chambers of commerce and companies in the nine cities of Greater Bay Area, and offer the latest information regarding investing in Macao and relevant policies for industries, with a view to encouraging enterprises to set up operation headquarter or branches in Macao. In the meantime, IPIM also provides assistance for enterprises from Macao and overseas regions in carrying out commercial activities in the Greater Bay Area, in a bid to achieve mutually beneficial collaboration and common development.

Looking ahead, IPIM will continue providing various MICE services and assistance for investors. It also aims to continuously contribute to the development of the Greater Bay Area, by creating an improved business and investment environment for domestic and international enterprises and investors – especially for those from the Greater Bay Area and for local small- and medium-sized enterprises.