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Cross-sea span a boon for SARs and Zhuhai

China Daily,September 18, 2020 Adjust font size:

Allowing traffic on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, a cross-sea link in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, has helped facilitate industrial and economic ties between the province's Zhuhai and the two special administrative regions, according to researchers.

"The opening of the bridge has increased traffic flows between Zhuhai, Hong Kong and Macao, eventually bringing about capital and logistics flows," said Xie Baojian, deputy director of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone Research Institute of Jinan University, based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Following the span's opening, more financial cooperation was realized between Zhuhai and Hong Kong, given that Hong Kong had already developed a leading position in the global financial market, according to Xie.

A financial technology center, funded by a Hong Kong-listed company, was set up in October 2018 in Zhuhai's Xiangzhou district. The center plays a linking role for capital flows from Hong Kong to Zhuhai.

By June this year, 128 Hong Kongbased financial organizations had set up their investment branches in Zhuhai's Hengqin area, part of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone, according to the local government.

Construction of the world's current longest cross-sea bridge began in December 2009. It opened to traffic in October 2018.

He Feng, from the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge's border control office, said the increasing passenger flow was due to the bridge's position as a traffic hinge in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and its growing popularity as a tourist destination.

By the end of last year, the bridge had seen over 24 million inbound and outbound passengers, with more than 1.5 million vehicles passing through, according to He.

Further, Zhuhai had registered 5,659 investment projects from Hong Kong businesses, with exports of more than 28.9 billion yuan ($4.26 billion) to the city in 2019, according to Zhuhai Development and Reform Bureau.

"The opening of the bridge to traffic has greatly helped facilitate socioeconomic links between Hong Kong and Zhuhai," He said.

Closed traffic networks are also playing a significant role in boosting the flow of talent between the three cities, according to businesspeople from the Greater Bay Area.

"Macao's high level of social welfare and income make it very hard for startups to hire local talent. The closer traffic network in the Greater Bay Area can provide ideal resources, such as sufficient employees, a broad market and production partner between Macao and Zhuhai," said Li Huiyin, who runs a fashion magazine and a traditional Chinese clothing brand in Macao.