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Tracker for Greater Bay Area prospects

Standard Chartered GBA Business Confidence Index
Standard Chartered’s Kelvin Lau, Senior Economist, Greater China; Rose Kay, Head, Greater Bay Area; Mary Huen, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong; Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s (HKTDC)  Margaret Fong, Executive Director; Johnny Wan, Director, Publications & E-Commerce; and Nicholas Kwan, Director of Research, launch the Standard Chartered GBA Business Confidence Index

Since ancient times rivers and the sea have served as highways, which naturally makes harbouring bays associated with river mouths natural focuses of human activity. This focus stays with us to the present day and many of the most intense areas of economic activity in the world centre on bays – San Francisco, Tokyo and New York being stand-out cases.

These are all hubs of technological development as well as trade and investment. One bay area that has developed rapidly over the past three decades has been the Pearl River Delta, a conurbation stretching from Hong Kong to Macao in an arc with Guangzhou at its apex. Hong Kong has been the growth-driver of this region for many years and the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (main picture) in 1979, which immediately kicked off a flood of investment from booming Hong Kong, pushed the expansion into top gear.

The expanding conurbation needs an ever-greater degree of integration, leading to the establishment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area which streamlines the flow of people, capital and technology between the component cities – the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and the nine adjacent cities in Mainland China – Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing.

With a population of more than 71 million and annual gross domestic product of US$1.6 trillion, the Greater Bay Area has become an economic powerhouse covering a wide range of sectors, from the financial hub of Hong Kong and high-technology development powerhouse of Shenzhen to the tourism and leisure centre of Macao.

 

Strength through diversity

One of the Bay Area’s strengths lies in its diversity – the area includes two special administrative regions with extensive cultural and historical links to the English-speaking and Portuguese-speaking worlds as well as mainland centres ranging from high-technology Shenzhen to agricultural Huizhou. Gathering statistics to cover this region is no simple task, and global bank Standard Chartered has joined up with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to launch an outlook index for the region on 22 June.

The Standard Chartered GBA Business Confidence Index is the first forward-looking quarterly survey in the market that examines the business sentiment and synergistic effects across cities and industries in the Greater Bay Area to provide the latest business intelligence for those who are keen to grow their presence in the region.

The index will be released every quarter and is computed from the analysis of more than 1,000 responses of Greater Bay Area companies on their overall operations, business environment and expansion plan, Standard Chartered and the HKTDC said in a joint statement. The index includes five sub-indices which indicate business confidence for each industry, including manufacturing & trading, retail & wholesale, financial services, professional services and innovation & technology. The index enables investors and businesses to better understand the current business climate, gauge future performance and formulate their market strategies in the Greater Bay Area.

 “We are very pleased to join forces with the HKTDC to introduce the first GBA business confidence index in the market. We believe that the survey will help the public and companies in the region make appropriate strategic decision with economic insight in today’s ever-changing market environment,” said Mary Huen, CEO, Hong Kong, Standard Chartered.

“The Greater Bay Area is one of the biggest growth drivers of the Chinese economy and plays a significant role in the opening of China and gives companies in the region full play to the composite advantages of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao,” she added. “It will also help promote coordinated regional economic development and inject new impetus into the diversified development of Hong Kong economy.”

Planning tool

Margaret Fong, Executive Director, HKTDC, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with the Standard Chartered again. By launching the first GBA Business Confidence Index in the market, we can assist businesses to formulate timely development plans and capture new opportunities. The HKTDC has signed agreements with the other 10 Greater Bay Area cities to facilitate companies in the region to expand their businesses through Hong Kong’s two-way platform, strengthening the city’s position as the region’s global investment and business hub. Going forward, we will help businesses tap into Greater Bay Area markets by providing them with intelligence, promotion and business matching opportunities through our exhibitions, conferences, missions and more.”

As a leading global bank with extensive branch network in the Greater Bay Area, Standard Chartered said it has been promoting local economic development, which they regard as a key strategic priority.

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