Jiangmen in South China’s Guangdong province has made great strides on integrated development with Hong Kong and Macao, and improved its reputation as “the town of overseas Chinese”.
Jiangmen plays a vital role in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area due to its close ties with the two regions in terms of geography, history and culture, officials of the city said.
About 20 percent of Hong Kong residents and more than 33 percent of Macao residents are from Wuyi, a general term referring to Jiangmen’s five regions of Xinhui, Taishan, Kaiping, Enping and Heshan, a report from the Jiangmen Daily newspaper said.
The city focused its resources to achieve all-round cooperation with the two special administrative regions, advancing their coordinated development with the Chinese mainland, the officials said.
As one of the mega infrastructure projects in the GBA, the Huangmao Cross-Sea Bridge linking Jiangmen with the Guangdong city of Zhuhai will open in 2024. Upon completion, travel time between the two cities will be cut from one hour to less than 30 minutes.
The bridge, together with the Nansha Bridge, the Humen Bridge and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, will form a cross-sea passage group and help to build the GBA into an international transport hub, the Jiangmen government said.
Other ongoing transport projects in Jiangmen, including the Shenzhen-Jiangmen High-Speed Railway and the Zhongshan-Yangchun Expressway, will enhance connectivity among major cities in the GBA and boost people-to-people exchanges.
Jiangmen also launched a host of sci-tech projects in collaboration with Hong Kong and Macao with the aim of promoting the integrated development of tech industries. The Inno Valley in Pengjiang district, Jiangmen, is an incubator of sci-tech startups operated by Hong Kong people.
Since its establishment in 2016, the valley has cultivated 238 enterprises. Now the valley is home to 130 companies and 43 percent of them were set up by young people from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas Chinese.
A growing number of investors and university graduates from Hong Kong and Macao chose Jiangmen to develop their careers, as the city made sustained efforts to improve its business climate and attract people to the area.
Jiangmen has created a friendly business environment for entrepreneurship, said 25-year-old Lo Wai Tak from Hong Kong. Lo initiated his agricultural innovation project at the Jiangmen National Agricultural Sci-tech Park in 2016 and has experienced major success.
“We received strong support from the center as well as city authorities, including technologies, funds and facilities,” he said.
Over the past five years, a total of 1,359 Hong Kong or Macao-funded companies were founded in Jiangmen, with combined investment of more than $2.22 billion.
Lo’s business partner, Tan Wai Man, said that Jiangmen has introduced many favorable services and policies that makes people from the two special administrative regions have a sense of belonging to the city. “These also demonstrated how the city government valued the well-being of Hong Kong and Macao people,” Tan said.
In September last year, the Jiangmen-Hong Kong cross-border administrative service platform was put into operation in Hong Kong. Before that, Jiangmen opened a similar service center in Macao in April.
The platform enables Hong Kong people to deal with 400 administrative items of Jiangmen locally, offering them great convenience.
Jiangmen plans to strengthen cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao in education and healthcare in the following years to further improve people’s well-being and bring more benefits to them, according to the city’s Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao affairs office.
Town of overseas Chinese
Jiangmen is the homeland of 5.3 million Chinese people who live in Hong Kong, Macao and about 140 overseas cities.
To promote and protect the culture related to overseas Chinese, the city organizes an array of cultural events every year and established the Jiangmen Wuyi Overseas Chinese Museum.
As Jiangmen people who live abroad have many demands for legal services, the city has formed an extensive service network, which consists of 246 overseas Chinese service stations and 45 mediation offices.
In August, a WeChat mini program operated by the Jiangmen Public Legal Service Center was launched, making services such as legal consulting and foreign-related notarization more convenient.
A representative from the center said that all of the center’s services involving overseas Chinese now can be delivered online.
“I am able to talk with attorneys via the program, just like using WeChat. It’s easy and efficient,” said a man surnamed Huang who works outside the country.
Jiangmen plans to implement a pilot project which is designed to encourage investment from overseas Chinese and provide them with better services.
It’s expected that the project will make remarkable progress in the next three years and provide practical experiences that can be utilized by other cities, the city’s officials said.