Hong Kong’s role in Pan Pearl River Delta Development 1. Pan-Pearl River regional co-ordination in blueprintIn the vast areas south of the Yangtze River, local economies should be consolidated to form a better co-ordinated economic area called the "Pan-Pearl River Delta Region", 1
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which actually covers eight provinces, one autonomous region and two special administrative regions plus one municipality directly under the central government. That is the vision conceived by Guangdong Governor Zhang Dejiang and will be explored in detail at a forum scheduled to be held early next month. Liang Guiquan, president of the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, the organizer of the forum as well as the consultant on the notion, talked to China Daily to elaborate on his win-win theory for economic co-operation on such a vast scale. Liang explained that every economy has its own unique pace. When a market is fully developed, one naturally looks outward for further growth. It usually starts with merchandise, and then graduates to capital. "Made-in-Guangdong" products have always been popular in neighbouring provinces, and "in my opinion, we have reached the stage when we will export capital to these places", said Liang. Industrial expansion means there will be need for more space. Wherever a market emerges, manufacturing will follow to better serve this market. Guangdong is actively developing its service industries now, but eventually that will mature, too. So, in the next 20 years, Guangdong's economic clout will "spill over" to its neighbours and stimulate the growth in those places. Liang said that two years ago there was a palpable sense of rivalry of "I grow and you remain stagnant and that will make me look good". For example, Guangxi was quite wary of its eastern neighbour and pushed for its own port in the south. "If you compare the traffic on the two highways, you'll instantly know that economic growth defies administrative meddling. It has its own logic. The highway from Guangxi to Guangdong is much busier than the north-south artery inside Guangxi. An economic bright spot naturally attracts those around it," asserted Liang. 2