Greater Bay Area, a unique blend of rapid development and downshifting lifestyle

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By Cheng Long, People’s Daily
In Shenzhen Bay Park, south China’s Guangdong province, visitors are wandering and enjoying splendid views of blossoming flower, while kilometers away, groups of tower cranes stand on the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, erecting skyrocketing modern buildings.
The two completely different worlds along the Shenzhen Bay, which are totally compatible with each other, make a sharp contrast between a fairly laid-back lifestyle and an intense tempo of work, revealing the secrets to how the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, also known as the Greater Bay Area, has made itself one of the most vibrant bay areas in the world.
The development speed of Shenzhen once astonished the world, as the completion of every storey of the city’s Guomao Building, also known as the International Foreign Trade Centre, took merely three days. Today, such speed is prevalent in the whole Greater Bay Area.
As landmark projects, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, have opened to traffic, it only takes half an hour to drive from Hong Kong to Zhuhai and Macao, and the travel time between Hong Kong and Guangzhou is also shortened to less than an hour.
The Greater Bay area is also attracting entrepreneurs for its favorable business environment and high efficiency. The registration of companies there only takes less than a day, and over 90 percent of tax administration affairs can be handled online.
Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Cooperation Zone for Technology and Innovation, located in Futian district of Shenzhen, is an area of only 3.89 square kilometers. However, it has attracted and implemented 138 projects, becoming a new innovation driver of the Greater Bay Area.
Rapid development brings more opportunities. In Shenzhen’s Nansha district, CIC², an incubator for young entrepreneurs, houses 74 entrepreneur teams from Hong Kong and Macao; in Qianhai, the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub has nurtured 356 entrepreneur teams with a total financing amount of more than 1.5 billion yuan ($234.9 million); in Zhuhai’s Hengqin, the Hengqin-Macao Youth Entrepreneurship Valley has incubated 433 projects and introduced 50 high-tech firms.
Seeing such rapid development, emerging opportunities and continuously released dividends, more and more young entrepreneurs are joining the construction of the Greater Bay Area.
What the Greater Bay Area boasts includes not only the rapid development, but also a downshifting lifestyle of its people, which is mirrored by the increasing numbers of lakes, wetlands, and parks emerging there.
Nantou ancient town on Shennan East Road, Shenzhen is ruins of a battalion in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Outside of it is modernity, while inside there are remains of city walls, local bureaucrat residence, and memorial arches. Western-style buildings on the sides of the streets in the ancient town accommodate both internet-famous shops and time-honored stores. The town is now a popular destination for local residents on holidays and weekends. It is an epitome of a high-quality lifestyle that is gradually taking shape in the Greater Bay Area, glittering with its unique charm in a blend of history and modernity.
So far, 158 black and stinky water bodies, and 1,467 micro black and stinky water bodies in the city have been purified, and the water quality of 310 rivers improved. As home to over 1,200 parks, Shenzhen is nicknamed “a city in a park.” In Xinhui district, Jiangmen, Guangdong province, a 400-year-old banyan is standing like a big forest, serving as a rest place for over 30,000 egrets. Thanks to the joint efforts made by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, Cantonese opera has been listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage item. All of this is injecting vitality to the development of the Greater Bay Area and passing on the traditional culture of the region.
“The intense tempo of work means more opportunities, while the downshifting lifestyle means higher quality of life. That’s exactly why the Greater Bay Area attracts me,” said a young man from Hong Kong who has just settled in Shenzhen for work.

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