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Friday, November 08, 2019, 20:18
Zhaoqing’s space, low costs get attention of Greater Bay Area entrepreneurs
By Chai Hua in Zhaoqing
Friday, November 08, 2019, 20:18 By Chai Hua in Zhaoqing

Pedestrians pass by Tus-GBA International Innovation Center in Zhaoqing. PHOTO / CHINA DAILY

Hong Kong entrepreneurs are deepening their exploration of the hinterland of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as the competition becomes fierce and costs continue to surge in Guangdong province’s first-tier cities.

This has brought Zhaoqing, a city west of the provincial capital of Guangzhou, to the attention of these entrepreneurs.

With an area of 15,000 square meters, it is about 10 times the size of Hong Kong and is the largest Bay Area city. Its GDP increased 7 percent in the first half of this year, the third-fastest in the province.

It is also a choice for our employees to move to Zhaoqing to live as the average house price is only one-tenth that of Hong Kong

Kenneth Wong

managing director of DRPP Asia Ltd

Riko Chu, founder of Jin Feng Technology Consultant (Zhaoqing) Ltd, believes the region has much more room to grow compared with Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Chu, who established his firm in October to help bring in Hong Kong and international startups and firms to Zhaoqing, said he has found skilled workers in education and medical-care industries who are interested in the city.

His startup is in the Tus-GBA International Innovation Center’s Zhaoqing branch, an incubator unveiled in March and supported by Tsinghua University and Tus Holdings.

The center provides startups rent-free offices for three years. Tus Holdings has created such incubators in several other Bay Area cities, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Jiangmen. All startups are connected to its entrepreneurship sources of financing, marketing and consulting.

So far, 18 teams have settled in the incubator, and six of them are from Hong Kong or Macao.

Kenneth Wong, managing director of DRPP Asia Ltd, said his firm has factories in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, but now he is considering moving them to Zhaoqing.

“The cost in Shenzhen has become too expensive, and talent competition is intense,” he said, adding that labor costs in Zhaoqing are one-fourth those of Shenzhen’s.

These reasons also are drawing more and more young engineers and technicians to the rising city, presenting a sufficient talent pool for Wong’s firm.

The latest six policies announced by the central government on Wednesday gave another boost to his confidence, especially the measure that will remove limitations for Hong Kong people who want to buy houses in the Bay Area.

“It is also a choice for our employees to move to Zhaoqing to live as the average house price is only one-tenth that of Hong Kong,” he added. What makes the city even more attractive is that it is devoted to providing comprehensive facilities, especially for Hong Kong people, he added.

The city recently launched a new plan to build a Hong Kong-style business and residential zone, with an investment of more than 30 billion yuan ($4.29 billion), near its high-speed rail station. High-speed train service to Hong Kong began in July, reducing travel time between the two cities to about one hour.

Zhaoqing also plans to introduce international health management centers, education facilities, yacht port and shopping malls to forge a high-quality Hong Kong talents community. The Open University of Hong Kong, China Resources, Agile Group and Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town Co Ltd have signed a framework to jointly develop the new zone.

grace@chinadailyhk.com

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