News Centre

7 Jun 2017

Survey Findings by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK on Views on the Development Plan of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

7 Jun 2017

Premier Li Keqiang announced an agenda for constructing Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area thereafter) in his latest work report to the National People’s Congress (NPC) in 2017. The Greater Bay Area is comprised of Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong (namely, Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Shenzhen, Dongguang, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen). The Hong Kong SAR government has organized delegations to the Guangdong cities and is preparing views on the plan to be submitted to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). A telephone survey was conducted from 19 to 24 May by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to gauge public views on the development plan of the Greater Bay Area. 723 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 38.2%. The sampling error is + or – 3.64% at confidence level of 95%. 

Major findings are summarized as follows: 

The purpose of the plan is to achieve complementary advantages between Hong Kong, Macao and the 9 cities in Guangdong. However, when asked if the plan could realize the target, 43.2% of the respondents said “in-between”, indicating considerable public uncertainties over the idea of the complementary advantages. 31.1% of the respondents believed it could, while 15.6% thought the opposite. Moreover, the public was also uncertain about the possible economic benefits the plan would bring about if Hong Kong joined and the possible loss to Hong Kong if it stayed away. 46.6% of the respondents rated “half-half” to the possible economic benefits or losses for Hong Kong to join the plan. 25.4% said more benefits, while 11.7% said more economic losses to Hong Kong. If Hong Kong stayed away from the plan, could Hong Kong lose in the economic competition against mainland cities? 30.1% of the respondents said “in-between”, exhibiting another uncertain view of the public. 29.2% agreed that Hong Kong could, while 24.5% disagreed. 

An objective of the plan is to construct a commuter zone in which one can work in Hong Kong and live in Guangdong cities. 42.2% of the respondents questioned its feasibility, while 35.4% concurred with the idea. The three most popular reasons given by respondents who held negative views include the following: “insufficient freedom of information” (27.5%), “still inconvenient transportation” (26.2%), and “issues of food safety in mainland cities” (12.8%). Among those who held positive views, the three most popular reasons are:  “more economic opportunities” (32.4%), “affordable housing price in Guangdong cities” (16.8%), and “lower consumer price index in Guangdong cities” (14.8%). 

The survey indicated that 60.2% of the respondents heard of the plan, while 39.8% did not. To be noted, 64.9% of the respondents did not visit any of the nine Guangdong cities in the past twelve months. 19.1% visited one or two times and 15.5% visited three or more times over the past year. 

In conclusion, the public are still generally uncertain about the implications of the development plan of the Greater Bay Area. In contrast to a survey on the Belt and Road Initiative in 2016, in which 91.6% of the respondents heard of the Initiative (Press release of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies on 6 June, 2016), the results of the current survey showed that insufficient knowledge of the plan among the public could be a factor behind the uncertain attitudes.