A PLAN to integrate Shenzhen and its neighbor Hong Kong into a world-class mega-metropolis has been included for the first time in Shenzhen’s urban blueprint.
The blueprint, which deals with Shenzhen’s development until the year 2020, was unveiled by the city government Wednesday.
This was the first official endorsement by the Shenzhen government of the idea of integration, after a Hong Kong think tank published in August a feasibility study relating to the economic integration of the two cities.
Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng will visit Hong Kong in December to sign a metropolis agreement with the SAR government, according to the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po.
The plan, which will be submitted to the State Council for approval, details further cooperation between the two cities in finance, high-tech, border crossing and environmental protection, China News Service said on its Web site yesterday.
The two neighbors will tap into a financial cooperation system to facilitate the entry of Shenzhen’s financial institutions into the international market, and help Hong Kong financial institutions explore the mainland market.
Freer flow of trade, resources and professionals will be encouraged, and joint efforts will be employed to improve border crossing and air quality, and to make Shenzhen Bay and Dapeng Bay cleaner.
The urban blueprint for the next 13 years also states that the number of Shenzhen’s permanent residents will not be more than 11 million by 2020.
Last July, Le Zheng, head of the Shenzhen Academy of Social Sciences, put forward the mega-city idea, saying it should be a long-term strategy for the country.
The Hong Kong think tank Bauhinia Foundation Research Center revealed in August a plan to make Shenzhen and Hong Kong a single metropolis and an economic powerhouse bigger than London, Paris, Chicago or Los Angeles by 2020.
Its 10-point plan for achieving this goal included fostering cross-border business cooperation, creating a multiple-entry electronic smart card system for Shenzhen permanent residents to enter Hong Kong, building a railway line between the two cities’ airports and a joint program to nurture talent.
The report said that if the metropolis maintained a gross domestic product growth of 8 percent a year until 2020, its GDP would reach US$1.11 trillion, putting it behind only Tokyo and New York.
Last year, the sum of the two cities’ GDP reached US$259 billion, closely following Tokyo, New York and London.
Hong Kong and Shenzhen combined have a population of close to 20 million, with a combined economic base and total import and export trade that is the largest in Asia. Occupying more than 3,000 square kilometers, the combined area of the two cities is bigger than London and New York, with its freight-handling capacity the biggest in the world.