China: The Lure Of China's Greater Bay Area Grows Stronger For Business And Talent

Last Updated: 3 April 2019
Article by Angel Hua

The recently-announced Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau is an ambitious blueprint designed to attract more foreign businesses and professionals to the region.

We've written previously about China's plans to link Hong Kong and Macau together with nine cities in Guangdong province, all clustered around the Pearl River Delta, creating the Greater Bay Area (GBA). The nine cities are Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing. The GBA has a population of over 70 million and generates over US$1.5tn of Gross Domestic Product, making it a powerhouse to compete with similar city clusters in San Francisco, New York and Tokyo.

China's central government recently issued the latest Outline Development Plan for the GBA (the 'Outline Plan'). It initiates the next phase of economic and social integration for the GBA with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. This has been supported by the 14 March announcement from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Administration of Tax (SAT):

  • Individual Income Tax (IIT) exemption treatment, subsidising overseas high-level and urgently-needed talents working in the GBA area, including those from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, is now extended to all 9 cities, effective 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2023. This builds upon and replaces the existing policies in Qianhai.

Here's an overview of the key elements of the Outline Plan that are designed to lure more businesses and professionals to the region.

Integrated transport network

Major investment in new transport links has already delivered the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. This makes it easy to travel between the two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) and the Chinese cities of the GBA. The continuing massive investment in the high-speed rail network will connect the GBA across all of China. This will dramatically improve the ability for experts and executives already established within the SARs to travel throughout the GBA and China.

Quality living

Improving transportation alone is of course, not sufficient to achieve the necessary integration of people in the GBA region, and the Outline Plan aims to make the whole GBA equally attractive for both working and living.

Of major concern to families moving from the SARs into mainland China has been the provision of education and quality medical facilities. The Chinese education regulator has already started to offer scholarships to students from SARs territories, and China's National Social Science Fund is now accepting applications from SARS academics to work in universities or research institutions.

The governments of the GBA have established a framework for greater cooperation and investment in medical facilities and skills in the Chinese cities. The agreement encourages Chinese and foreign investment in both western and traditional Chinese medical centres, and many SARs medical professionals have already started to establish centres of excellence on the mainland. There is also agreement to aid the transfer of patients between medical facilities within the GBA to allow SARS families to choose to be treated in their home territory.

Tax policy alignment

Another major issue for SARs residents and enterprises considering a move to the GBA region is the high level of taxation in mainland China, with rates rising to 45% for individuals compared to 15% and 12% in Hong Kong and Macau respectively.

Some local governments within the GBA had already recognised this as a significant issue, and introduced policies within certain economic zones to compensate individuals and corporations working and investing there. The Shenzhen Municipal Government and Zhuhai city government both introduced tax rebates to SAR residents working in the Qianhai and Hengqin economic zones respectively. And Hong Kong enterprises investing in Zhuhai's Hengqin zone also receive a rebate of corporation tax down to Hong Kong levels.

The Outline Plan encourages local governments of the nine cities to offer incentives for individuals and enterprises from the SARs territories, particularly for innovative, young entrepreneurs. The examples of Qianhai and Hengqin have clearly demonstrated the success of aligning tax policies resulting in the MOF and SAT statement that has extended this to the entire area.

Social security cooperation

China has a complex and costly social security system, with contributions by employees and employers into a myriad of social funds; These vary from city to city, so this whole area is complex for any business and individual to fully understand. The Outline Plan identifies this as an area where there needs to be more integration between the nine cities and the SAR territories so that SAR citizens working there can gain benefit from the social funds and enjoy equal benefits in retirement.

What's next for you?

The Outline Plan is an ambitious blueprint for the further development, cooperation and integration of the GBA. It sets out medium and long-term objectives, but the detail of how these will be implemented at the local level is yet to evolve and it is likely to be rife with complexities as each city competes for the talent it needs to generate long term growth.

There are significant incentives offered to SAR individuals and other expats to study, educate and transfer skills into the nine cities and for enterprises to invest there. Firms and individuals must remain alert to the opportunities being offered as the plans become defined policies.

Talk to us

TMF China can help you to keep pace as new policies are introduced across the GBA and help you to implement new processes to take maximum advantage of the opportunities for your enterprises and staff.

In this dynamic environment it will be ever more important that you maintain high standards of compliance with HR policies and practices. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
16 May 2019, Webinar, Rotterdam, Netherlands


Executing an acquisition integration plan is one of the most difficult assignments in the M&A life cycle. Every merger involves “negative synergies”, including the departure of key talent, sales losses, incompatible systems, productivity declines, turf battles and cultural friction. The key is limiting the costs and preparing for the unknown challenges that may arise.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions