BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- China has made substantial progress in integrating the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into a vibrant world-class city cluster, officials said Thursday.
Guangdong Province has set up a leading group and six specialized groups to push ahead with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development, Lin Shaochun, executive vice governor of Guangdong Province, said at a press conference hosted by the State Council Information Office.
Li Xi, secretary of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, is the head of the leading group of Guangdong Province.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has reached an agreement with Guangdong Province to build a campus in Guangzhou, capital of the province, according to Lin.
Altogether, six Hong Kong colleges and universities have founded 72 scientific research institutions in Shenzhen, while Guangdong and Hong Kong has jointly subsidized 151 innovative programs.
The infrastructure connectivity in the area has been significantly improved, said Lin, mentioning the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge as a model project of the Greater Bay Area.
Guangdong Province has opened up 153 service sectors to Hong Kong and Macao, accounting for 95.6 percent of 160 service sectors listed by the World Trade Organization.
For the first time, a Guangdong and Macao Cooperation Development Fund has been established, with the first batch of investment of 20 billion yuan (about 3 billion U.S. dollars), Lin said.
Guangdong has unveiled many facilitation measures for Hong Kong and Macao residents studying, investing and living in the province. For example, the number of colleges and universities that can enroll students from Hong Kong and Macao has risen to 50.
China unveiled the outline development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area last week, aiming to develop the region into "a role model of high-quality development."
The bay area consists of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region, as well as nine cities in Guangdong Province -- Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing.
Covering 56,000 square kilometers, the bay area had a combined population of about 70 million at the end of 2017 and its gross domestic product reached around 10 trillion yuan in 2017.