In California, special attention is paid to the development of the Greater Bay. The San Francisco Bay has given priority to fields of equal importance in the Chinese region and this creates undeniable opportunities for cooperation. Even with political and commercial tensions between the two powers, companies try to adapt to the context and embrace common development.
“I still think there is a huge interconnection between the US and China and opportunities,” said Gordon Hinkle, vice president of the California Center, a business platform that links US companies with Chinese partners.
The Greater Bay is emerging as an economic power capable of “becoming much greater than the sum of its parts,” a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) told China Daily.
“At HKTDC, we have seen tremendous interest in the Greater Bay Area from international companies. Without a doubt, this will be another area of focus for international business opportunities in the post-pandemic world,” he said.
The pandemic has given rise to opportunities for US companies in many sectors, including healthcare, innovations and sustainability-related services, added the HKTDC, a statutory body created in 1966 to explore potential markets for Hong Kong companies, especially
small and medium enterprises.
Green energy opens doors
In addition, China’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 creates a “vast demand” for sustainability expertise in the country’s transition to a greener economy, the Council said.
As an example, the organization points to California, which has a strong market for clean energy and health technologies, and which has scope to consolidate its partnership with China across the Greater Bay.
“Green development will create opportunities not only in clean energy, green building materials, electric vehicles, but also in green finance – a sector that Hong Kong is actively developing,” he said.
Hinkle said the California Center’s sister company, McWong International, with offices in the US and China that design and manufacture lighting control equipment, has won numerous awards for creating innovative energy-saving technologies.
“We realize that there will always be economic and political issues beyond our control, but as a global company, we have learned to adapt and seize opportunities to collaborate and innovate with our Chinese partners,” he said.
Connectivity Makes Everything “Easier”
Gordon Hinkle stressed that he intends to seize the opportunities created by the region. It already works closely with trading partners in several regions and provinces in China, “especially now with the new bridge that runs from Hong Kong to Macau”, which it says makes everything “easier” in terms of connectivity. However, he expects to see more interactions between US companies and those in China.
In a recent webinar hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California, Sean Randolph, senior director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, said that the Pearl River Delta region was the first in China to open doors to the West. Since then, it has become the main Chinese region for pursuing economic reform.
Randolph also said that San Francisco Bay has enjoyed historic ties to the Greater Bay, and that most Chinese immigration to the region has come from Guangdong Province.
Many of the areas that take precedence in the San Francisco Bay are also in the Greater Bay Area. According to Randolph, this similarity creates opportunities for collaboration. The senior director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute lists some of the most promising areas, such as clean energy, healthcare, electric and autonomous vehicles, biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, as well as financial technology.
Addressing the specific context of Hong Kong, Randolph considers that, despite the tension in US-China relations, there is no indication that the fundamental environment for conducting business has changed. “Hong Kong continues to present a unique platform for engagement with the Greater Bay Area. I think we just need to be aware that this is happening in a larger environment.”
“Whatever happens at the global level, there will be a long-term legacy of China’s investment in science and infrastructure. And I think this will continue to allow the region to continue to grow and, through these jurisdictions, will present potentially strong opportunities for collaboration with us here in San Francisco Bay,” along with other parts of California and the US, he concluded.