Night view of Zhongshan, the host city of the 2019 Zhongshan Trade and Investment Fair & Top Talent Networking held in late March. [Photo provided to China Daily] The integrated urban-rural development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is expected to be the first realized in China and become one of the most important contributors to the nation's economic growth in the future, according to economic experts. National Economic Research Institute director Fan Gang believes the integration of China's urban and rural areas will be put on the schedule in the next stage of the nation's development after poverty is planned to be mostly eliminated by 2020. City clusters, like the one in the Bay Area and the two others around Beijing and Shanghai, are emerging to become a major drive to China's development, he noted. In the process, one of the most severe challenges is how to connect public service networks and then make them integrated, he stressed. Pilot zones are necessary to try some policies and measures, he added. He said the Bay area could be the experimental zone to promote an integrated service of public affairs, education and medical treatment. Leung Wai-ho, chairman of the Greater Bay Area Committee at the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong, agreed on the importance of regional integration but also admitted it is a very difficult journey. He proposed transforming the Bay Area into a big special administration region, a proposition that comes from his own experience of a cross-border loan dilemma. He said it is difficult for his Hong Kong-registered company to borrow a loan in the Chinese mainland, while it is also not easy to apply a loan in Hong Kong because his collateral - real estate properties - are in the mainland. He believes a big special administration region could help solve problems like his. The remarks were made at a conference organized by Singapore-based DBS Bank, one of the largest financial services groups in Asia. More than 300 company representatives and investors in the Bay Area participated the forum.
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