Roadmap to building a citizen-centric smart GBA region

January 2019

As part of the 13th Five-Year Plan, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is an important national economic development strategy for China. Individual cities in the GBA have adopted different development strategies, with more developed cities in the region focussing on becoming “smarter” through investment in innovative technology and adoption of e-government initiatives. Such development can enable a stronger economy and allow residents in these cities to enjoy a higher quality of life. However, developing these cities in silos will limit the potential of the region in maximising its values from synergetic development.

This report will explore the prospects for the GBA to develop into a “Smart Region” (instead of 11 smart cities) and PwC’s recommendations for this to occur. Much like a smart city that aims to use innovation and technology to address urban challenges, enhance the effectiveness of city management and improve quality of living as well as sustainability, efficiency and safety, a Smart Region continues to remain citizen-centric and executes this concept on a broader scale.

Critical building blocks for a Smart Region

In developing a Smart GBA Region that will bring about economic growth and higher quality of life for the residents of the region, it will be critical to holistically consider the key building blocks of a Smart Region. The Smart Region Framework provides further details on the eight key building blocks that a Smart GBA Regional development should take into account. 

Beyond the necessity of setting a collective Smart Region Vision, it will be key to formulate regional development plans to pave the way towards the vision, establish governance arrangement to monitor and review progress, set up an interoperable digital infrastructure to facilitate secured information sharing as well as harmonise essential components of the legal framework to enable the effective functioning of this legally and administratively diverse region. To demonstrate the benefits of the Smart GBA Region, pilot projects could be developed, with cross-city and multi-stakeholder collaboration. An innovation framework that is driven by the GBA governance body should also be formulated, steered and updated over time to enable continuous innovation in the region.


Contact us

Catherine Tsang

Partner, PwC China

Tel: +[86] (755) 8261 8383

Albert Wong

Partner, PwC Hong Kong

Tel: +[852] 2289 1807

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