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Dezan Shira & Associates Hosts Preeminent GBA Event, with Keynote Speaker Minister Yang Xiaoguang, and Panel of Leading China Investment Experts


July 15th 2021 – Global / Online – Dezan Shira & Associates was honored to host a highly comprehensive and informative 90-minute webinar about China’s Greater Bay Area, presented by the leaders of four international business firms with deep expertise in China direct investment, and featuring a riveting keynote speech by Minister Yang Xiaoguang, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom.

This event aimed to provide a concise and robust understanding of the scale, scope, and specifics concerning the GBA, to help investors to gain a clearer understanding of this vital and dynamic region and its opportunities.

Many specifics were addressed within the keynote speech, topic presentations, and panel Q&A sessions. These included an introduction to the GBA, participating cities, drivers and challenges, as well as major investment and trade opportunities. Deep dives were then taken into Hong Kong’s role as an integrated and central operational and legal hub within the GBA for finance and technology, the “Health Silk Road”, as well as expected and continued growth in healthcare investment within the GBA. The global perspective of the GBA was then rounded out with a solid exploration of the GBA’s role within the BRI in terms of Free Trade Agreements and Double Tax Treaties.

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Event Speakers




Event Recap:


With hundreds in attendance, Stephen Perry, Chairman of The 48 Group was introduced by Chris Devonshire-EllisChairman, Dezan Shira & Associates. Mr Perry presented a brief history of the importance of forming early UK-China relationships and trade relations by the 48 Group and then welcomed and thanked Minister Yang for agreeing to participate in this webinar.


Keynote Speech by Minister Yang Xiaoguang


China’s market is open to all partners from all countries. The opportunities of the Greater Bay Area and China’s development and opening up are enormous.  We are also ready to work with the rest of the world to achieve common development.”              

     – Minister Yang Xiaoguang

Minister Yang Xiaoguang set the stage for discussions about the GBA with a highly informative address. Minister Yang indicated how key the region is, as a vital ‘test bed’ for China’s most progressive reforms which focus on win-win values and deeper integrations and foreign investment openness, adding that the GBA would act as a central growth engine, expected to develop from a GDP today of USD 1.7 trillion, to an expected increase of more the two and a half times, to USD 4.6 trillion by 2030.

The GBA is a test field for building a new economic system with a higher level of opening up.  Since its launch, it has focused on fostering a business environment that is up to advance international standards in terms of the rule of law, supporting infrastructure, and efficiency of administrative services.

Minister Yang went on to note the GBA’s role as an increasingly important platform for international cooperation on the Belt & Road Initiative.  With the GBA on the frontier of China’s opening up, it is not only an important starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, but also an important hub on the Belt and Road Route, creating opportunities and benefits for all participating countries and regions.  As an important hub, Minister Yang highlighted the GBA’s vast multidimensional network of transportation infrastructure, and the future measures China is expected to take to facilitate movement and growth to improve connectivity and the cross-border flow of capital.

It is expected that more funds will be channeled in key areas such as roads, railways, ports, bridges, and power grids to boost international cooperation on production capacity that in turn will drive economic growth of BRI partners and enable all parties to share opportunities and achieve win win results through open cooperation.

In closing, Minister Yang called attention to China’s hope in enhancing international cooperation in innovation, commercialization of research results, green finance, smart cities, international shipping, modern services, ecological conservation and sustainable development, and explore new spaces and opportunities in trade and investment, healthcare, and cultural and creative industries while emphasizing that China’s market is open to all partners from all countries. The opportunities of the Greater Bay Area and China’s development and opening up are enormous.  We are also ready to work with the rest of the world to achieve common development.”

Mr. Devonshire-Ellis thanked Minister Yang for generously contributing his time to the event and business community, before introducing the four topic speakers and panelists who would follow.



The Topic Speakers and Panelists


Amongst the ingredients [of the GBA’s] success are a top-class infrastructure base, a fully integrated supply chain and extended ecosystem – which allows R&D, testing and mass production within a 2-hour circle –  abundant and skilled labor, and an entrepreneurial environment with private investment making up the lion’s share, and finally highly supportive local policies for attracting and retaining the best companies.

            -Alberto Vettoretti 

Alberto VettorettiManaging Partner, Dezan Shira & Associates, set the scene by presenting an overview of the GBA along key pillars of drivers, scale, top infrastructure and as a hotbed for leading global firms.   Mr. Vettoretti presented drivers for growth in how the GBA is “Young”, “Smart”, “Rich”, and “Growing”, and detailed the massive scale and integration already in place within its infrastructure which would underpin the foretold investments to come. He also outlined a number of significant opportunities for firms in key sectors such as education, robotics, medical, fintech, big data, cultural/creativity, and F&B to summarize how and why the GBA’s is set to meteorically rise as one of the world’s leading manufacturing and sourcing hubs.

At the end of June, China has come up with a Belt and Road vaccine partnership initiative which involves 29 countries, 2.7 billion people, 35% of the world’s population…China provides its vaccines to be manufactured in these countries. It also provides loans to these countries to help prop up their health infrastructure … ”   


– Henry Tillman

Henry Tillman, Chairman of China Investment Research, provided an insightful presentation covering the GBA’s role in China’s “Health Silk Road”. This included an overview of the demand for vaccines globally, notable increased capital raising and market capitalizations in Hong Kong’s Biotech and Healthcare sector, as well as the roles of both the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect in building China’s position in vaccine development.  Mr. Tillman noted that while China “can’t catch the West” in terms of vaccinations, its partnerships with more than 35% of the world and commitment are substantially leading the way in helping to vaccinate the rest of the world.

  What’s the way forward for Hong Kong?  Clearly, it’s to integrate into and build on the business opportunities available offered in the Greater Bay Area, but in many areas, this is still really in the conceptual stage.”   


 – Julia Charlton

Julia Charlton
Principal Partner at Charltons Law, provided a robust and well explained overview of Hong Kong’s Role in the GBA, based largely upon its concept of “Integration”. Ms. Charlton outlined Hong Kong’s outstanding strengths and attractiveness for investment in its market size, low and straightforward taxes, thriving IPO market, and strong rule of law, particularly towards financial services and financial technology firms. She also introduced the Stock Connect and Bond Connect, and Wealth Management Connect schemes.  In closing, she highlighted the vital role that Hong Kong plays in Law with pilot measures for Hong Kong and Macao Lawyers to obtain Mainland China practice qualifications, as well as its long-standing role in Dispute Resolution, and its potential in “Mediation Mechanisms” and with contributing towards a future “GBA Mediation Platform”.

  China’s ability to have negotiations and continuing interest in world free trade areas, together with free trade agreements and DTA built on the back of BRI infrastructure, is setting the stage for a new area of free trade on a global basis.”  


                                                               -Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Chris Devonshire-EllisChairman, Dezan Shira & Associates and Publisher of Asia Briefing Limited, provided a comprehensive view of the Belt and Road Initiative. This included China and Hong Kong zero tariff trade agreements, and preferential treatments for Hong Kong investments into China, and other areas. Mr. Devonshire-Ellis then provided a wider overview of China and Hong Kong’s Double Tax Treaties and regional Free Trade Agreements, including specific analyses of RCEP, CPTPP, EAEU and AfCFTA.


Panelists Q&A Session

In the Q&A session, the panelists took several questions which touched upon building corridors between Hong Kong and the GBA to encourage and incentivize professionals to relocate to South China, dual circulation and its impacts on the GBA and Hong Kong, along with how international firms can access the Health Silk Road via the GBA.

  • Ms. Charlton shared her insights on the relocation of professionals to South China from Hong Kong, highlighting that it would be a process of osmosis rather than mass exodus. With the GBA putting in place numerous initiations and schemes to facilitate the move such as relaxation of visas, grants for entrepreneurs, increased market access, and ease of ability to purchase property in Mainland China, many may realize the benefits of relocation outweigh the costs.
  • To answer the question of dual circulation and its impacts on the GBA and Hong Kong, Mr. Vettoretti underlined the opportunities investors will find as the GBA takes on a pioneering role in exploring China manufacturing 2.0, creating wealth and opportunities for foreign and local firms alike.
  • Mr. Tillman then spoke about the opportunities for western and other international business to access the Health Silk Road via the GBA. He emphasized the opportunities available within the GBA for pre-IPO and VC invested firms, and the need for a strategy hedged between the GBA and other emerging markets with high demand for PPE and biotechnology.
  • Many additional questions were proposed by the audience, however the webinar had hit its 90 minutes mark, and was concluded with heartfelt thanks from Mr. Devonshire-Ellis to all speakers and attendees.

    All unanswered questions are to be followed up by email.

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Get in Touch

Feel free to get in touch if you have business or investment related questions about the GBA, in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, or other regions in China or Asia where our experts are placed to support your needs.

Publications about the GBA

Learn more about the China’s Greater Bay area from our subsidiary publisher China Briefing, who has recently published a magazine on the GBA and Doing Business guides for China and Hong Kong:


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