The integration of cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the fields of science and technological innovation will unleash enormous potential for cooperation, according to officials and scientists attending a science forum on Sunday.
"Potential cooperation in science and technology within the Greater Bay Area will be unparalleled in other urban agglomerations, given that the area is a gathering place for high-end talent, both domestic and foreign," said Leung Chun-Ying, vice-chairman of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Leung made the remarks during the opening ceremony of the Greater Bay Area Science Forum on Sunday in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The forum, initiated by the Alliance of International Science Organizations and hosted by the Guangdong provincial government, focuses on marine science, nanoscience, high-energy physics, advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence.
"By utilizing Hong Kong's international financial services, international trade services, and international intellectual property protection and trading services, the scientific and technological innovations in the Greater Bay Area will be greatly enhanced," Leung said.
In a video speech delivered to the forum, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said cities in the GBA have various advantages and can strengthen the collaborative innovation and development of industry, academia and research.
"The high-end manufacturing industry in Guangdong is thriving, providing solid support for the mass production of scientific and technological research and development achievements," he said.
The GBA, which comprises nine cities in Guangdong and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, has seen rapid development of its science and technological innovations over the years. The area has seen a surge in patent applications, with a dominance in overseas invention patents licensed nationwide, according to a report on the patent index regarding the GBA.
According to the report, which was released during the forum, overseas invention patents in the area accounted for more than a quarter of the country's total overseas invention patents licensed between 2017 and 2022.
Macao will actively participate in the construction of the GBA science and technology innovation corridor, strengthening the coordinated development of key industries within the area, according to Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng.
Citing abundant scientific and technological innovation resources in the area, Wang Weizhong, governor of Guangdong, said the province would work closely with the two SARs to promote the construction of an international science and technology innovation center and a comprehensive national science center in the GBA.
Guangdong's spending on research and development reached 420 billion yuan ($60.3 billion) last year, according to the provincial science and technology department.
While discussing his cooperation with Chinese scientists over the past five decades, Samuel Chao Chung Ting, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1976, said China has fostered many world-class experimental physicists who have the ability to develop new technologies.
"They have the imagination, experience and ability to lead the international science community by serving at the forefront of experimental physics," said the Chinese American scientist, who is also a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
During the three-day forum, a high-quality development report on sci-tech innovation and cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative, and an innovation index report on the GBA will be released.
In addition, a foundation on scientific research was established by He Xiangjian, founder of Chinese home appliances manufacturer Midea Group, during the forum on Sunday.