Human Resources



Latest market and talent trends in the Greater Bay Area

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At a luncheon organised by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, appointed member of advisory bodies of the Hong Kong government and former human resources director at DFS Group, Wilfred Wong, summarised the latest market trends in talent development in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the unique advantages of Hong Kong talent.

Hong Kong’s unique advantages in the Greater Bay Area

  • Being the most international city in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong has a business-friendly environment, good tradition of the rule of law, free economic system, and well-established information technology infrastructure and financial system, as well as a wealth of high-end talents and professional services with extensive knowledge on global markets.
  • According to the 13th Five-Year Plan, Hong Kong is a global offshore Renminbi business hub and an international asset management centre; and promotes financing services, business and commerce, logistics and professional services towards high-end and high value-added development.
  • Hong Kong will develop the innovation and technology industry, nurture emerging industries, establish itself as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Hong Kong will also leverage its unique advantages to form complementary functions with other cities in the Greater Bay Area, extending the scope to the international arena and leading to the integration of the Greater Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative.

“These are the areas you want to develop if you want to compete in Hong Kong,” Wong said.

Wong showcased the primary business and unique advantages of 10 other GBA locations: Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, and Zhaoqing. The key points of each are outlined below.


  • Since the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region, the economy has maintained high growth rates driven by the tourism and gambling industries.
  • The gambling and junket activities are the main pillars of Macau, accounting for 47.2% of its overall industrial structure in 2016.


  • Guangzhou focuses on advanced manufacturing industries with three pillar industries: Automobiles, electronics and petrochemicals. They are supported by six cutting-edge production bases for automobiles, ship and marine engineering equipment, nuclear power equipment, computer numerical control equipment, petrochemicals and fine steel manufacturing. There are also more than 50 industrial areas and parks, focusing on automobiles, petrochemicals and electronics in the east, port-related equipment manufacturing in the south, and an airport-based economy in the north.


  • The four main industries of Shenzhen are advanced technology, modern logistics, financial services and cultural industry. Shenzhen focuses on the development of seven emerging industries of strategic importance, namely biotechnology, the internet, new energy, new materials, cultural and creative industries, new generation information technology, as well as energy conservation and environmental protection. Plus future industries on life and health, marine, aerospace and aviation, robots, wearable devices, and smart equipment.


  • The six basic industries of Zhuhai are electronic information, home appliances, electricity and energy, biopharmaceuticals and medical devices, petrochemicals and precision machinery. While printing supplies and yacht manufacturing are the other two specialist industries.


  • Foshan’s economy is manufacturing based, including industries in which Foshan enjoys strengths such as machinery equipment, household appliances, ceramic building materials, metal processing and metal products, textiles and garments, electronic information, food and beverages, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals and household goods. As well as emerging industries including optoelectronics, environmental protection, new materials, new medicines, and new-energy vehicles.
  • Known for its fish pond systems and mulberry, banana, and sugarcane production, Foshan’s development of modern agriculture, focusing on horticulture, aquaculture, and animal husbandry has accelerated.
  • Foshan has the largest plantation base of Phalaenopsis (a type of orchid) in the country and the largest plantation base of high-quality lilies in the province. Foshan has been one of the cities in the first batch of national demonstration base for agricultural industrialisation.


  • The province of Huizhou is resource rich. There are more than 30 kinds of mineral resources underground, such as iron, coal, tungsten and titanium. Huizhou is also noted for agricultural products including rice, sugarcane, peanuts and lychees. There are over 800 types of aquatic products. High-quality salt is produced along the coastal areas. Local specialties, including mei cai (dried pickled vegetables), glutinous rice wine, tangerines, chickens, herbal oils, calamari, abalones, South China Sea pearls and bamboo shoots.
  • Huizhou also has beautiful natural environment. The forest cover rate has reached 62.4%. Huizhou has consistently been ranked the top 10 in terms of air quality among major cities in the country. Its green development index is ranked the first in the Guangdong Province.
  • Electronic information and petrochemicals are pillar industries of Huizhou. Together with automotive and equipment manufacturing as well as clean energy industries, they form the modern industrial system of Huizhou.
  • Huizhou is the country’s production base for women’s shoes and is also famous for menswear. It’s also an important production base for clean energy.


  • Dongguan’s main industries are electronic information, electrical machinery and equipment; textile, garment, shoes and accessories; food and beverage processing, and papermaking and paper products. It has also formed a cluster of emerging industries including LED lighting and photovoltaics.


  • Zhongshan is a base for advanced manufacturing and modern service industries. It’s also a pilot city for industrial upgrading in Guangdong Province. Key industries of the industrial cluster in Zhongshan are equipment manufacturing, household appliances, textiles and garment, electronics, lighting, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, furniture, small home appliances and hardware products, as well as emerging industries such as the modern service industry and the yacht industry. The port-area equipment manufacturing base hosts many large-scale state-owned enterprises. The only bonded logistics centre on the west bank of the Pearl River Estuary is located in Zhongshan.


  • Development of Jiangmen’s strategic emerging industries is rapid. These industries include new energy, new lighting, new materials, high-end equipment manufacturing, and green household appliances. Jiangmen also has a comprehensive industrial system, with motorcycles and auto parts manufacturing, textiles and garments, papermaking, shipbuilding, food, packaging materials, bathroom accessories and sanitary hardware, printing, and electromechanics among the key industries.
  • Jiangmen is an important source of supply of agricultural products and by-products for the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong and Macau. It’s the first agricultural cooperation pilot zone with Taiwan in the Guangdong province.


  • Zhaoqing focuses on the development of new energy vehicles industry, advanced equipment manufacturing, energy conservation and environmental protection, high-end new electronic information and biomedicine. It’s also proactively developing three industrial clusters valued at over RMB100 billion on new energy vehicles, advanced equipment manufacturing, energy conservation and environmental protection.
  • Zhaoqing is Guangdong’s main gold-producing area. The gold mines are mainly in Gaoyao District, Huaiji County and Fengkai County. Nonmetallic mines include limestones for cement, limestones for flux, gypsum, granite for overcoating, granite for construction, porcelain clay, ink-stone, mineral water and geothermal water. Inkstone is a unique ornamental stone in Zhaoqing, and duanyan ranks first among the four famous inkstones in China.
  • Zhaoqing also boasts spectacular mountains and historical scenic spots. Xinghu Lake is one of the first national key scenic spots. Provincial-level scenic spots include the Fengkai Lungshan and Huaiji Yanyan. Dinghu Mountain is one of the four famous mountains in Guangdong. It’s the first nature reserve in China and is listed by UNESCO as an international biosphere reserve.
Wong advised that the key to success in GBA cities depends on TEAMS— an acronym for Technical Know-how, Entrepreneurial, Accountable, Multi-Dimensional or Matrix, Sustainable— instead of individual talent.

The ideal talents are multi-dimensional. They use their people skills to connect with experts in different areas, and they have certain technical know-how to compete in the area that they are interested in. If they don’t have a specific skill, they are able to find team members who do have the skill, Wong observed.

“If you want to succeed in Greater Bay Area cities, don’t rely on others and find your own opportunity. Be aware that other people might do the same,” Wong concluded.

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