Smart city and technology

Guangzhou’s Greater Bay Area attracts research to support its regional development

Between the 20th and the 21st of June, the city of Guangzhou hosted a Forum on Global City Research. As well as focusing on city rankings and the challenges facing metropolises, it also provided Guangzhou with the opportunity to present its vision for the future.

As the third largest city in China, Guangzhou is increasingly looking to grow its international profile in order to become a key player on the global stage. And it was in this optic that the metropolis hosted the Guangzhou Forum on Global City Research between the 20th and the 21st of June.

The forum was co-organized by the Guangzhou Academy of Social Science and Metropolis, and provided a platform for researchers and institutions to present their most recent findings. While the Mori Memorial Foundation (MMF), the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC), Oxford Economics and the Strelka Institute were among the most well-known bodies represented, the presence of many local and regional researchers must not be forgotten and was just as valuable.

One of the most interesting aspects of the forum was the focus on updating global city rankings, which made the presence of GaWC particularly relevant, given that it publishes perhaps the most important city ranking system in the world. Beyond that, researchers debated the many challenges and trends facing global cities in this rapidly changing world. Finally, much of the forum focused on Guangzhou’s development in particular and ended with a visit to Nansha Port, the 5th largest in the world.

As alluded to above, the metropolitan space (known as the Greater Bay Area) is rapidly growing and is looking to increasingly shift its focus towards high-tech industries, and hoping to one day rival the Silicon Valley in the IT industry. At the same time, Guangzhou has been working to cement its international profile, and has thus become one of Metropolis’s most active members, as the seat of one of our regional secretariats and as the co-president of our association. Furthermore, the Chinese metropolis also operates our Urban Innovation Program.

Organizer Zhang Yuego, from the Guangzhou Academy of Social Science said it best when he summed up the metropolis’s aims in this way: “[The] Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, is one of the most open and economically dynamic areas in China. Guangzhou will make full use of the opportunity of building world class bay area, comprehensively enhance the function of international business center and integrated transportation hub, cultivate and enhance the function of science, technology, education and culture center, and focus on building an international metropolis”

Agnès Bickart, our senior manager for International Relations & the Asia portfolio was also present at the forum, and took the opportunity to encourage the activation of Chinese Metropolis members Nanjing and Jinan. “This forum offers a sneak peek at what is being prepared by Guangzhou for our 13th Metropolis World Congress to be held in Guangzhou 28-30 October 2020", she commented. The development of Greater Bay Area will certainly be highlighted as one of the pillars of the programme”