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Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Synergy Innovation Development Report

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1. Introduction

In today’s world, bay areas have become important growth poles and engines for global economic development and technological innovation. World-class bay areas include the New York City Bay Area (New York Metropolitan Area) known for its finance sectors, the San Francisco Bay Area that is a science and technology hub, and the Tokyo Bay Area (Greater Tokyo Area) known for its manufacturing strengths. As a new member in bay areas, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area for short) has begun to become a bright spot in the global economic map, with the potential to be the fourth pole of economic growth in the future.
 

The construction of the Greater Bay Area is a national strategy that President Xi Jinping has planned, deployed and promoted. As delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, we should continue to support Hong Kong and Macao in integrating their own development into the overall development of the country. We should give priority to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao, and regional cooperation in the pan-Pearl River Delta, thus fully advancing mutually beneficial cooperation between the mainland and the two regions. To further enhance the Greater Bay Area's supporting and leading role in national economic development and opening up and support the integration of Hong Kong and Macao into the development of the country, the Central Committe of the Communist Party of China and the State Council released the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Plan for short) in February 2019. The plan pointed out that we should implement the innovation-driven development strategy, improve the regional synergistic innovation system, pool together international innovation resources, and develop an internationally competitive innovation development area. 

Patents can reflect the innovation capability of a country or region. This report shall use patents as an important scale in measuring the innovation capability of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and innovative dimensions are used as an important evaluation index. Analysis shall be made on the patent data of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the past five years (2014-2018), which will be compared with the data of the New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo bay areas. From the comparison, advantages and disadvantages of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (including the east coast of the Pearl River, the west coast, and the Hong Kong-Macao region) shall be concluded, so as to explore the means and directions for its development toward the goal of a world-class bay area. 

 

2. Data source and exposition

The report makes use of the patent database of Clarivate Analytics (formerly the Intellectual Property and Science Division of Thomson Reuters). Statistics will be made on the data of the patent data of the New York City Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Tokyo Bay Area and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area for the period between 2014 and 2018.

To analyze the innovation institutions and industries of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the total patents of each city in the past five years (2014-2018) are calculated. Innovation institutions in each city were ranked according to the number of patents they owned, and the top 500 of them was selected as representative innovation institutions. Analysis shall be made on the industries involving innovation institutions of the Greater Bay Area, so as to provide a comprehensive picture of the innovation institutions in the Greater Bay Area.

The innovation capability is measured by four indexes: invention patents, PCT patents, cited patents and patent families, as compared with those of the New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo Bay Area. The report for the first time takes into consideration of the performance of cross-city synergy innovation development in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and compare with the other three bay areas. Based on the comparison, it shall put forward suggestions to stimulate the synergy innovation development in the regions of the Greater Bay Area.

 

3. Four patent indexes

Using four measurement indexes - invention patents, PCT patents, cited patents and patent families, this report takes into consideration the innovation capability of the New York City Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area and compares the three regions with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Based on this comparison, it analyzes the distribution of innovative industries in the east coast, the west coast and the Hong Kong-Macao region in the Greater Bay Area, as well as the number of patents, distribution of innovation institutions and the institutions’ leading industries, looking for a breakthrough in the strategy of innovation-driven development.

3.1 Invention patents

Invention patents serve as a significant indicator in measuring the innovation capability of a nation or region. The report reviews the total number of patents in the 11 cities under the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in comparison with those of the New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo bay areas, so as to explore the way of development lead by innovation for the Greater Bay Area.
 

3.1.1 Number of invention patents in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

Statistics revealed a continuous increase in the annual number of registered patents in the Greater Bay Area between 2014 and 2018, from 103,610 to 330,832, though there was fluctuation in the growth rate. The total number of invention patents in 2015 increased by 49.67 percent year-on-year, with the biggest increment of more than 50,000 pieces; and in 2016 by 24.92 percent, the smallest increment, with a total increase of nearly 40,000 pieces. From the analysis of the average annual growth rate, the average annual growth rate of the total number of invention patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the past five years was 33.68 percent, which showed a steady upward trend as a whole.

Graph 3-1 Number and growth rate of invention patents in Guangdong-HK -Macao Greater Bay Area
 

Based on location, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is divided into the east coast, west coast and the Hong Kong-Macao region. The east coast  (Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou) boasted more invention patents than the west coast (Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing) and the Hong Kong-Macao region (Hong Kong, Macao).

Graph 3-2 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

 

Data from the past five years showed that the total number of invention patents on the east coast was nearly 620,000, but the average annual growth rate was slightly lower than that in 2013 to 2017. The total number of invention patents on the west coast has increased significantly in the past five years, with an average annual growth rate of 51.23 percent. The west coast of the Pearl River, centered on Guangzhou, is moving towards an innovative city. The total number of invention patents in Hong Kong-Macao region has steadily increased at an average annual growth rate of 7.84 percent, which was lower than the east coast and the west coast.

Graph 3-3 Number and growth rate of Guangdong-HK -Macao Greater Bay Area regional invention patents  
 

3.1.2 Comparison of numbers of invention patents in four bay areas

Data showed that in the past five years, the total number of invention patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has surpassed the New York Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area and Tokyo Bay Area, ranking first in the world's four largest bay areas. The Tokyo Bay Area, relying on its developed industrial base to continuously promote scientific and technological innovation. Its total number of invention patents ranked second, but there was a downward trend in its average annual growth rate. The number of invention patents in the New York City Bay Area and San Francisco Bay Area continued to decline, with the biggest decline in 2015. The growth rate of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in 2015 was nearly 50 percent, which recorded a peak of increment in the total number of invention patents.

Graph 3-4 Number and growth rate of invention patents in the four bay areas

 

Compared with the New York City Bay Area, the total number of invention patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was bigger than that of the New York City Bay Area each year in the period between 2014 and 2018, and the gap continued to widen year by year. In 2014, the total number of invention patents in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was 2.16 times that of the New York City Bay Area and increased to 8.64 times in 2018.

Graph 3-5 Number of invention patents: Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area vs. New York City Bay Area


From 2014 to 2018, the total number of invention patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was bigger than that of the San Francisco Bay Area, which leads by technological innovation. While the San Francisco Bay has seen a decrease in the number of invention patents since 2014, there was a steady increment in the Greater Bay, reaching 330,000 in 2018, about 6 times that of the San Francisco Bay area.

Graph 3-6 Number of invention patents: Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area vs. San Francisco Bay area
 

Graph 3-7 Number of invention patents: Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area vs. Tokyo Bay area


Compared with the Tokyo Bay Area, the total number of invention patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in 2014 was smaller, accounting for 68.82 percent of that in the Tokyo Bay Area. In 2015, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area surpassed the Tokyo Bay Area and the gap between two bay areas continued to widen year by year. In 2018, the total number of invention patents of the former was about 2.35 times that of the latter.
 

3.1.3 Comparison of four bay areas in industries that owned invention patents

Invention patents of the four bay areas are classified following the IPC (International Patent Classification) method. The following is a list of the various categories.

 

Table 3-1 IPC classification

With the rapid development of the electronic information technology, communication technology and other industries, the biggest category of invention patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the past five years fell in the H section (Electricity), accounting for 30.17 percent of the total, followed by G section (Physics) which accounted for 25.3 percent, while D section (Textiles; Paper) accounted for the smallest portion of the total for less than 1 percent. This indicated an uncoordinated industrial structures lead by the unbalanced development of industries in the Greater Bay Area. Therefore, for a better industrial coordination and regional synergy development in the Greater Bay Area, it is necessary to speed up the transformation, upgrade of traditional industry and constantly enhance the core competitiveness in emerging industry and manufacturing industry. Compared with 2013 to 2017, the proportion of B, G and H sections has relatively decreased, and the rest sections saw an increase in invention patents, showing a trend towards a balanced development of the industry.

Statistics of the eight sections of patents in the four bay areas revealed that the smallest standard deviation of percentages (0.092) was found in the New York City Bay Area, indicating a comparatively balanced distribution of patents in all sections in the region. The biggest standard deviation of percentages (0.147) was found in the San Francisco Bay Area, with patents concentrating in G and H sections. The figure for both the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area were 0.097 and 0.099, respectively.

Graph 3-8 Distribution of industry sections of invention patents in the four bay areas

 
In terms of industry structure, there was a trend of highly similarity between the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area. The dominant industries in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area were H, G, B, A, C, F, E, and D section in turn. The dominant industries in the Tokyo Bay Area were H, G, B, C, A, F, E and D section in turn. Except for the section A and C, the order of all sections was the same between the two bay areas.

G section (Physics) patents owned by the San Francisco Bay Area accounted for 39.02 percent of the category total, 13 percent higher than the runner-up Tokyo Bay Area. A section (Human Necessities) patents owned by the New York City Bay Area accounted for 26.39 percent of the category total, 14 percent higher than the runner-up Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The San Francisco Bay Area, which is famous for technology, and the New York Bay Area, famous for finance, have their own characteristics in terms of the distribution of invention patents. Compared with the other three bay areas, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area had a leading edge in D section (Textiles; Paper), E section (Fixed Constructions) and F section (Mechanical Engineering; Lighting; Heating; Weapons; Blasting Engines or Pumps); while it was rather weak (coming third or fourth among the four bay areas) in A section (Human Necessities), C section (Chemistry; Metallurgy) and G section (Physics).

 

3.2 PCT patents

PCT stands for Patent Cooperation Treaty. By filing one international patent application under the PCT, the applicant can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in a large number of countries. The number of PCT patents in a region can reflect the innovation ability of a region and the degree of participation of enterprises or institutions in the international competition.
 

3.2.1 Comparison of numbers of PCT patents in four bay areas

The data of the past five years showed that the number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area had been on a rise, while the number of PCT patents of the Tokyo Bay Area remained stable. The San Francisco Bay Area saw a downward trend of PCT patents in the first two years, then an upward trend in the following three years; while in the New York City Bay Area, the amount of PCT patents was in a downward trend as a whole.

In 2018, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area applied for 27,800 PCT patents, ranking the second among the four bay areas. For the Tokyo Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Area and the New York City Bay Area, the figures were 29,800, 7,700 and 8,000 respectively. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area witnessed a higher growth rate of 30.05 percent in PCT patents, than the other three bay areas (The growth rates of Tokyo, San Francisco and New York City bay areas were respectively 4.13 percent, 7.38 percent and 0.21 percent). This indicated a promising development achieved by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Graph 3-9 PCT patents in the four bay areas 

 

Graph 3-10 Number of PCT patents: Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area vs. Tokyo Bay Area

 

Data showed that from 2014 to 2018, the total number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was less than that of Tokyo Bay Area, but the gap narrowed year by year. In 2015, the total number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was 49 percent of that in the Tokyo Bay Area. The gap was narrowed from 2016 to 2018 and the ratio reached 93 percent in 2018. In the past three years, the number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was up to the equivalent to Tokyo Bay area from its half.

Graph 3-11 Number of PCT patents: Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area vs. San Francisco Bay Area

 

From 2014 to 2018, the total number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was bigger than that in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the gap continued to widen. In 2014, the total number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was approximately 1.5 times that of the San Francisco Bay Area, approximately 2 times in 2015, 3 times in 2017 and more than 3.5 times in 2018.

From 2014 to 2018, the total number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was bigger than that of the New York City Bay Area, and the gap continued to widen. In 2014, the total number of PCT patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was slightly bigger than that in the New York City Bay Area. In 2016, it was nearly twice that of the New York City Bay Area. In the past two years, the gap has been widened and in 2018, the amount of PCT patents of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was about 3.5 times that of the New York City Bay Area.

Graph 3-12 Number of PCT patents in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area vs. New York City Bay Area

 

3.2.2 Number of PCT Patents in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area 

From 2014 to 2018, the number of PCT patents owned by the east coast of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was bigger than that of the west coast of the Pearl River and Hong Kong-Macao region. The west coast of the Pearl River saw a year-on-year increase in the number of PCT patents with a significant rise in 2017. The east coast of the Pearl River experienced an obvious fluctuation in the growth rate of PCT patents, with a sharp decline in 2015 but a steady growth in 2016 and 2017. In the Hong Kong-Macao region, the number of PCT patents was relatively small, being less than 1,000 pieces each year, and saw negative growth in 2014 but big increase in 2015 and 2017.

In the recent five years, there was a steady but unbalanced growth in the number of PCT patents among the three regions of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which reflected the distinct differences in innovation capability among the regions. The total number of PCT patents of the east coast of the Pearl River was 76,182 pieces, which was 7 times that of the west coast of the Pearl River (10,309 pieces), and 17 times that of the Hong Kong-Macao region (4,406 pieces). 

Graph 3-13 Fluctuation of the total number of PCT patents in different regions of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

 

Among the 11 cities listed in the following graphic, Macao had the highest annual compound growth rate of PCT patent at 87.65 percent, followed by Foshan, Dongguan, Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Huizhou. However, with only 5 PCT patents in 2014, the total number of PCT patents of Macao was comparatively small. Compared to other cities in the Greater Bay Area, Shenzhen owned the highest number of PCT patents. In spite of a slowdown in compound growth of PCT patents, Shenzhen still stood out with strong capability in technological innovation.

Graph 3-14 Annual compound growth rate of PCT patents in Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area in 2014-2018  

 

3.3 Cited Patents

This term refers to the amount of patent citations, which indicate the times of follow-up applications of a patent under observation. The number of citations can reflect the quality of a patent, and a frequently cited patent is always a high-quality patent. Comparison shall be made among the patent citations of the four bay areas in this chapter.
 

3.3.1 Comparison of the Patent Citation in the four bay areas

Statistics showed that Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area had more invention patents, but its number of citations was much smaller than that of the other bay areas in 2014-2018.

Graph 3-15 Comparison of the Number of Invention Patents and Invention Patent Citations in the Four Bay Areas

 

The quality of a patent can also be measured by the ratio of the times of patent citation to the total number of invention patent. Data showed that, except for the Greater Bay Area (With a ratio of 0.90), the ratio of the bay areas were above 1. This indicated that the high quality of patents in the San Francisco Bay Area, the New York Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area. Compared with other bay areas, the San Francisco Bay Area which takes Silicon Valley as a center, had a leading edge in cited patents, with a ratio of 4.35.

From 2014 to 2018, the proportion of invention patents citations to the total patents citations in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was smaller than those of the other three bay areas, accounting for only 69.43 percent. Data showed that the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, dominated by technological innovation, is forming a diverse and innovative economic community.

Graph 3-16 Numbers of Patent Citation and Invention Patent Citation

 

3.3.2 Patent Citation of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

Data showed that in 2014-2018, in terms of the number of patent (619,201 pieces) and invention patents (464,237 pieces), the east coast of the Pearl River surpassed those of the west coast of the Pearl River and Hong Kong-Macao region, indicating that the east coast of the Pearl River as a core district of technological innovation in the Greater Bay Area. As for the ratio of invention patents to the total patents, both the east coast and Hong Kong-Macao region boasted high percentage of more than 70 percent, while the west coast of the Pearl River was only 54.75 percent. This indicated that the west coast of the Pearl River narrowly lagged behind both the east coast of the Pearl River and Hong Kong and Macao region in the quality of invention patents. 

Graph 3-17 Number of Invention Patents and Invention Patent Citations in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area


As for the ratio of invention patent citation to the total amount of patent citation, the east coast of the Pearl River and the Hong Kong-Macao region were 73.35 percent and 72.93 percent respectively, while the figure for the west coast of the Pearl River was only 59.89 percent, which demonstrated that the east coast of the Pearl River and the Hong Kong-Macao region are dominated by technological innovation. In the west coast of the Pearl River, apart from technological innovation patents, the total number of appearance patents and utility model patents accounted for nearly 40 percent.

There was a connection between the invention patents and characteristic of a city. More specifically, Shenzhen boasted more patents than other east coast cities, for it has many worldwide high-tech enterprises working on technological innovation. In Hong Kong and Macao region, Hong Kong owned more patents for it is a global center of finance, shipping, trade and higher education, which provided a solid foundation for technological innovation. Guangzhou and Foshan boasted more patents than other west coast cities, for Guangdong showed significant strength in universities and research institutes, providing a foundation of diversified development, and Foshan stood out as an advanced manufacturing base with the strength of innovation.

Graph 3-18 Citation of total patents and invention patents in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

 

3.4 Patent family

A patent family is a set of patents taken in various countries (districts) and published in one language or different languages, to protect a single version. (In this report, the patent family refers to the DWPI patent family.)

3.4.1 Comparison of numbers of patent family in the four bay areas
In the recent five years, the number of DWPI patent family of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area kept rising. The number of the DWPI patents in San Francisco Bay Area, the New York City Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area has seen a decrease since 2015 and approximated to zero growth in 2018. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has been increasing distance from the other three bay areas in the development of patent families, and had 545,200 patent families in 2018, far surpassing the San Francisco Bay Area with 45,100 patent families, the New York City Bay Area with 32,700 and the Tokyo Bay Area with 117,100 patent families. 

Graph 3-19 Comparison of DWPI patents families in four bay areas

 

3.4.2 Number of patent families in Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area

Graph 3-20 Annual change of DWPI patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

 

From 2014 to 2018, the number of DWPI patents owned by the east coast cities of the Pearl River was more than that of the west coast of the Pearl River or that of the Hong Kong-Macao region. The east coast had 287,900 DWPI patents in 2018, with an increase of 69,200 pieces and an increase rate at 32 percent from 2017. The west coast had over 247,200 DWPI patents, with an increase of 71,700 and a growth rate at 41 percent from 2017. The Hong Kong-Macao region had 10,000 DWPI patents, with an increase of 3,600 and a growth rate at 54 percent from 2017. Since 2016, the east and the west coast of the Pearl River saw stable growth in DWPI patents and Hong Kong-Macao region had a significant increase to 54 percent in 2018 from the negative growth occurred in 2014.

Graph 3-21 Annual DWPI patent compound growth rate from 2014 to 2018 in the Greater Bay Area

 
Data showed that, all cities under the Greater Bay Area saw continuous increase in annual compound growth rate, Foshan city and Dongguan city took a lead with a rate of more than 50 percent, which indicated that these two cities have developed rapidly in innovation in the past five years. Shenzhen had the largest number of DWPI patents, but its compound growth rate was relatively low. The compound growth rate of DWPI patents of Hong Kong in the past five years was 15.64 percent, which was the lowest in all cities, but Hong Kong saw a significant increase from 2013 (2.46 percent). It is important for Hong Kong to take advantage of its superior geographical position, and advance the industrial cooperation, resource sharing and common development with other cities in the Greater Bay Area.

 

4. Analysis on industries involving innovation institutions in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

4.1 Overall 

According to the national economy industry classification standard GB/ T 4754-2017, Top 500 representative innovation institutions were classified into 11 industries categories, including the manufacturing, scientific research and technical service industry, information transfer, software and information technology service industry, wholesale retail trade industry, electricity and heating power production and supply industry, health care and social work industry, business service industry, construction industry, financial industry, transport, storage and post industry, culture, sports and entertainment industry etc., universities and research institutes, which are a major source of innovations, were classified into the “universities and research institutes” category.

Statistics showed that 257 of Top 500 representative innovation institutions belonged to the category of manufacturing industry, covering 17 subcategories, among which 115 innovation institutions belonged to the computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry, accounting for 23 percent of 500 samples. 58 institutions belonged to the electrical machinery and equipment manufacturing industry, with a proportion of 11.6 percent.

A total of 68 universities and research institutions were selected as leading innovation institutions. This category was second to the computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry, which indicated that the Greater Bay Area has a strong innovation ability in the science and education.
There were 58 institutions in scientific research and technology service industry, and 52 institutions in information transmission, software and information service industry, and both of the industries commanded had a proportion of more than 10 percent.

Table 4-1 Industry distribution of leading innovation institutions in Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area 


 

4.2 Analysis on west coast cities, east coast cities and Hong Kong-Macao region

According to the statistics, in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the east coast cities took dominant position in the number of industries that owned the invention patents, while the west coast cities had the biggest number of innovation institutions.


Graph 4-1 Distribution of innovation institutions in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

 
Analysis shall be made on the proportion of the number of innovation institutions of each region to the 500 samples. Of 47 universities and research institutes from the west coast, 35 are located in Guangzhou, which accounted for 51.57 percent in the universities and research institutes in the Greater Bay Area. Of 6 health and social work innovation institutions from west coast, 5 are located in Guangzhou, accounting for 55.56 percent of health and social work institutions in the Greater Bay Area, namely Nanfang Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou General Hospital of the Guangzhou Military Area, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, which indicated the significant strength in higher education and health care of Guangzhou.

The east coast cities, in particular Shenzhen, demonstrated strong innovation ability in electronic and information industry. Of 115 selected innovation institutions in the report belonged to computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry, 71.30 percent (82 institutions) were from the east coast of the Pearl River, with 64 located in Shenzhen. Of 52 selected innovation institutions belonged to information transmission, software and information technology service industry, 76.92 percent (40 institutions) were from the east coast cities, with 38 located in Shenzhen.

 

Table 4-2 Proportion of industries involving innovation institutions in each region of Guangdong-Hong Kong - Macao Greater Bay Area


 

4.2.1 Analysis on west coast cities

Data showed that, 220 innovation institutions belonged to 24 industries were from the west coast of the Pearl River, with 47 belonged to the category of universities and research institutes, which commanded a dominant position among all industries in the west coast. Ranking second and third were the electrical machinery and equipment manufacturing industry (34 institutions) and the scientific research and technical service industry (33 institutions), respectively.

With 101 innovation institutions collected as samples, the west coast cities showed significant strength in manufacture industry, covering 15 industry categories, such as the electrical machinery and equipment manufacturing industry and computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry.

 

Table 4-3 Distribution of industries involving innovation institutions in west coast of Guangdong-Hong Kong - Macao Greater Bay Area

4.2.2 Analysis on east coast cities

According to the statistics, 258 innovation institutions belonged to 22 industries were from the east coast cities. The top three industries were the computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry (82 institutions), and the information transmission, software and information technology service industry (40 institutions) and the scientific research and technical service industry (28 institutions). Of the 82 institutions belonged to the computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry, 78.05 percent (64 institutions) were located in Shenzhen, 12.20 percent (10 institutions) in Dongguan and 9.75 percent (8 institutions) in Huizhou.  
 

Table 4-4 Distribution of industries involving innovation institutions in east coast of Guangdong-Hong Kong - Macao Greater Bay Area

 

4.2.3 Analysis on Hong Kong-Macao region

Statistics revealed that, 22 innovation institutions belonged to 9 industries were from the Hong Kong-Macao region. The universities and research institutes (6 institutions) commanded the highest proportion among the industries in the Hong-Kong region. The second position was shared by the computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry (4 institutions) and the electrical machinery and equipment manufacturing industry (4 institutions), followed by the scientific research and technical service industry in the third position (3 institutions).
 

Table 4-5 Distribution of industries involving innovation institutions in Hong Kong-Macao region in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area



4.3 Main industries

1) Emerging technology industry

Graph 4-2 Distribution of emerging technology innovation institutions in Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area

 
Emerging technology include the computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry, the information transmission, software and information technology service industry and the scientific research and technical service industry. Statistics indicated that, there were 231 innovation institutions in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area belonged to emerging technology industry. The distribution of innovation institutions in each city was demonstrated in the graphic above. Shenzhen and Guangzhou showed significant strength in the number of the innovation institutions of emerging technology industry, while Shenzhen had a leading edge in the number of innovation institutions belonged to emerging technology industry.
 

2) Sundry manufacture industries

 
Graph 4-3 Distribution of sundry manufacture industries in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

 
Except for the computer, communications and other electronics equipment manufacturing industry, 17 categories of manufacture industry in this report were collectively referred to as ‘sundry manufacture industries’, namely electrical machinery and equipment manufacturing industry, special equipment manufacturing industry, general equipment manufacturing industry, chemical materials and chemical product manufacturing industry, metal products industry, pharmaceutics, medical research and production industry, railway, ships, aerospace and other transportation equipment manufacturing industry, rubber and plastic product industry, automobile industry, instruments manufacturing industry, ferrous metal smelting and rolling processing industry, oil and gas extraction industry, non-metallic minerals products industry, textile, clothing and apparel industry, tobacco industry and other manufacture industry.

Statistics indicated that, there were 142 innovation institutions in the Greater Bay Area belonged to sundry manufacture industries. The distribution of innovation institutions in each city was demonstrated in the graphic above. In terms of the innovation institutions belonged to sundry manufacture industries in the Greater Bay Area, Shenzhen, Foshan, Guangzhou and Dongguan took the largest proportion, and the distribution of innovation institutions belonged to the sundry manufacture industry was comparatively balanced.
 

3) Universities and research institutes 

The distribution of universities and research institutions in each city was demonstrated in the graphic below. Shenzhen and Guangzhou led other cities in the number of the innovation institutions of universities and research institutions, while Guangzhou took a lead in the amount of universities and research institutions.

Graph 4-4 Distribution of universities and research institutions in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area 
 

5. Analysis on cross-city synergy innovation development in the world’s four bay areas

The analysis on cross-border synergy innovation development among the Great Bay Area cities was based on the patents which were jointly applied, researched and developed by two or more cities. This report shall use cross-city patent cooperation ratio (a ratio of the number of the patents jointly developed by two or more cities to the total number of patents in the past five years) as an important scale in measuring the synergy innovation capability among different cities.

5.1 Cross-city synergy cooperation in the four bay areas

Graph 5-1 Performance of cross-city synergy cooperation in the world’s four bay areas

 
According to statistics, with a cross-cities patent cooperation ratio of 10.33 percent, the San Francisco Bay Area boasted the strongest synergy innovation ability, followed by the Tokyo Bay Area (3.28 percent), the New York City Bay Area (1.67 percent) and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (0.95 percent). This revealed the weakness in the synergy innovation of the Greater Bay Area and great efforts shall be made to deepen the cooperation among universities or colleges, research institutions and enterprises, to optimize the industrial layout and to forge the industry cluster.

 

5.2 Cross-city synergy cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

The Development Plan of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao Science and Technology Innovation Center pointed out that, we should create a cross-regional science and technology synergy innovation mechanism in the Greater Bay Area, and develop a world-class technology synergy innovation center, which are expected to become a significant pole driving national innovation development. The Outline Development Plan of the Central Government and the State Council for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area put forward that, to build on the four core cities of Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen as core engines for regional development, continue leveraging their comparative advantages in striving for excellence and achievements, and strengthen the radiating effect in leading the development of nearby regions.
 

1) Guangzhou-Shenzhen

Statistics revealed that, with a cross-city patent cooperation ratio of 7.02 percent, Guangzhou and Shenzhen was closely related in the synergy cooperation, followed by Guangzhou-Foshan (4.12 percent) and Guangzhou-Dongguan (3.82 percent). There was a flow with high frequency of innovation factors of human, technology and capital between Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Guangzhou showed significant advantages in education resource and capabilities in scientific research and development. Shenzhen is a strongholder of high-tech enterprises and industry innovation ability. As core cities, both Guangzhou and Shenzhen have outstanding performance of synergy innovation development.

Since the concept of “Guangzhou-Foshan urban integration” was put forward, Guangzhou and Foshan have continued to deepen cooperation and the industry synergy development system of two cities has been basically created. The two cities signed up Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement on Deepening Development Driven by Innovation. It put forward that, we should explore the technology innovation and develop a new pattern of harmonious ordered regional development driven by innovation, in which, Guangzhou serves as an innovation brain while Foshan operates as a manufacture center.

Dongguan, located in the central zone of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao "science and technology innovation corridor". The city has strong ability in technological production and boasts advanced manufacturing industry. In September 2007, the Framework Agreement on Deepening Strategic Cooperation between Guangzhou Municipal Peoples Government and Dongguan Municipal Peoples Government was signed, which put forward that, we should promote the coordination between the two cities, especially in traffic infrastructure construction, co-construction of innovation corridor, park cooperation and industrial synergy development.

As a national center city and provincial capital, Guangzhou fully utilized its functions as the comprehensive transportation hub and science and technology, culture and education center, to stimulate the development of surrounding cities via patent cooperation. Guangzhou shall take forward the cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao, and achieve the connectivity with other cities in the Greater Bay Area.

Graph 5-2 Performance of cross-city synergy cooperation between Guangzhou and other cities

 

2) Shenzhen- Dongguan

Statistics revealed that, the ratio of cross-city patent cooperation between Shenzhen and Dongguan was 5.83 percent, followed by Shenzhen-Guangzhou (3.10 percent) and Shenzhen-Huizhou (2.92 percent).

Shenzhen and Dongguan are geographical neighbors, and people in two cities have close ties and similar customs. The cities complement one another, especially in electronic information industry, making it a role model of urban integration. Fully taking advantages of scientific R&D industry in Shenzhen and manufacture industries in Dongguan, the two cities are making efforts to create a most efficient and comprehensive production chain in the world. By jointly building the neutron science city, Guangming science city and Lok Ma Chau Loop into comprehensive national science center, the two cities are expected to forming a whole industrial chain innovation system with nationalwide influence.

As for the east coast of the Pearl River, Huizhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen have outstanding capabilities in innovation. Huizhou owns a rich land and human resources, providing industrial base for spillover innovation human resource from Shenzhen, which facilitates the urban integration of Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou.

Graph 5-3 Performances of cross-city synergy cooperation between Shenzhen and other cities

 

3) Hong Kong-Macao pole

In the Greater Bay Area, the ratio of cross-city patent cooperation between Hong Kong and Macao pole reached 45.14 percent, followed by Hongkong-Dongguan (3.03 percent) and Hong Kong-Macao (2.59 percent).

By taking the advantages of Hong Kong in scientific and research resource and globalization as well as the advantages of Shenzhen as a science industry center, the two cities actively attract global innovation resources to build a global S&T innovation center. In Shenzhen, there are 72 scientific institutions affiliated to 6 Hongkong universities or colleges, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University, with 300 technical outputs and services and 151 Guangdong-Hongkong co-funding innovation projects.

Graph 5-4 Performance of cross-city synergy cooperation between Hong Kong and other cities

 

4) Zhuhai-Macao pole

Statistics revealed that, with a cross-city patent cooperation ratio of 7.02 percent, Zhuhai and Macao was closely related in the synergy cooperation, followed by Dongguan-Macao (3.60 percent) and Guangzhou-Macao (2.16 percent).

For the geopolitical, historical and cultural factors, it has been long that Macao and Zhuhai keep relatively close cooperation. Macao has simple industrial structure and boasts tourism and gaming industries. As a special economic zone, Zhuhai vigorously develops modern manufacturing and high-tech industries, which complements Macao in industry. In 2015, Hengqin Free Trade Zone was formally established, opening a new window for the synergy development of Zhuhai and Macao.

Graph 5-5 Performance of cross-city synergy cooperation between Macao and other cities

 
In terms of the number of partners, Guangzhou and Shenzhen cooperated with almost all of the members. Hong Kong cooperated with only 4 cities in patent R&D. Guangzhou and Shenzhen proved their importance as core cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. However, there remains an unbalance synergy development among the Greater Bay Area. Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Dongguan, Macao, Foshan and Huizhou show an outstanding performance in synergy innovation development with other cities, while 4 outer cities such as Zhaoqing, Jiangmen and Zhongshan have been at a comparatively poor level.  
 
6. Conclusion and proposals

1) Deepen the technical innovation cooperation in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and improve the overall innovation ability.

Although the total number of invention patents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area ranks first among the four major bay areas, its innovation investment is insufficient and the quality of innovation outputs needs to be improved. It is suggested to accelerate the reform of the technological innovation system and mechanism in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, to increase investment in research and development of the industry such as the necessities of human life, chemical metallurgy and physics, and make use of the radiation of the core innovation area of Guangdong, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macao.

In addition, it is proposed to promote the deep integration of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao in the fields of major technological research, innovation platform construction, scientific and technological achievements transformation and other fields of industry, education and research, to promote the convenient flow of talents, funds, goods and so on, and to gather global science, finance, industry and other elements to achieve high-quality development in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay area.

 

2) Establish the policy coordination mechanism of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to promote collaborative innovation development.

There is a great difference in the number of patented inventions between the east coast and west coast of the Pearl River and Hong Kong-Macao region, especially in Hong Kong-Macao region, whose total number of inventions patents is much lower than that of the other nine cities. In this regard, it is necessary to further improve the mechanism of open cooperation and accelerate the convergence of institutional rules between the mainland and Hong Kong-Macao region. Based on the existing relatively independent cooperation mechanisms between Guangdong and Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao, Hong Kong and Macao, we should actively explore the innovation of institutional mechanism, establish a higher level of joint participation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao in decision-making and coordination mechanism, solve the problems and contradictions existing in the coordinated development of the three places in a timely manner, and realize complementary advantages, misplaced development and coordinated development.
 

3) Establish a think tank for collaborative innovation and development in the Greater Bay Area to promote decision-making level of collaborative development in the Greater Bay Area.

In conjunction with governments, universities, research institutions and high-tech enterprises in the three places and set up a think tank which is established to accurately grasp the problems and bottlenecks encountered in collaborative innovation development in the Greater Bay area and give corresponding suggestions to become a "think tank" for collaborative innovation development in the Greater Bay area.
 

4) Promote industrial complementarity and resource sharing in cities.

The representative innovation organizations in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area show obvious characteristics in industry distribution and regional distribution. The west coast of the Pearl River should actively promote the further upgrading of cities in the emerging technology industries and activate the vitality of innovation. The east coast of the Pearl River should continue to promote the construction of higher education and talent training on the basis of the industrial fusion and upgrade of Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou. In addition, it is suggested that Hong Kong-Macao region plays a leading role in the combination of "Hong Kong-Shenzhen", "Macao-Zhuhai", "Guangzhou-Foshan", and promote the construction of scientific and technological innovation corridor in "Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao" to further improve the energy level of regional cooperation innovation.

 
 
Producer: Liu Dan
Project director: Chen Jie
Project coordinator: Xian Xuyang
Authors: Zhou Qiaoyi, Zhan Qiuyun, Liao Yiran, Zhang Wen
Translators: Huang Huiting, Lin Ziya, Huang Xiaocong