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China Plans Tech Megalopolis and Electric Car Dominance

© Marcel Lam Photography
© Marcel Lam Photography

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China Plans Tech Megalopolis and Electric Car Dominance

Chinese President Xi Jinping believes in taking China on the technological super highway with infrastructure and policy friendly boosts to the tech industry and related mergers. The world’s longest open sea bridge stretching 34 miles, including the length of two underwater tunnels, starts in Hong Kong. The $15 billion forked bridge connects Hong Kong to the gambling haven of Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai. Chinese President Xi Jinping inaugurated the bridge.

It is a part of the president’s most ambitious policy plans to date: a scheme to unify 11 Chinese cities into a single sprawling megalopolis, covering 21,600 square miles, housing 70 million people and called the Greater Bay Area (GBA). For Hong Kong, closer integration could help open a vast market that sits just north of its border. For China, Xi hopes the GBA will rival San Francisco’s Bay Area, where financial services, shipping and innovation have formed a rich economic ecosystem.

The Greater Bay Area is comprises nine cities in Guangdong – the southern province where Deng Xiaoping launched China’s policy of economic reform 40 years ago – plus the two Special Administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. According to research from HSBC, the GBA generates $1.5 trillion in GDP each year, which is 12% of the national total for China, or roughly the same economic output as all of South Korea. On a practical level, cities across the GBA have been working as an integrated hub for decades too. Hong Kong is more readily considered a financial capital than a tech hub.

Chinese Towns preparing to become electric car manufacturing hubs

As per reports from Bloomberg News, President Xi Jinping is pushing to build a manufacturing superpower by 2025 and wants the nation’s 500 EV makers to be magnets for ancillary industries.

Shunde New Energy Vehicle Town takes shape inside the southern city of Foshan, part of China’s manufacturing heartland. Local officials boast that their planned hub for EV production and research eventually could generate 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) in revenue for the hometown economy. Shunde is one of at least 20 electric-centric versions of Detroit under construction as China goes all-in on a technology projected to sell in record time.

“The new-energy vehicle industry is a bet local governments must take,’’ said He Xiaopeng, chairman of Xpeng Motors Technology Ltd., a startup backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Foxconn Technology Group. “A successful EV maker could bring at least 200 companies in the industry chain into a province.’’

The amount of investment committed to developing these EV towns is a staggering 209 billion yuan — equal to about $30 billion — so far, according to Bloomberg calculations based on public announcements. The commitments range from fixed-asset investments to development costs by carmakers, private capital and local government-backed entities.

The other hubs include Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.’s plan for a research and production base in Yiwu, LeEco Vehicle Ecological Town in Huzhou and Self-Driving Auto Town in Xiamen.

Between 2009 and 2017, China spent about $36.5 billion subsidizing EV sales, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. China now accounts for more than half of all passenger EV sales worldwide.

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Cite this article as: Phillip Smith, "China Plans Tech Megalopolis and Electric Car Dominance," in DroneBelow.com, June 5, 2019, https://dronebelow.com/2019/06/05/china-plans-tech-megalopolis-and-electric-car-dominance/.
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