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Overseas Hakka people urged to aid GBA growth

By QIU QUANLIN in Meizhou, Guangdong | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-06 10:13
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Construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, along with efforts to promote the coordinated development between the urban and rural areas in Guangdong province, have helped provide a broader stage for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, according to a senior government official.

"We are making every effort to create a better environment for overseas and domestic entrepreneurs to innovate and start businesses in Guangdong, as we have always cared about and have attached importance to the development of Hakka businesspeople abroad," said Wang Weizhong, governor of Guangdong.

Wang made the remarks on Friday during the opening ceremony of the sixth World Hakka Entrepreneurs Convention in Meizhou, located in the eastern mountainous area of Guangdong. Meizhou is home to thousands of Hakka people, whose ancestors were believed to have migrated from Central China to the south centuries ago.

"We sincerely hope overseas Hakka entrepreneurs will take part in the high-quality development of Guangdong, especially in the coordinated development between urban and rural areas," Wang said.

On Friday, Hakka business representatives launched an action plan to support Guangdong's strategic "one hundred, one thousand and ten thousand" project, which aims to facilitate coordinated development between urban and rural areas.

The project earned its name because it targets the high-quality rural development of 10,000 villages from 1,000 townships of 100 counties in Guangdong. It was launched at the start of the year and resulted in Meizhou's GDP growing by 5.3 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2023.

Additionally, Meizhou introduced 179 industrial projects in the first eight months of this year, with a planned investment of 39.8 billion yuan ($5.44 billion), according to local government data.

Hakka people mainly live in relatively underdeveloped mountainous areas among the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Globally, there are more than 7 million Hakka people living across more than 80 countries and regions whose ancestors were from Meizhou, according to the convention's organizer.

"We have always seen the real economy as the foundation of development, and manufacturing as the leading industry speeding up the development of an industrial technology innovation center with global influence," said Wang.

Guangdong, a traditional economic powerhouse in South China, will continue to expand high-level opening-up and optimize the market-oriented and internationalized business environment following the rule of law, according to Wang.

Five parallel sessions took place in France, Canada, Argentina, Australia and Mauritius on Friday to further increase the global influence of the Hakka businessmen convention, promoting connections and cooperation among Hakka business representatives and chambers of commerce globally.

The convention is regarded as one of Guangdong's three major platforms that help the province open its door wider and expand its Sino-foreign exchanges and cooperation, according to Guo Yile, deputy secretary-general of the Guangdong provincial government.

A series of activities, including investment talks, academic forums, special lectures on Hakka culture, a Hakka cuisine festival and soccer competitions, were also held during the convention.

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