The Pan-Pearl River Delta Region and Hong Kong under the Eleventh Five-year Plan Research Series: IX. Yunnan and Hong Kong
Yunnan, a province in southwest China that borders three ASEAN countries — Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar — has developed slowly since the launching of economic reforms in the country, and has fallen behind the level of development in the coastal provinces. The gap in economic conditions between Yunnan and the coastal provinces is getting larger. Nevertheless, a globalizing economy, the trend towards regional cooperation, and an adjustment of national strategies have provided Yunnan with new opportunities for development.
In the Eleventh Five-year plan period (2006-2010), the Yunnan provincial government has put the focus on improving the livelihood of the people, narrowing urban-rural disparities, alleviating poverty, and developing the rural areas. The aim is to reduce the large number of people living in poverty and to raise living standards across the province. In addition, more infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure, will be built to facilitate local, regional, and international transportation and flows. At the same time, the province is striving to modernize its economy by optimizing its economic structure and fostering the development of certain leading industries. Concerning its regional development strategy, and facilitated by new transport infrastructure and economic strategies, the government aims to advance geopolitical relations with Southeast Asian and South Asian countries. Furthermore, it is fostering the establishment of ACFTA and the development of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, and also enhancing interactions with the Pan-Pearl River Delta (Pan-PRD) and the Yangtze River Delta regions.
Although there are significant differences between Hong Kong and Yunnan in stage of development and industrial structure, the Greater PRD region with Hong Kong as the “dragon’s head”, and the Greater Mekong Sub-region with Yunnan as the “dragon’s tail” can be developed into two platforms to accelerate further regional cooperation. The two platforms can increase flows of people, goods, and capital, a condition that can be useful not only for nurturing the Pan-PRD region, but also for strengthening Pan-PRD region’s connections to ASEAN and international markets.