Top universities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area have forged an alliance to advance regional integration and innovation while providing intelligence to the emerging bay area.
The alliance includes three universities: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Macao and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.
"We are happy to be a part of the alliance, at a time when the development of the bay area has been included in a national strategy," said CUHK President Rocky S. Tuan.
He made his remarks while attending the Times Higher Education Asia Universities Summit 2018 in Shenzhen, also in Guangdong province, on Tuesday.
"We look forward to contributing our experience in bringing China and Western countries closer in the future," Tuan said.
The universities and the industries in the bay area should sit down and discuss the most critical issues that the area faces, and find solutions, the president said.
For example, Tuan said he found that Shenzhen, which is one of China's top innovation hubs, has a weakness in the medical sector, which universities could work with businesses to improve.
The Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area, located in southern China, is ultimately designed to compete with the world's most advanced bay areas, such as the New York Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area.
Currently, its area has a combined population of about 66 million and its GDP amounted to about $1.5 trillion in 2017, or nearly two-thirds that of the Tokyo Bay Area.
Song Yonghua, rector of UM, said the alliance could deepen regional integration, which would be helpful for the internationalization of the region.
University of Washington President Anna Mari Cauce said in her speech to the summit that a country's business centers and its developed bay areas - like the Shenzhen, Shanghai, Boston and San Francisco bay areas - needed at least one research university or university alliance to spur economic development.