The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) has recently come under the spotlight again. But apart from the catchword, what are the opportunities for the media and communications industry? Telum Media spoke to several senior economic and financial news journalists to find out what the government-backed development initiative means to them and what has changed in their editorial strategies and focus since then.
New Concept, Renewed Focus
China Daily Hong Kong
: In April this year, China Daily started a new column 'GBA Focus' dedicated to news coverage in the dynamic region spanning Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland cities. Sophia Luo, its Senior Business Reporter, said there had been a lot to cover in the vast region over the past two years, particularly with the recent announcement of new policies that have expedited economic integration. The media outlet has in recent months produced both online and offline events in the face of the global pandemic, including a virtual 'roundtable' dedicated to the area's coverage and an in-person event named GBA Forum.
Meanwhile, one of the focus areas that has stood out for journalists is the looming competition between the neighbouring cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Luo added. But she would instead like to explore how the two economic powerhouses can collaborate to create synergies.
: Online portal jiemian.com has also launched a dedicated GBA channel filled with analysis of the region's economic growth engines and coverage of individual companies finding their way in the market. Given higher demand for specialised content, the newsroom pulled together a team of experienced journalists from Guangdong and Shenzhen to set up a macro-economics team to boost its editorial capacity, according to Du Meng, Reporter at jiemian.com.
As economic and social integration will leave a long-lasting impact on societies and the corresponding economies, there is much room for news coverage when it comes to specific initiatives crafted by different governments, Du said.
: Since the beginning of this year, its editors have been keen to find out how this game-changing master plan could lead to a paradigm shift in the roles of the cities concerned. For example, it ran a cover-page article themed "Macao's Next Stop, International Financial Hub" in January, looking into how the casino enclave could turbo-charge into a financial mecca. Du Dongdong, Director of Company Research at New Fortune, has been particularly interested in Macau's embryonic bond market and the neighbouring area of Hengqin in Zhuhai.
Josh may work for a traditional state-owned media, but he is as keen as others on finding out the investment plans of foreign enterprises in the region. Back on his routine news agenda, he tends to look at the bigger picture by translating government policies into meaningful discussions over how they will improve people's livelihood and the job market. He is particularly interested in covering second- or third-tier cities and look at the structural reform of their industries.
One Country, Two Approaches
While the whole idea of GBA is to create synergies across different cities in the area, collaboration and understanding are crucial to its success. It also applies to the hugely diversified media industry. For example, journalists from media outlets from Hong Kong and mainland China often look at issues from a different perspective; therefore, it is of paramount importance to understand how they vary.
Speaking of the peak of the IPO frenzy, news coverage coming out of Hong Kong media focused mostly on what it meant to investors, Sophia said. On the other hand, Josh said the mainland's media platforms often cover stories from a macro perspective.
State-run media, in particular, position themselves as the outlets for defining and publicising official policies. "We don't report in the same way as the ordinary financial media," he said, adding however journalists in state-run media do refer to the other side of the story produced by Hong Kong media. Take economic and financial reporting as an example; the approach to news could be markedly different among media outlets from Hong Kong, Macao and the mainland.
"Due to the relatively strict management of foreign-related coverage at present, the main interviewees are usually introduced by the government, while the interviews with domestic enterprises rely on our contacts," he said.
Upcoming News Highlights
Meng pointed to Shenzhen when it comes to her upcoming editorial focus as the special economic zone is poised to undergo a new round of reforms in its financial sector. While its latest Fintech developments and government policies are areas to watch, any topics relating to the regulatory environment and how it impacts corporates and investors would catch her eye.
The arrival of digital currency in Shenzhen is one of the highlights for Sophia. But she is also keen on finding out what it means to Hong Kong's development in the same space and whether there will be any collaboration in any format between the two, such as a more established cross-border payment system. Apart from finance, Sophia is also interested in the region's increasingly integrated medical industry.
Josh is working on a wide variety of topics, from economics to education and medical care. The following industries are just some of the other areas of interest: advanced manufacturing, high-end technology, education, medical care, environmental protection, export companies, retirement and pension, among others.
Apart from covering IPOs and listed companies, Dongdong said New Fortune would focus on different new initiatives taken by well-established enterprises and industries. For example, he wants to find out the market strategies of leading property developers and how emerging players are making a foray into the region, including traditional property developers from Fujian Province. He is also keen on finding out more about the economic partnership between the cities of Shenzhen and Shantou.
As more companies look to expand into the region, there will be more collaboration between media professionals in the area and those from overseas. More than ever, local media outlets are open to collaborating with external agencies on a day-to-day basis. But how should one establish a cooperative relationship with mainland journalists? Cultural understanding and respect are two key elements, Dongdong said.
- Reach Du Dongdong via email or WeChat.
- Contact Du Meng via email.
- Sophia Luo can be contacted via WhatsApp and WeChat. She prefers emails over phone calls.