Published: 00:55, November 10, 2020 | Updated: 11:59, June 5, 2023
'Smart' GBA to lead global 5G race, experts say
By Zhou Mo and Shadow Li

Leading 5G experts said on Monday they are pinning high hopes on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, saying its well-established industry chain will enable the southern region to lead the global 5G race and become the world’s leading smart-city cluster.

They made the remarks at a seminar featuring 5G technology, part of the First Conference of the International Science, Technology and Innovation Forum of Boao Forum for Asia, which is taking place in Macao. More than 100 people attended the seminar, which was held on the first day of the three-day conference.

A number of major 5G smartphone makers such as Huawei, ZTE, Oppo and Vivo are based in the region. Whether in terms of hardware or the system (of 5G smartphones), the Bay Area has the potential to take the lead globally 

Hu Guoqing, 

5G research group leader of Peking University Shenzhen Institute

Hu Guoqing, 5G research group leader of Peking University Shenzhen Institute, said 5G technology is going to ignite the upcoming Industrial Revolution, and “China is expected to take the dominant position in the Fourth Industrial Revolution with its established advantage in 5G”.

He said the large-scale construction of a stand-alone 5G network in China will help the country’s businesses finish their industrial upgrades faster than those in Western countries, which are adopting a non-stand-alone 5G network, thereby enabling China to lead the world’s new industrial revolution.

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That’s because the non-stand-alone networking model, which still partially relies on 4G infrastructure, is not able to fully support such a digital transformation that features connection of all things, he said.

The Bay Area — with strong hardware research and development strength as well as an advanced industry chain — in particular has a role to play in the process, Hu said. 

Citing the 5G smartphone as an example, he said that a number of major 5G smartphone makers such as Huawei, ZTE, Oppo and Vivo are based in the region.

“Whether in terms of hardware or the system (of 5G smartphones), the Bay Area has the potential to take the lead globally,” he said.

Hu’s view was echoed by Tam Wai-ho, chairman of the Hong Kong Industry-University-Research Collaboration Association. Tam believes 5G development could fuel a new round of economic growth in the Bay Area, after the region achieved explosive economic development by playing the role as “the world’s factory” for years.

With 5G collecting and linking data on transportation, logistics, factories and information, the region will transform and upgrade into a smart industrial hub, Tam said.

He urged cities in the Bay Area to step up their cooperation and exchanges further to turn the region into a more competitive and vibrant city cluster.

U Seng-pan, deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI of the University of Macau, said the new technological and industrial revolution currently going on in the world is reshaping the global landscape of innovation and restructuring the global economic structure.

New technologies such as 5G and the internet of things will energize science and technology innovation development in Macao, he said.

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Macao has made big strides in technology and innovation since its return to the motherland in 1999, with several national-level key labs being set up in the city, and the local government offering greater support to innovative enterprises, he added.

Yvonne Zhou, managing director and senior partner of Boston Consulting Group, pointed out that the government’s role is essential in promoting better development of 5G industry as the superfast wireless technology nears full commercialization.

The government should provide more support in aspects of land, capital and talent, and should build a sound ecosystem for the emerging industry to grow, she said.

The three-day forum features a total of 12 sessions in areas such as artificial intelligence, biomedical technology, and aerospace science and technology.