This picture taken on Aug 3, 2019 shows a general view of residential and commercial buildings in the Kowloon district (foreground) with the skyline of Hong Kong Island past Victoria Harbour (center) in the distance. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)

Three years after the blueprint for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development was mapped out, its appeal to businesses and people on both sides of the border has been growing, despite the temporary closure of the border during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent report by NielsenIQ shows that interest among people on the Chinese mainland in visiting Hong Kong after the border reopens is growing. The report based its results on the survey of more than 3,600 respondents, including those in the nine Guangdong province cities of the Greater Bay Area, plus some other cities on the mainland and elsewhere in Asia.

ALSO READ: KPMG: GBA development momentum just beginning

According to the report, 76 percent of the mainland respondents from the nine Guangdong cities said they want to visit Hong Kong when the border reopens

According to the report, 76 percent of the mainland respondents from the nine Guangdong cities said they want to visit Hong Kong when the border reopens.

Mainland people are most interested in Hong Kong’s professional services, with 77 percent of the respondents from the nine Guangdong cities focusing on stock and fund investment, 70 percent on renminbi and Hong Kong dollar deposits, and 62 percent on insurance services.

Healthcare services in Hong Kong are also favored, with 63 percent of the respondents from the Greater Bay Area mainland cities saying they are interested in having a physical exam, 46 percent in dermatological treatment, and 45 percent in dental treatment.

Meanwhile, 41 percent of the respondents said they want beauty services in Hong Kong, the report said.

ALSO READ: Business confidence seen as catalyst for GBA growth

On the other side, an increasing number of Hong Kong businesses are seeking to expand their operations on the Chinese mainland.

According to a report jointly conducted by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and Standard Chartered Bank (HK) Ltd, over 80 percent of Hong Kong manufacturers in the Greater Bay Area surveyed are already running domestic sales business. The result was based on 104 questionnaires.

About 83 percent of them said they will further expand their domestic-sales business in the coming two years, regardless of the current business performance.

The Hong Kong manufacturers cited the large market potential as the biggest reason behind their investment. While expressing optimism over the outlook of business expansion on the mainland part of the Greater Bay Area in the medium term, they also pointed out challenges, with 74 percent saying they will face fiercer competition from their mainland counterparts.

ALSO READ: Medical connect program in GBA brings benefits

In addition to the traditional sector, more startups in Hong Kong are eyeing developing business in the Greater Bay Area. A report by Hong Kong Trade Development Council and HSBC shows that 81 percent of the startups surveyed are satisfied with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Greater Bay Area. More than 70 percent said they expect company revenue to grow 25 percent or more in the next three years.

The economic size of the Greater Bay Area is expected to hit 14.76 trillion yuan ($2.23 trillion) in 2022, which could surpass the Tokyo Bay Area to become the world’s largest, according to a report published last week by China Development Research Foundation, citing the predictions from market research firm iiMedia Research.

The latest official statistics show that GDP in the Greater Bay Area reached 12.6 trillion yuan in 2021, 2.4 trillion yuan more than in 2017.