Guangdong, with 126 million people, topped the table for provincial population size according to the latest national census.
Many of those people live in the nine cities on the Chinese mainland that are part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a megalopolis that stretches across the Pearl River Delta.
The Bay Area, encompassing nine cities in Guangdong plus Hong Kong and Macao, was home to over 72 million people last year.
The Outline Development Plan for the Bay Area, released in 2019, said the main goal was to further promote integration between the cities and make the mainland part an attractive career destination for ambitious young talent from the two special administrative regions.
Ma Xingrui, governor of Guangdong, said the mainland part of the Bay Area now has nearly 600 entrepreneurial teams of young people from Hong Kong and Macao, plus more than 4,000 employees from the two regions in various professions.
Stephen Zhang, a young lawyer from Macao, is one of 60 Macao residents to have passed the National Bar Examination. He decided to work for a law firm in Zhuhai.
"Decades ago, people in Macao preferred to work and live in Western countries, but things are changing," he said. "We've found we can play a unique role on the mainland."
The firm he works for is the first joint-venture company formed by law firms from the Chinese mainland and the special administrative regions, and it was looking for candidates with diverse backgrounds.
"Because Stephen completed a master's degree in law at National Taiwan University, and is a Macao native who was admitted to the bar, we gave him an offer," said Lei Wun-kong, a senior partner at the firm.