Department of Geography and Resource Management (GRM), The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Collaborations

Comparing the paths from perceived image to locational decisions by Hong Kong and Shenzhen university students across cities in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

Prof. CHAN Chung Shing (Johnson)



Prof. Hang Ma, Harbin Institute Technology (Shenzhen), China

Project period:

1 Sept 2018 – 30 Sept 2020

Funding source:

Communication Department of the CCP in Shenzhen Municipality and Shenzhen Federation of Social Sciences

Funded amount:



The promulgation and implementation of the development plan for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) provide opportunities for tourism, education, employment and migration for mainland and Hong Kong university students. This research, on a sample of university students in Hong Kong, investigated the linkage between their perceived familiarity and favourability of the 11 GBA cities using a questionnaire-based survey (n1=617). A follow-up, semi-structured interview (n2=32) was then conducted to qualitatively understand the underlying factors that determine the perceived city image and inform the students’ locational decisions, including tourism, education, employment and migration.


Geographically, the Familiarity-Favourability (F-F) analysis indicates that Hong Kong university students are overwhelmingly familiar with and favourable to Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen. The functional imagery and perception local students have of Hong Kong is that of an attractive and irreplaceable city. The 11 cities are classified into four types including development-oriented, have specialized local economy, are personality-based and have rich history, and bring back nostalgic memories. From the student-oriented perspective of the F-F scores, Hong Kong students are classified into two main clusters of non-interested students and positive but unfamiliar students. The locational decisions of local students show a relatively stronger magnitude of favourability affecting all four purposes of relocation, an overriding preference for Hong Kong, and the high determination of psychological characteristics.