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Island will boost Pearl River vision

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

16:06, August 27, 2012

Hengqin Island in the Zhuhai special economic zone will be well-placed to help Guangdong province further deepen economic cooperation with Macao and Hong Kong.

Located at the mouth of the Pearl River and only 63 km from Hong Kong, Hengqin New Area was approved by the State Council in 2009 as a pilot program for policies to boost regional economic integration.

Niu Jing, director of the administrative committee of the area, said that the 106-square-kilometer island, three times the size of Macao, will give priority to investment from Hong Kong and Macao while also seeking global investment.

Investment in key sectors from the two neighboring regions are welcomed, he said.

"We hope to build Hengqin into an 'open' island closely connected to Hong Kong and Macao," Niu said at a forum on economic cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao in Zhuhai on Thursday.

At present, six projects totaling 64 billion yuan ($10 billion) of investment from Hong Kong and Macao are being implemented in Hengqin or negotiated, Niu said.

These projects include Hengqin-Macao industrial district and the 20-billion-yuan Hengqin Chime-Long International Ocean Resort.

The resort, covering an area of 4.35 sq km, is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and to rival Ocean Park in Hong Kong, a major destination for tourists from the mainland.

Meanwhile, the island has seen a rapid growth in both the numbers of Hong Kong and Macao enterprises and their registered capital.

According to the administrative committee of the area, 225 enterprises registered in Hengqin last year.

They had registered capital of 14.2 billion yuan, a 12-fold increase on 2010.

Among them, 11 were from Macao. Another 16 enterprises were from Hong Kong.

Officials said that favorable policies are expected to support the island's development.

Yu Yunzhou, deputy director of the Guangdong Development and Reform Commission, said the province is mulling over simplifying procedures of review and approval for investment from Hong Kong and Macao to set up production facilities in Hengqin.
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