More details of the major developments planned for Hengqin are set to be unveiled over the course of this week.
Following the publication of the Master Plan for the Development of the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone by Beijing, the State Council Information Office will hold a press conference about the plan later this week.
The local government will hold a press conference on Friday, and the government of Guangdong province will also hold a press conference about the plan, according to a statement by the Macao Government Information Bureau.
The plan defines the in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin as a new platform to promote Macao’s adequate economic diversification, the statement said.
According to the statement, Macao has been affected by its limited space (about 33 square kilometres) for the development of its industries, as well as an insufficient number of professionals.
The 106-square-kilometre cooperation zone (more than three times the size of Macao) in Hengqin will provide further space and opportunities for Macao to promote its economic diversification effort, the statement said.
“In addition to aligning with the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan, while taking into consideration Macao’s practical situation, the master plan outlines the efforts that will be made to develop new technologies, new industries, new forms of business and new economic models, giving new impetus to Macao’s long-term development,” the statement said.
“Great effort will be put into promoting nascent industries, in order to facilitate Macao’s long-term development: scientific and technological research and high-end manufacturing industries; traditional Chinese medicine; cultural tourism, conventions and exhibitions; commercial and trade industries; and modern financial industry,” the statement underlined.
The plan defines the cooperation zone as a new space for Macao residents to live and work. “The zone will be developed to align with Macao’s public services and social security system, for the convenience of Macao residents – especially younger generations – so that they can study, work, set up businesses and live in the cooperation zone, creating an environment similar to Macao, and which is favourable for living and working,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the plan defines the zone as a new paradigm to enrich the practice of “One Country, Two Systems”, adding that the zone will be based on the foundations of “One Country” and make use of the advantages of “Two Systems”, thus exploring a new path, and setting a new example, for implementing the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.
The zone – while complementing Macao’s strengths enjoyed under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, as a separate customs territory and as a free port, and the city’s extensive network for external connections – will explore new systems, new mechanisms, and new models for cooperation that will transform itself as a high-level opening-up area featuring both Chinese characteristics and the advantages of “Two Systems”, the statement pointed out.
The plan defines the zone as “a new high ground for promoting development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” (GBA), according to the statement.
The zone will fully explore the potential of the Greater Bay Area in systems innovation “in terms of making breakthroughs in development relative to technologies, talent, and the flow of capital and information. Such steps would help complement the effort to develop a new system for a higher-level open economy that matches with those of Macao and aligns with international criteria,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the zone will be jointly managed by Guangdong and Macao under a new model of mutual discussion, joint construction, joint administration and shared benefits.
“Great efforts will be made to speed up enhancement of the zone’s comprehensive strength and competitiveness, in order to facilitate and accelerate the development of the western estuary of the Pearl River.
“The Greater Bay Area is a national initiative that President Xi Jinping has planned and promoted in person,” the statement said. Developing the zone is a paramount step to advance the implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, providing opportunities for comprehensive deepening of reform and for high-level opening-up of the economy, the statement said, adding that “such steps will be beneficial for Macao in ensuring its long-term prosperity and stability, and facilitating the city’s closer integration with the overall national development.”
The statement noted that the president has highlighted that the original intention of developing the Hengqin New Area is to create a favourable environment for Macao’s industrial diversification.
The main purpose of the zone outlined in the master plan is to facilitate the ongoing diversification of Macao’s industrial structure, the statement concluded.