Development plans for Hengqin island, next to Macau, on Central Government’s and Guangdong’s agendas

17 February 2009

Macau, China, 17 Feb – The deputy governor of the Chinese province of Guangdong Wan Qingliang said there are currently 20 specialised working groups from various sectors in Beijing discussing the development of Hengqin island, in Zhuhai, located next to Macau.

Hengqin with an area of 86 square kilometres and , a population of 6,500 is one of the 146 islands that make up the municipality of Zhuhai. The island, which has several beaches and little vegetation, could be developed over 53 square kilometres of its area.

According to newspaper Ou Mun, the deputy governor of Guangdong also said that the government of the province located in the south of China also created itself a dozen of working groups to develop the island.

News Agency, MacauNews wrote Monday that Macau Chief Executive of Macau, Edmund Ho, said recently that the development of the island could bring enormous advantages to Macau and to its tourist sector, though stressed plans should not be carried out too quickly, noting “some of the steps being taken need some time to be able to realise the project”.

In January the vice president of China, Xi Jinping, said during a visit to Macau that the diversification of Macau could include the development of the island of Hengqin.

The development of Hengqin is also in a supplement of the Mainland and Macau Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, or CEPA, which is expected to be signed in the first half of the current year between Macau and mainland China.

The new CEPA supplement, the sixth one between Macau and mainland China, will also increase cross-border services and speed up the construction of the Zhuhai-Hong Kong-Macau bridge, and link Macau’s light railway to Guangdong’s rail network.

The development of Hengqin is part of larger plans to develop the River Pearl Delta, which, by 2020, will see the implementation of an integrated communications network and a reorganisation the region’s business community in the following areas: new technologies, innovation and scientific creativity.