(Yicai Global) April 16 -- China’s southern island province of Hainan is set for major change as the nation looks to put the region at the forefront of its reform and opening up.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has decided to build a province-wide experimental free trade zone across Hainan as it looks to build the region into a free trade port, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at an event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the province’s founding on April 13.
State-owned broadcaster CCTV talked to experts to get their opinions on the change and see exactly how this will affect the southern province.
Zhao Zhongxiu, president of the University of International Business and Economics, believes the zone will be conducive to domestic and international development. Existing experimental free trade zones are moderate in scale and cover narrow geographic areas, he added, saying the province-wide concept will be more effective.
The free trade port will help Hainan build closer ties with the international community, added Bi Jiyao, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research. Tax in the province will supposedly be reduced, allowing for better development of offshore businesses, insurance and high-tech innovation, he continued, saying the region’s business environment will become more favorable and quicker customs clearance processes will help bring more resources to the province.
State-owned news agency Xinhua published a document on April 14 which identifies nine areas in which China will look to support the further reform and opening up of Hainan:
Modern services -- China will back the establishment of international trading markets for energy, shipments, bulk commodities, property rights, equity and carbon-emission permits in Hainan, with a focus on tourism, the internet, healthcare, finance and exhibitions.
Information technology -- Hainan will develop new-generation IT industries and digital economies, furthering the in-depth integration of modern technology, such as the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intellignece, with the real economy.
Agriculture -- China will expand the province’s Nanfan Scientific and Research Breeding Base and build a national tropical agriculture science center.
Scientific research and innovation -- China will help Hainan become a pioneer in open space technology innovation by advancing studies on abyssal sea science and technologies and setting up an international demonstrative area for offshore innovation and entrepreneurship.
Tourism -- There will be more international flights between Hainan and major destinations worldwide, and the province will enjoy more convenient offshore duty-free shopping policies.
Marine economy -- Hainan will benefit from government-backed modernized marine ranching.
Environment -- The province will take a leading role in setting up modern institutions for the protection and supervision of the environment and resources, carry out pilot programs for national parks and found national tropical rainforest parks.
Science and education -- The central government will push Hainan University to develop world-class programs, encourage famous universities an and research institutes from around the world to open up branches in the province, help Hainan introduce quality education resources abroad and set up more quality China-foreign cooperative education institutions and programs.
Talent -- The government will encourage Hainan to conduct pilot programs for a reform in international talent management. Skilled workers from foreign countries and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will be able to work and reside in Hainan permanently in line with regulations, and elite foreign students with master’s degrees or above from Chinese universities will be granted the right to work or start a business in the province.