(Yicai Global) April 2 -- China seeks to develop the economic backwater of Hengqin in southern Guangdong province into a bustling international tourism island to further integrate China's mainland with Macao.
China's cabinet approved a construction plan that aims to turn Hengqin into a complementary tourism destination to Macao, the State Council released on its website yesterday. Hengqin is located 200 meters from the Macao Special Administrative Region, and the underdeveloped island, formerly populated by fishermen, is about three times as big as the neighboring entertainment hub.
The revamped Hengqin will integrate Macao's international tourism resources with those of the mainland, National Business Daily reported, citing Lin Jiang, a deputy director at Sun Yat-Sen University.
The cabinet included Hengqin in its blueprint for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, issued on Feb. 18. The final strategy focuses more on tourism than the earlier plans that targeted healthcare, cultural education, and high-tech.
The region will accelerate its development to become a modern economic system, underpinned by tourism, creativity, and finance, Yang Chuan, the director of the Hengqin New Area Administration Committee, said early last year.
Hengqin has developed a certain foundation for tourism as it has many attractions, including the Chimelong International Ocean Tourist Resort, Lin said. The ongoing theme park project involves an investment of CNY50 billion (USD7.4 billion).
The plan may also benefit the former Portuguese territory. Macao can realize its function as an international tourism and leisure hub only by connecting with China's mainland, Lin added.
Editor: Emmi Laine