(Yicai Global) June 4 -- China's southern island province of Hainan is looking for planners and designers to build a pilot free trade zone in its capital Haikou as the entire province looks to turn itself into a national free trade port.
The Hainan Provincial Party Committee is inviting companies to apply for prequalification before June 22, Hainan Daily cited it as saying at a press conference yesterday. The new FTZ, to be built in the same day-unveiled Jiangdong New District, will span nearly 300 square kilometers in eastern Haikou. The committee will shortlist 10 candidates by June 27 and expect them to submit a design scheme in September.
Hainan got the green light to rebrand itself as the country's first province-wide FTP last month. It plans to be functional within three years and be "basically established" by 2025, according to the national cabinet. Tencent Holdings, China's largest firm by market cap, and a number of government departments have already pledged to build projects in the region since the announcement.
Some of China's most senior officials have backed the transformation the nation's 11 FTZs into free ports. Commerce Minister Zhong Shan offer support in January, following backing from Vice-Premier Wang Yang in November. President Xi Jinping began the crusade in March 2017, when he said existing FTZs would explore ways to develop into FTPs.
Such free marketplaces permit goods and capital to pass easily without customs, tariffs and foreign exchange controls, helping to boost economic growth across trade, finance and services. The upgrade to FTP status requires deeper market reforms to free up economic activity in these designated areas.
Jiangdong will be an international trading venue for energy, shipping, commodities, property rights, stock equities and carbon credits, the report added. It will also host regional headquarters for domestic and multinational industrial conglomerates and well-known research organizations, and become a financial trade center, offshore innovation demonstration zone and international education base.
Editor: James Boynton