Cooperation zone in Hengqin to greatly benefit Macao

MACAO: The Chinese central authorities’ plan for building the Guangdong-Macao in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin has been hailed as a “major good news” for the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).
Hengqin is an area located in the southern part of Zhuhai city in Guangdong Province, just adjacent to Macao.
Bringing with it new opportunities and new space for Macao, a city rather small in terms of its land area, the plan, issued by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council and made public on Sunday, is expected to create new impetus for Macao’s development by facilitating its better integration into overall national development.
Experts from various sectors of Macao have told media that the plan will inject fresh vitality into Macao’s higher education, scientific research and development, the tourism and leisure industry, and finance.
The plan defines the strategic position of the zone as a new platform to boost Macao’s appropriate economic diversification, a new space that provides convenience to Macao residents’ life and employment, a new model to enrich the practice of “one country, two systems,” as well as a new high ground for building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The plan prioritizes people’s livelihood with a set of concrete measures to build Hengqin into a new home for Macao residents to live and work in, such as exemption of income tax margins, lowering and gradually calling off charges for long-distance phone calls and cross-border internet connections between the two places, further facilitating Macao-registered vehicles into and out of Hengqin in a more convenient manner, and the joint building of regional medical centers by Guangdong and Macao.
Ho Teng Iat, president of the General Women’s Association of Macao, told Xinhua that the plan could bring opportunities for Macao to share the land resources, the pool of professionals and large scientific and technological equipment with Guangdong under the mechanism of mutual discussion, joint construction, joint administration and shared benefits between the two sides.
“It will help enhance the sense of gain, happiness and security for residents at the Greater Bay Area, including Macao,” Ho said.
Ian Soi Kun, chairman of the Macao Jiangmen Communal Society, said Macao should step up its efforts to invite outside investments on major projects in the industries of health, high-tech, exhibition, modern finance and culture and sports, in accordance with the strategic positioning and overall planning of the in-depth cooperation zone and on the basis of Macao’s practical situations.
Lao Chi Ngai, chairman of the Macao Economic Association, said the plan has set guiding policies on various fronts such as management system, industrial development, residential living and cross-border linkage, which gives clear directions coupled with maneuverability and flexibility.– Agencies