The return of Hong Kong (July 1, 1997) and Macao (Dec 20, 1999) to the Chinese mainland is evident throughout Hengqin Island as epitomized by four of the thousands of special administrative region-related companies that have settled here: Hong Kong Lai Sun Group, Huazhong United Design & Consulting (Hengqin), Hengqin DCH Logistics Center, and Zhuhai Xiaoshikang Technology,
As enterprises with Hong Kong-Macau roots, the four benefit from the direct cross-sea bridge to both SARs. Also incentivizing are policies of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin that facilitate their exploration of the broad market on the west bank of the Pearl River estuary and throughout Southwest China.
Hong Kong-based Lai Sun Group, for example, has been developing the four-phase project Novotown in Hengqin since 2009. The one-stop comprehensive tourism and entertainment center integrates resources from Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao and introduces a new tourism mode of “dine, buy, stay, and play” for visitors of all ages.
In addition, Novotown is creating places and study tour routes for students and families to learn from enlightening activities. Lai Sun Group will also bridge Hengqin and Hong Kong to attract more Hong Kong youth to experience the Cooperation Zone’s construction achievements and integrate into GBA development.
Novotown [Photo provided to hengqin.gov.cn]
Lai Sun group has agreements with Baolian Retail Commence of Gree Real Estate and Zhuhai Duty Free Enterprises Group to integrate the advantageous resources from Hong Kong and Macao, inject new impetus to boost cultural tourism consumption in Hengqin, and further develop the local innovative cultural tourism industry.
Supported by highly open industrial policies, the group will increase investment in Hengqin innovative projects, cooperate with Hong Kong and Macao to promote the new business form of Tourism +, and create new cultural and tourism trends.
The modern service industry is also key to expanding cooperation space between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao. Huazhong United Design & Consulting (Hengqin), a joint venture of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao, is the first design and consulting agency on the Chinese mainland to gather professionals in the Hong Kong, Macao, and domestic construction fields.
The company has a mature engineering management mode, whole-process engineering consulting services, and cutting-edge concepts like zero-carbon development and green building from Hong Kong and Macao, and has made achievements based on innovation.
In response to China’s promotion of “hard connectivity” of infrastructure and “soft connectivity” of rules and regulations, Hengqin is developing synergistically with Macao and Hong Kong to build a closer partnership for connectivity,.
Hengqin DCH Logistics Center, invested by Dah Chong Hong Macau Total Supply Chain Management of Hong Kong-headquartered DCH Holdings, commenced operations in 2014 to provide one-stop logistics and warehousing services including normal temperature and cold chain warehousing, bonded logistics, and value-added services for circulation in Macao and Zhuhai.
Hengqin leaders have given full play to regional advantages and promoted cost reduction and efficiency for the logistics industry since the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge opened in October 2018. This has facilitated the logistics center’s cross-border logistics and trade business, said Li Yupei, general manager of the center’s operator, Hengqin DCH Supply Chain Management.
Li also expressed hope that the company would strengthen economic and trade ties with Hong Kong and accelerate innovative development of modern service industries such as finance and logistics.
Zhang Jiewei, Hong Kong founder of Zhuhai Xiaoshikang Technology, was attracted to Hengqin after a business investigation in 2019. Zhang says she was impressed with the preferential policies and favorable entrepreneurial atmosphere in Hengqin. She noted that the company plans to open a broader market in non-governmental elderly care institutions in Hong Kong and Macao in the future.
Xiaoshikang researches and develops intelligent technology nursing beds for the elderly, paralyzed patients, or persons unable to move after surgery. It was among the first batch of enterprises supported by the Hengqin Women’s Federation and settled in the Cooperation Zone Women's Innovation & Entrepreneurship Incubation Base.
Zhang expressed hope that the Cooperation Zone would organize more cultural and recreational exchange activities for Hengqin and Hong Kong, publicize Hengqin brands, and promote its preferential policies and dividends among Hong Kong entrepreneurs.
Since establishment of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin in September 2021, policy dividends have been released at an accelerated pace. Hence, an increasing number of Hong Kong and Macao-funded enterprises have settled in Hengqin to seek ample development space in the Greater Bay Area (GBA). From Macao alone nearly 5,000 firms have already settled here.
In another advantageous development, the State Council agreed in 2019 that Hengqin International Recreational Island should become a world-class travel and recreation center and services site. It would provide facilitated Customs clearance, standardized tourism industry, and an internationalized environment for tourism. The HZMB also completed a "one-hour living circle" in the GBA. It attracted residents from surrounding cities to explore Hengqin, and deepened cultural and tourism cooperation with Macao and Hong Kong.