Zhuhai, China, 15 Sept – The Mayor of the Chinese municipality of Zhuhai, which borders Macau, said Monday that work had begun on making Hengqin Island into one of the three strategic new zones in China following Pudong in Shanghai and Binhai in Tianjin, according to Macauhub agency.
Zhong Shijian said that Zhuhai planned to attract investments from the 500 biggest foreign companies to the island and projected that per capita GDP could total 120,000 yuan (US$17,540) in 2015 and of 200,000 yuan in 2020.
"We expect the population of the island, which has 106 square kilometres, to increase from the current 8,000 people to 120,000 in 2015 and 280,000 in 2020."
Development of Hengqin island will be based on the services industry, entertainment, tourism, education and technological research and development.
Zhong Shijian said that Hengqin, that largest of Zhuhai’s 146 islands, would begin tripartite cooperation with Macau and Hong Kong thus responding to the decision made by the central Chinese government in August to turn the region into a special development area.
"As a pilot project it is expected to make breakthroughs in terms of bordering arrangement, financial cooperation, land management and social governance systems," he said.
Macau University is to build a new university campus on a square kilometre of land leased from Zhuhai after Beijing authorised a proposal made by the Macau government.