According to a survey conducted by the Macau Youth Federation, less than a tenth of local youths wish to move to Hengqin.
Alexander Lei Chi U, a vice-director of the federation’s Macau Youth Politics Training Programme Committee, announced the group’s findings Sunday at a press conference.
The Hengqin Entrepreneurship Valley for Macau Youth opened on June 29, a kind of incubation centre for local start-ups. About 30 businesses moved in on the day of opening, with about 170 applications pending, according to previous media reports.
Speaking at Sunday’s press conference, Lei said that of the 500 local youths surveyed in February, only about 9.1 percent said they considered moving to Hengqin, with an overwhelming 84.5 percent saying they didn’t have any plans to do so. He pointed out that almost half of the 9.1 percent said the main reason for moving to Hengqin was the cheaper rent or lower property prices there.
Lei said the survey also showed that only 20.1 percent of the 23.2 percent of the respondents who are either young entrepreneurs or looking to start their own business, showed any interest in moving to Hengqin to start their own business. Just over half of the 20.1 percent said they saw potential in the future development of Hengqin, he added.
The federation’s President Chan Sao Chai attributed the lack of interest to the local government’s failure to provide a convenient source for information about Hengqin. She urged the government to provide more information about the adjacent island, not just about the 128,000-square-metre “valley” for young local businesspeople, but also the differences in the laws and regulations between Macau and Hengqin.
Chan also pointed out that the mainland’s restrictions on the Internet were likely putting off many young local people as well, considering that they spend much of their time on Facebook and other social media websites that are banned in the mainland. She suggested that the government should try to strike a deal with the Hengqin administration to allow local entrepreneurs access to such websites on the island which belongs to Zhuhai.
The respondents’ age ranged between 18 and 45.
Earlier this year, the local government announced plans to build homes for local senior citizens on the island.
Hengqin covers about 106 square kilometres, more than three times the size of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR). The island is officially known as Hengqin New Area. Macau has leased about 1 sq km from the island for the new University of Macau (UM) campus. The “valley” for young local businesspeople lies near the UM campus. (macaunews/macaupost)