Home Actuality “Hengqin is now; it’s better to go now”

“Hengqin is now; it’s better to go now”

The Cooperation Zone between Macau and Guangdong is growing by leaps and bounds, fulfilling a long-announced destiny… although sometimes slower than many expected. Macau is experiencing a mixed feeling, made of hope and expectation, but also of doubt – and even skepticism.

Is it really worth it?

Is this the time to work, to invest, to live on the other side?

Antonio Lei, director of the Economic Development Services in Hengqin, launches the challenge: “The time is now; it is better to go now. I wonder if tomorrow won’t be too late.

Read also: Hengqin: Macau companies account for more than 70% of foreign investment

António Lei was this Wednesday promoting Hengqin in a session co-organized by the Rui Cunha Foundation and the European Chamber of Commerce in Macau, and left a series of clues about a “unique opportunity” that Macau “must seize” because “probably will not have another to grow and diversify its economy.

Something that today will be more obvious and perceptible; on the one hand, taking into account the “difficult” economic situation that the Macau SAR is going through; on the other, because after more than a year as a member of the Executive Committee of the Cooperation Zone, he foresees decisive steps already in 2023.

In this context he leaves the advice: “Go there and see, visit the technology parks, schools, health centers, hospitals, the leisure areas… See what you can do there for a unique opportunity, an experience never before lived in China”.

FOURTH ISLAND OF MACAO

One of the central issues, from Macau’s point of view, will be the consolidation of a reinforced border at the crossing between Henqin and Zhuhai, the so-called “Second Line” of the General Development Plan – in particular the customs structure, to control the circulation of products. This strategy, which is to be implemented as early as “mid-2023; has as an immediate consequence the “relaxation of the border on the First Line.”

Read also: Zhuhai, Macao to further weather services cooperation in the Hengqin Cooperation Zone

In other words, easing the corridor between Macau and Hengqin, whether crossing by foot or by car. There will always be a border, but “it has to be easy for Macau residents to come and go daily, otherwise the plan won’t work”, recognizes António Lei, admitting that mechanisms such as “electronic control of the BIR”, or even “facial recognition”, are under study, so that Macau residents feel Hengqin as “their home, the fourth island of Macau, almost as if they were going to Taipa or Coloane”, he concludes.

ELITE, OPPORTUNITY… AND EXCLUSIVE LAW

By 2035, it is predicted that about “150 thousand people” may be living in Hengqin. That is, if today you feel the lack of residents, the Cooperation Zone intends to become an elite platform, marked by modernity, leisure and green areas, with less than a quarter of the population and an area three times larger than Macau.

Read also: Hengqin: workers with subsidies cut and no means to complain

The law in force today in Hengqin is that of China; but that too will change. The Cooperation Zone Management Commission, much more than the administrative regulations, which today are urgent for governance, is preparing a new legal architecture, including “a kind of basic mini-law, which will be much more similar to Macau’s law than to China’s,” predicts António Lei.

LUSOPHONE PLATFORM

António Lei, a perfect bilingual, experienced figure in the Lusophone platform, as a result of his duties at the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, made a point of communicating in Portuguese, with the stated aim of conveying to Macau’s Portuguese community the importance it is given in Hengqin:

“If we want a Cooperation Zone that is open to the outside, that makes a difference in relation to the whole of China, it is very important that Macau’s Portuguese community understands its role in this project; not only through its direct physical presence, but also by contributing to bringing in projects, investment and talent from Portuguese-speaking Countries.”

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Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

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