DIAMONDS and business events are set to become best friends for Macau under plans for a Co-operation Zone spanning neighbouring Hengqin island.
China’s State Council has approved the “Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation” to help Macau diversify from a dominant gaming industry and into four sectors ranging from digital technology and finance to traditional Chinese medicine, tourism and MICE.
The processing of raw diamonds and gemstones will also be supported to make Hengqin, Macau and the surrounding area a “world class trade centre” for the finished products, according to the plan. Diamond processing is already a major business between Hong Kong, the greater Shenzhen area and the rest of the world.
The 106 square kilometre island of Hengqin located between Macau and Zhuhai was previously designated as a centre for non-gaming leisure and tourism by China’s central government. The State Council’s plans, however, “underscores the development of tourism and MICE – like sport tourism and healthcare tourism – as one of the major sectors for the Cooperation Zone”, Macau Business reported this week.
Under the plan, 2024 has been set for completing the initial stages, further significant developments achieved five years later and the project “basically achieved” by 2035.
The zone centred on and around Hengqin is seen as vital in the innovation and technology vision that underpins the Greater Bay Area, a new economic zone covering a market of more than 70 million people and involving nine municipalities in Guangdong and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
Alongside development and manufacturing bases for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), high-end manufacturing will be encouraged with an emphasis on integrated circuits, new energy, big data, IoT and biomedical engineering.
Approval of multiple-entry visas between Macau and Zhuhai will be available for “foreign staff and professional visitors of the MICE events” to be held concurrently in Macau and Hengqin to facilitate more cross-border MICE events”, the Macau Business report added.