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Past Events

Hengqin: Time to Invest? – Business Luncheon – Apr 21



Hengqin now has a clear value proposition for foreign investors based on its status as China’s second Free Trade Zone, its infrastructure and location. Speaking to a group of over 40 BBAM members and their guests, Queenie Wong, General Manager of Marketing at Hengqin FTZ Business Development Centre and Merchants President of Hengqin Development Ltd. Liability Company summarized the attractions of Hengqin for foreign investors to set up business there, and how her office helps simplify and speed up the process of company registration.

The welcome mat is out!

Ms Huang, an ex banker, was a competent speaker, confident and well versed in her material.  She explained that this was her first presentation to foreign associations, and that it will be helpful practice for a roadshow to Europe and the Americas where she and her colleagues will be promoting the benefits of investing in Hengqin.  In time for the lunch great effort had been made to translate the Company Registry Info Collection forms and Guidance and Tips forms into English and copies of both were distributed to all attending.

Ms Wong’s company, a state owned enterprise supported by the China government, is the liaison between the authorities in Guangdong and potential investors.  They will shortly be opening other marketing offices, one in Spain and another in Mexico.

Clearly China lays great importance on Hengqin; President Xi has visited 3 times in the past 6 years.  April 2016 is the one-year anniversary of this free trade zone.  There are now 18,735 companies registered, 742 of them from Hong Kong and Macau. More than a thousand new companies are signing up each month.

Singing Hengqin’s praises for those looking for a gateway into China, Ms Wong started her presentation with a picture of Beijing under heavy pollution fog and a pedestrian wearing a mask.  This then cut to the next slide which was of Hengqin with bright blue clear sunny skies.  An exaggeration of course but the point was made – the place is being billed as one with superior air quality, healthy life style, and opportunities galore for innovation, start-ups, and tourist attractions.

Hengqin is currently three times the size of Macau, and after a recently authorized reclamation project in the south, it will be four times as large. The island is being segregated into distinct zones featuring leisure resorts for tourism, hi-tech industrial, scientific and technological R&D, education in the form of the 10,000 student Macau University, a Central Business District for financial and business services, healthcare, some ‘international residential area’, and a large central chunk allocated to ‘culture and creativity’.

Located in the latter is a one square kilometer given over to Lai Sun Development, a HK listed company who also owns Media Asia Entertainment Group.  Lai Sun Creative Cultural City is placing big emphasis on high tech entertainment experiences through partnerships with National Geographic and Canadian-American entertainment film company Lionsgate.

There’s been a lot of thought going into the design and infrastructure.  Wide 3-lane highways are lined with by now, well matured trees.  No above ground electric pylons will be visible; everything is extremely high-tech, with all cabling kept to below ground.  “Creative Valley” is Hengqin’s answer to Silicon Valley – low-rise modern buildings set around quadrangle courtyards give the place a university campus feel, with their green walls, landscaping and the all-important coffee house.  An Incubator Centre and the Entrepreneur’s Training Camp run by Peking University offers lectures, free office space and studio accommodation at peppercorn rents to bright young minds with innovative ideas.  Business support services such as legal and tax advice are provided.

Ms Wong went on to describe how Hengqin’s transport is in the making: 8 expressways, 2 railways, plus of course the expansion planned for the Zhuhai airport, Macau and Hong Kong’s own airports will connect the island to numerous far reaching cities in China. This all sounds very promising as far as bringing in the numbers of visitors planned for.

Preferential policies to further lure investors include a low 15% corporate tax for companies within 5 nominated industry sectors, Hong Kong/Macau rates of individual income tax for Hong Kong and Macau residents working in Hengqin, 24 hour customs clearance and vehicles with Macau number plates will be able to drive freely in Hengqin. Further sweeteners are offered to foreigners; 3-day visit visas can be obtained on arrival, they’re permitted to buy apartments and offices, and they can even apply for a Permanent Resident Card for China. Easy money repatriation is promised.

A new Massachusetts General Hospital will be built suggesting a high standard of medical care to be available.  Leisure facilities will be extensive: the Ferretti Yacht Marina with its sailing club and school, and the impressive Hengqin International Tennis Centre which has already hosted tennis greats participating in a World Tennis Association competition last year.  The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom with its circus shows and miserable animal exhibits managed to attract an incredible 24 million visitors in 2015.

As she brought her talk to a close Ms Wong told her audience that Hengqin is to be “a city of the future; a perfect integration of dynamic business and natural beauty” with 70% of the island that will be set aside as a Nature Reserve.

By Suzanne Watkinson, General Committee Member of BBAM
With acknowledgement to Jill Rigg for the Hengqin introduction to BBAM

Business Luncheon 21st April: Invest in Hengqin

at The Vista, Level 3, MGM Macau
21st April, 12.30 – 2. 30 pm


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