Cooperation Zone in Hengqin to advance more measures to develop four major segments – Secretary Lei

More support measures will be rolled out to support the four major sectors in the Guangdong-Macau In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, some of which will be available this year, said Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong.

The four major sectors he refers to are science and technology, culture and tourism, finance, and healthcare like traditional Chinese medicine.

But he declined to divulge the details of the measures in an interview with local newspaper Macau Daily News published today (Wednesday).

The interview took place as the Guangdong-Macau In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin will celebrate its first anniversary on Saturday (Sept 17).

The cooperation zone is a new mechanism approved by the central government for the authorities from Guangdong and Macau to co-govern the future development of Hengqin, Guangdong to help facilitate the economic diversification and development of Macau.

Mr Lei, who also heads the executive committee of the cooperation zone, said there would also be more measures to nurture Macau enterprises in the zone and public opinions would be solicited on the matter.

Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong

Latest figures from the statistics bureau of the cooperation zone show there were a total of 54,331 companies registered in Hengqin as of end-July this year, and companies backed by the capital from Macau accounted for nearly 9.2 per cent of the total, or 4,975 firms.

The gross domestic product (GDP) of the zone increased by 2.5 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2022, the data said. Its volume of trade, however, dropped by 33.6 per cent year-on-year to RMB19.3 billion (US$2.77 billion/MOP22.86 billion) in the first seven months of this year, while the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the zone also plunged by 58.7 per cent year-on-year to US$348 million (MOP2.87 billion) over the same time period.

In regards to what the authorities from two sides have done in the past year for the zone, Mr Lei said they have worked on revising the rules and the master urban plan of Hengqin.

The revision of the master urban plan is to underscore the commitment from the authorities to supporting the economic diversification of Macau, as the past development of Hengqin lacked coordination, he said, adding the revised master plan would be ready soon.

Nie Xinping, deputy director of the executive committee of the cooperation zone, also told Macau Daily News that the development of Hengqin requires talents and the cooperation zone hopes to “entice more international talents” with more customised policies and measures in the future.