Lin Guangming, a Singaporean urban planner, has been working in Hainan, China for three years. He is the chief designer at the management committee of the Yangpu Economic Development Zone in the city of Danzhou.
Yangpu is a pioneer and demonstration area for the Hainan Free Trade Port (FTP). Lin is working to combine Singapore’s ideas with local characteristics to create a tailor-made planning for Yangpu.
“We proposed a concept called the ‘fourth generation city, oriented towards the world and the future.’ This concept aims to attract excellent and positive elements from around the world to Hainan, specifically Yangpu, and in turn, open up limitless possibilities for the future,” said Lin.
Hainan has vast potential and bright prospects, according to Lin. He added that the construction of the Hainan FTP has brought great opportunities to foreign professionals like him.
In June 2020, China released a master plan to build the whole of Hainan Island into a globally influential and high-level free trade port by the middle of the century.
Three years on, with a slew of favorable policies taking effect and continuous opening up, Hainan has gained a strong momentum of development and is making great strides towards becoming a free trade port with world influence.
Official data showed the rapid development of the import and export of goods at the Hainan FTP. After exceeding 100 billion yuan (about 14.09 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021, the total volume of trade in goods exceeded 200 billion yuan in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 36.8 percent.
The province is also seeking to build itself into an international tourism and consumption center with booming duty-free shopping, international medical care and education.
The province’s duty-free shops raked in a total of 16.9 billion yuan in the first quarter of this year, a year-on-year increase of 14.6 percent, according to Haikou Customs. Sales of offshore duty-free shops in the province are expected to exceed 80 billion yuan this year, said the provincial government work report of 2023.
As China’s highland of educational opening up and innovation, Lingshui Li’an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone has inked agreements with 22 renowned colleges and universities from home and abroad since June 2020. It’s promoting and encouraging overseas high-level universities to run independent schools in the zone.
Over 300 types of imported medicine and medical equipment have been approved to be used at Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone in Bo’ao, a town near the island’s east coast, benefiting more and more patients. The pilot zone received 189,000 medical tourists last year, up 48.5 percent year on year.
The increasingly open Hainan has become a hot destination for global companies to invest in China.
Data from the provincial department of commerce shows that Hainan newly established 1,320 foreign-funded enterprises in 2022 and the actual use of foreign investment grew 15 percent year on year to 4.05 billion U.S. dollars.
This year is crucial in Hainan’s plan to initiate independent customs operations throughout the whole island by the end of 2025. Related preparation work, projects and stress tests have been fully launched to ensure that by the end of this year necessary infrastructures can be completed and the overall policy system of independent customs operations can be formed, according to the provincial government.