MILAN, Oct. 23 (Class Editori) – The realization, in June 2018, of China's largest pilot free trade zone, is pushing the growth of the coastal city of Haikou, in the far north of Hainan island, in southern China. It is a pioneering operation that comes after Beijing's decision to make Hainan Island, the largest free zone in China.
The new Haikou free trade zone, Jiangdong New Zone, was presented at the 2019 conference on investment and cooperation. One of the fundamental elements of its development is to aim at attracting the headquarters of large financial, industrial, service companies, congresses, technology salons, cultural and creative activities, education and ecology.
An infrastructure network that meets the needs of the new settlements will have to take shape in the coming years to support development plans, which include investments of 37.2 billion yuan, almost 5.5 billion dollars, divided into 96 projects of which 35 at the industrial level, for 17.3 billion yuan, 32 infrastructures, for 10 billion, and 29 for public health for 9.2 billion yuan.
Last July the local administration announced a project for the installation in the city and neighboring areas of the 2200 recharge centers for electric car batteries, which are estimated to be over 11,000 by the end of this year.
Jiangdong is the mirror of Haikou's giant expansion. The city's GDP just under 50 billion yuan, about 7 billion dollars, in 2010, doubled to over one hundred billion yuan in 2004 and, last year, exceeded 150 billion yuan.
Also the direct air connections with the main countries of South East Asia are in a phase of strong implementation. In January was opened the direct flight with Malaysia, and almost ten other international routes are about to be inaugurated.
Haikou has stepped up its efforts to attract the largest number of investors and companies on the Fortune Global top 500 list. In particular, the interest is aimed at companies that integrate major brands. For this reason, a series of targeted promotional activities have been organized.
For mayor Ding Hui the attraction of investments will have to allow the city of Haikou skipping steps of growth. In 2018, 93 foreign companies have settled in Haikou, including 29 industrial companies, 23 major brands, and four world-class accounting companies. A success that means a 100% increase in a difficult year, which, however, has led to foreign investments of 250 million dollars (+7.8%).
In the first half of this year, agreements were signed for 23 projects with a total investment of 23.97 billion yuan and 287 companies have taken over, said Mayor Ding to the French newspaper Le Figaro. Hubs dedicated to innovation and the business incubators of Haikou allow the implementation of development platforms and offer enormous possibilities for extending the space needed by the startup teams.
In parallel to this area, Haikou has created the Fullsing Town innovation park, the Hainan Data Hub data hub and about thirty other clusters dedicated to innovation, including a 850 million yuan film factory, which should be ready in 2023. It also encourages the growth of cross-border e-commerce with financial aid to companies, platforms and logistics companies.
Tourism is also booming thanks to restaurants and the night entertainment market which has become one of the strengths of Haikou: in the first half of 2019 it received 12.746 million tourists (+1.71%) with revenues of 13.683 million of yuan (+0.65%).
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