Hainan woos investors to pump 57b yuan into province

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 July, 2010, 12:00am

Hainan province is hoping that deep-pocketed Hong Kong investors will contribute up to 57 billion yuan (HK$65.42 billion) to help boost the tropical island's service sector.

At a signing ceremony yesterday, Wang Chao, assistant minister of the Ministry of Commerce, said there was vast potential for Hainan and Hong Kong to co-operate, especially in the finance, transport and conference and exhibition sectors.

'Service industry contributes 90 per cent of Hong Kong's GDP. Hong Kong has advanced experience and mature practice that Hainan can learn from,' Wang said.

The two are already closely linked. As of December, Hainan had more than 6,000 Hong Kong enterprises, accounting for 60 per cent of all the province's joint ventures.

Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang said Hong Kong and Hainan would target tourism products, bringing visitors to both Hong Kong and Hainan in one trip.

It takes 80 minutes to reach Haikou and Sanya by airplane, with two to three daily flights between Hong Kong and Hainan's two cities.

The National Development and Reform Commission has set a target for Hainan's service sector to account for 60 per cent of GDP by 2020, from 45 per cent in 2009.

Hainan is most keen to attract investment in telecommunications, information and transport sectors, said Li Guoliang, Hainan's vice-governor.

'We will gradually build Hainan into an international shopping centre, a finance centre and a transportation hub,' Li said, without enlarging on the strategy.

China still suffers from skill shortages in the financial sector.

A pragmatic approach for Hainan could be to become the major port between factories in coastal mainland provinces and Southeast Asian countries.

Since the State Council said it wanted Hainan to attract more international tourist arrivals six months ago, capital has poured into the 35,000-square-kilometre island. In the first half of 2010 new registered capital totalled 55.97 billion yuan, up 196.2 per cent year on year, leading to concerns of a possible bubble.

According to a development blueprint approved by the central government, Hainan will spend 3.5 trillion yuan on building the island into an international tourist destination over the next 11 years.

Shopping list

Hainan wants investors in the information, telecommunications and transport sectors

The number of Hong Kong companies already doing business in Hainan: 6,000

The amount to be spent on developing Hainan's tourism industry in the next 11 years, in yuan: 3.5tr yuan