• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:01pm


Macau, a former Portuguese colony, made US$38 billion (HK$294.9 billion) in gambling revenues in 2012. It is the only place where people can legally gamble at casinos in China.


Macau's request for more space inspires similar dreams in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 3:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 8:36am

A request by Macau for more space on the neighbouring mainland island of Hengqin has brought a call for Hong Kong to follow suit and seek to expand into Shenzhen or Guangzhou.

Macau Chief Executive Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on said five square kilometres allocated on the island for joint cross-border development was not enough and "we have decided to officially request more land on Hengqin from the central government".

Dr Bill Chou Kwok-ping, an associate professor of political science at the University of Macau, said that was sensible given the size of Macau - 31 square kilometres - and its population of about 610,000.

Announcing the Hengqin New Area, as the district is known, in 2009, then vice-president Xi Jinping hailed it as a "demonstration area" for co-operation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. In the same year, Macau paid about HK$1.2 billion to rent a square kilometre for 50 years for an extension of the University of Macau that opened last year.

City University political scientist Dr James Sung Lap-kung said Hong Kong could consider a similar mode of development. "Renting land in neighbouring mainland cities will be a good option," he said. "Like it or not, there is a need for deeper integration between Hong Kong and Guangdong if Hong Kong is to further develop."

While Hong Kong is also co-operating with Shenzhen to develop its Qianhai district, Sung said the pace of that development was too slow.

Dr Chung Kim-wah of Polytechnic University said the Hengqin model could be "too politically sensitive" for Hong Kong.


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This article is now closed to comments

It is thinking outside the box to expand into mainland. Hong Kong should do the same instead putting all its effort endlessly and destructively how to grow without room to do so. Expanding built area into country parks is not right, Building even higher residential buildings is not right. Filling sea for land is also not right. Sure they are all expedient ways that only open door for the property developers and landlords to continue for their windfall profit making.
I will advise CY Leung to take a step as bold as his Macau’s counterpart and seek help from the central government to expand Hong Kong northwards. The pressure against doing so will come not from central government or Shenzhen but only from within – the local property developers and the tourist sectors I am afraid.
The island of Hengqin is little developed and right next to Macau, so it is easy to expand. My question is, where in Shenzhen do you find such an undeveloped area?
Hong Kong can weigh up the pros and the cons and opt for what is best for the overall Delta Region (on win-win platform basis).
Macao's idea can definitely act as a catalyst and "food for thought" .......
Macao is starting to innovate and lead .... Cheers !!


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