Under a five-year development plan, municipal authorities hope to transform the image of Dongshan Island in Zhangzhou from an impoverished fishing village into an international tourism and port city. To achieve the goal, the county government has made infrastructure development, such as roads and ports, priorities. Dongshan party secretary Huang Hanhe said Dongshan Bay was a natural deep-water port with a coastline long enough for up to 14 berths. Dongshan port was Zhangzhou's first to open to international liners in December 1992. Now, it has scheduled routes with container vessels from Hong Kong. The port has three berths, two of which can handle vessels of up to 5,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt). 'We are going to build two more berths to handle vessels up to 5,000 dwt,' Mr Huang said. 'The total investment will be 200 million yuan (about HK$187 million) and we are still raising money for the project. 'Our plan to build a large berth for vessels up to 25,000 dwt is still under preparation.' Only 80 per cent of the port's capacity is now utilised. 'Therefore, the question of how to increase cargo volume to the hinterland from the port is very important,' he said. Another key infrastructure project for Dongshan is a bridge linking the island and Zhaoan county, next to Guangdong. The Daichan bridge, measuring 106 kilometres, and the road network running to it, will cost about US$50 million. 'The Daichan bridge will shorten the travelling distance between Dongshan and north Guangdong,' Mr Huang said. 'More convenient transportation cannot only attract more tourists from Zhaoan and Guangdong province, but also cargoes for the port.' Zhangzhou municipal government has also chosen Zhaoan as an industrial processing and assembly zone for north Guangdong to cater for those moving out from Shantou Special Economic Zone to seek a cheaper manufacturing base. Attractions of this one-time military frontier include beautiful beaches, fine weather and great seafood. Its 10-kilometre beach on Wujiao Gulf is the longest in China. A weekly ferry service between Dongshan and Hong Kong was launched in May last year but was later abandoned because of insufficient passengers. Dongshan is undoubtedly a lovely place to visit, but it is not as well known as other tourist destinations such as Hainan, Xian and Guilin with Hong Kong tourists. A joint venture, formed by companies from Hong Kong, Shantou and Dongshan, once planned to invest 30 billion yuan to build a resort housing yacht clubs, international clubs and villas at Jinluan Gulf, one of the island's beautiful beaches. But the project has been scaled down because of China's property slump and a lack of infrastructure on the island. About 800 million yuan has so far been invested. Despite its poor past, Dongshan's income increased after its farmers started to become involved in high value-added agriculture and sea products such as asparagus and abalone. 'Income from one acre [0.405 hectares] of asparagus plantation is about 13,000 yuan a year,' Mr Huang said. The per capita net income of Dongshan farmers was 2,823 yuan last year, one of the highest in China. Their income may improve further in the near future as Dongshan has started to realise the value of abalone. Mr Huang said a one acre abalone aquarium could generate revenue of three million yuan a year.