The Guangdong government has approved a 15-year plan to develop Hengqin island off Zhuhai for high-technology industries, scientific research and recreation. 'It's been approved in principle,' said Zhuhai development and reform bureau director Li Jianping . 'Both the provincial government and the premier are very concerned about the plan. The next thing to do is to finish drafting the plan and to attract investment.' To complement this plan, the government would also develop logistics and commerce and promote training and cultural innovation, Southern Daily reported. The provincial government had pledged to speed up approval for projects on the island, which was also being developed as a support centre for land-starved Macau's gaming industry, the report said. Mr Li said a proposal to turn Hengqin into a development zone to promote pan-Pearl River Delta co-operation was still awaiting central government approval. More than 10 billion yuan had been invested on the island's infrastructure so far, he said. Hengqin is slightly bigger than Hong Kong Island and three times the size of Macau. It has little more than oyster beds and seafood restaurants and bridge links with Zhuhai and Taipa in Macau. By 2020, it is projected to have a population of 250,000 and 6 million tourist arrivals a year, the newspaper report said. The island currently has 3,000 inhabitants. Zheng Tianxiang , a Pearl River Delta scholar, said the development of Hengqin should focus initially on the tourism industry and the rest would fall in place. 'Research and development and high technology should be in the longer-term plan. The tourism industry will take off fast, with results to be seen in three to five years,' Professor Zheng said. Guangdong has pushed hard to raise Hengqin's profile by proposing it be a landing site for a Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge and offering it as a development zone to investors in the pan-Pearl River Delta region, which comprises nine southern provinces and Hong Kong and Macau.