Hong Kong entrepreneurs will be encouraged to take part in the development of Hengqin , a Guangdong island earmarked as a key base for cross-delta co-operation, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said in Macau after meeting Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on. Tang met Chui at the Macau government headquarters before attending a forum on cross-delta economic ties in the former Portuguese enclave. 'Mr Chui invited Hong Kong to take part in the development [of Hengqin],' Tang said. 'I'll further introduce Hengqin to Hong Kong enterprises and see what suitable investment opportunities there are.' He said Hong Kong companies may have an advantage in Hengqin's development, which is centred on tourism, convention, exhibition, leisure and cultural industries. Guangdong officials said in December that the province would spend 72.6 billion yuan (HK$82.4 billion) to transform Hengqin, an island off Macau, from a bleak outpost with a gross domestic product of just 128 million yuan in 2008 into a key base for cross-delta co-operation. They said a new town would be built on the 86 square kilometre island, with a theme park, multi-functional power station and business district. Hengqin enjoys sub-provincial administrative status, joining the ranks of Pudong New Area in Shanghai and Binhai New Area in Tianjin . Tang said at the forum in the Macau Tower that Hong Kong entrepreneurs would be encouraged to upgrade their plants in Guangdong and expand mainland sales networks. 'We believe the successful transformation of Hong Kong enterprises would be a huge contribution to the upgrade of the overall competitiveness of the manufacturing industry of the Pearl River Delta,' he said. Tang said Hong Kong firms should expand their sales networks as Beijing unveiled more policies to spur domestic consumption in the wake of the global financial crisis. Guangdong deputy governor Lei Yulan and Macau finance minister Francis Tam Pak-yuen also attended the forum.