ZHUHAI, China, Dec. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — December 20 marks the 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to China, and a flash mob event themed "Budding Zhuhai and Macao, Chasing Dreams in the Greater Bay Area" was held at places such as the Hengqin Port of Zhuhai, a city of the neighboring Guangdong Province on the mainland. According to the Information Office of the People’s Government of Zhuhai Municipality, more than 700 young people from Macao and Zhuhai participated and celebrated the return of Macao and their integrated development with chorus and street dance.
Zhuhai, adjacent to Macao, has now become the gateway and frontrunner for cooperation between the mainland and Macao. In recent years, Macao has actively integrated into China’s overall development and promoted a moderately diversified economic development, to which, Hengqin New Area of Zhuhai, separated by a river from Macao with the nearest distance of 187 meters, is now regarded as an important platform and supporter.
In February this year, the Chinese government issued the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, aiming to continuously deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation and promote the coordinated development of regional economy. Lei Wun Kong, a lawyer from Macao has witnessed the deepening cooperation among these three places. In July 2016, Lei’s law firm, established a joint law firm in Hengqin New Area in partnership with law firms from the mainland and Hong Kong. Since then, he began to commute between Zhuhai and Macao.
What makes Lei’s work across the two cities possible is infrastructure connectivity and convenient and efficient customs clearance. "It only takes half an hour from my firm in Macao to my Hengqin office." More importantly, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have continuously deepened their cooperation in investment, trade, financial services, science and technology education, and social services, providing joint law firms with more possible cooperation in legal services.
Today, shuttling between the two cities for work and life has become a choice for many in Macao. As an important carrier of its cooperation with Macao, Innovalley HQ has incubated 375 projects large or small since 2015, with 199 from Macao, and 23 obtaining venture capital funding, totaling 433 million yuan.
In 2018, Neildo Choi, a young entrepreneur from Macao, along with his team, started his business in the Innovalley and launched Discover Macao, an online travel platform, now offering 1700 tourism-related products, which take up 90% of all Macao tourism products. 62% of its registered users come from the city cluster of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. "Hengqin provides diversified HR structure, physical space and industrial support to Macao businesses," says Choi.
As more and more Macao residents choose to live or work in Hengqin, Zhuhai has worked out some facilitating policies. Starting from July 1 this year, for example, Macao residents who live in Zhuhai permanently are eligible for the local basic medical insurance, facilitating their education, employment, entrepreneurship and living. "Now it is more convenient for me to see the doctor, with more hospitals to choose from two cities when getting sick," said Wu Liqing, a Macao resident who obtained the Zhuhai Health Insurance Card in early July.
Right before the 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to China, Hengqin New Area also had its tenth anniversary. Since its establishment, Hengqin has developed six pillar industries in partnership with Macao, including technological innovation, featured finance, medical and health, cultural tourism and exhibitions, commerce and logistics, and professional services, to help expand Macao’s industrial development.
The ever-deepening Macao-Zhuhai cooperation will also help international companies to enter the enormous Chinese market, which actually interests them most, according to Yang Chuan, director of the Administration Committee of Hengqin New Area. Hengqin boasts a unique location in the Greater Bay Area, connecting both Hong Kong and Macao, thus providing easy access to international exchanges for foreign enterprises.