Hainan free trade port development in full swing: Governor

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An aerial drone photo taken on March 13, 2024 shows the expansion project of Yangpu international container terminal in south China's Hainan Province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hainan, China's southern island province, is ramping up efforts to develop itself into a free trade port (FTP), securing progress in high-level opening up, provincial governor Liu Xiaoming said Thursday.

Hainan has become a magnet for investment, attracting a surge in foreign capital, Liu told a news conference.

Since 2018, the number of newly established foreign-funded enterprises in Hainan has grown at an annual rate of 65 percent, reaching a total of 6,543, signaling a strong vote of confidence from international investors.

In addition to the corporate boom, the province has seen significant growth in duty-free shopping. In 2023, the number of shoppers and the total value of transactions climbed by 59.9 percent and 25.4 percent, respectively, year on year, highlighting the region's burgeoning appeal as a consumer haven.

The governor said Hainan is at the forefront of implementing high-standard economic and trade rules, steadily expanding its institutional openness.

He said the tropical province has introduced a series of new measures across key areas, including services trade, digital trade, intellectual property protection, and cross-border data flows, underscoring its commitment to a top-tier business environment.

Vigorous efforts are being made to ensure the smooth and timely operation of island-wide special customs clearance, including running stress tests, Liu added.

A master plan for the FTP released in 2020 aimed to build Hainan into a globally influential high-level FTP by the middle of the century.

An FTP system focusing on trade and investment liberalization and facilitation will be "basically established" in Hainan by 2025 and become "more mature" by 2035, according to the plan.

Liu said the policy and institutional framework of the Hainan FTP has basically been established.

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