SCIO press conference on the development of Hengqin and Qianhai

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The general plan for building the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin made it clear that four major new industries will be supported in Macao. Why have the four been selected? What concrete policies will be rolled out to support their development? Thank you. 

Cong Liang:

Thank you for your questions, I will answer them. General Secretary Xi Jinping has made it clear many times that the original mission for building the Hengqin new area is to create a favorable environment for Macao's economic diversification. We kept this in mind when we formulated the plan for Hengqin and decided what major industries to develop in the zone. We have taken into consideration the development foundation of Hengqin, the industrial advantages of Macao, and the expectations from Macao residents, among others, in a holistic manner. After repeated discussions and careful comparisons, we proposed in the plan that four major industries should be promoted in the corporation zone, which are: scientific and technological research and development; high-end manufacturing; traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and other signature businesses of Macao; industries related to culture, tourism, conventions, exhibitions, business and trade; and modern finance. Scientific and technological research and development will provide an important platform for innovation-driven development and is also what Macao expects to develop in the future. Industries related to culture, tourism, conventions, exhibitions, business and trade enjoy a solid foundation for development in Macao and have a competitive edge. Finance and TCM, though only taking a small share in Macao's economy at present, are widely recognized by the society of Macao as the major industries to develop in the future. Particularly, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng has raised on many occasions the intention to develop TCM industry, and a series of measures have been taken recently to develop it. 

The foundation of Hengqin's industrial development remains weak. To accelerate the development of its major industries, we have identified a series of supportive policies in the plan for Hengqin. 

First, we will enhance our capacity for sci-tech innovation. Urgently-needed sci-tech infrastructure be built and major international science plans and projects will be implemented in the cooperation zone. Second, we will facilitate the flow of goods. We will ease the control on the "first line" (the boundary between Hengqin and Macao). There will be tax-free or bonded access for all goods and products except those listed as nonqualified by the law and regulations. We will exempt import tariffs for qualified goods produced by companies in the corporation zone when the goods enter the mainland through the "second line" (the boundary between Hengqin and the rest of the Chinese mainland). Third, we will improve the preferential policies concerning corporate income tax. Corporate income tax rates will be lowered to 15% for eligible companies in the zone. Fourth, we will attract talent from China and abroad. High-level professionals and urgently-needed professionals who work in the cooperation zone will be exempted from paying the portion of personal income tax that exceeds 15% of their taxable income. In addition, there are specified arrangements in terms of improving visa policies for foreign professionals and facilitating them to take part in the building of the zone. Fifth, we will explore new methods in cross-border financial management. More flexible financial policies will be implemented to facilitate cross-border direct investment, cross-border finance, and cross-border security investment. We will explore practices for free cross-border capital flows and push for capital account convertibility.

What needs to be pointed out is that there are many specific categories of the industries mentioned in the plan. Therefore, we should be selective when deciding what emerging industries to be developed in Hengqin, as the place is not large enough for all industries to settle in. There are things we will do and things we won't do. We are not looking for a so-called "business registration economy" or "headquarters economy." Instead, we will develop the real economy and create more jobs to build the zone into a popular destination for investment and talent.

Next, we will work with Guangdong province, Macao SAR and other related departments to formulate the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries in the cooperation zone and revise the Overall Development Plan of Hengqin. We will further specify the categories of industries, focus on advantageous industrial sectors, take multi-pronged approaches in terms of policy, human resources and financial support, scale up efforts to tackle challenges, and facilitate fast and large-scale industrial development, in a bid to promote Macao's economic diversification. Thank you. 

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