In April 2018, at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia international conference held annually in Hainan, President Xi Jinping announced a comprehensive new initiative and strategy for Hainan Province to further open and reform. Coincident with this, the State Council issued detailed Guidelines on policy, objectives and implementation (Guiding Opinions of the State Council of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Supporting Hainan's Overall Deepening of Reform and Opening-up, 11 April 2018 – in Chinese). These policies represent the most significant development of Hainan Province since it was established a mere 30 years ago. They also provide the potential for International business in Hainan at a level previously unseen in China.
The main policy proposals are:
- the establishment of Hainan Free Trade Zone and Port (with the entire province, being a geographically discreet tropical island, becoming an FTZ and Port).
- the development of Hainan as an International Tourist Destination and Tourism Consumption area.
- the maintenance, development and eco-friendly utilisation of Hainan’s agricultural and marine environments.
- the integration of other Chinese national policies into Hainan’s overall reform and opening (such as the Belt and Road project), including piloting deeper reform initiatives.
China has a reputation for setting and meeting implementation targets, and target dates for Hainan’s new development include by 2025 having an international business environment equal to any in China, and by 2035 to be the leading business environment globally. Whilst the entire project is still at an early stage, with Provincial and Municipal governments currently, but rapidly, developing detailed implementation policies and strategies, there is little doubt as the policies are realised, and to whatever level, there are a wealth of new international and local business opportunities ahead across a broad spectrum of industries and on many scales.
Cognisant of that, and drawing on many years of worldwide and in-China experience, the existing business community in Hainan, elsewhere in China and worldwide, HCham has been formed to ensure that the multilateral International Business Community along with local business, large and small, have the best possible opportunity to engage with Hainan, to seek connections and opportunities, to follow developments, gain detailed and up-to-date (English language) information in a reliable and easy-to-digest form, to attend events, workshops and seminars, to allow businesses to promote and introduce themselves, to consult and liaise with Hainan Government and act as the Voice of Business on our members’ behalf, throughout the entire reform and opening, and beyond.
Hainan has until now been only partially explored or exploited by International business, and so in the coming years we expect to see great strides forward. Whether you are Warren Buffett or Warren’s Buffets (mobile catering our specialty!) there is a place for you at HCham and in Hainan. We look forward to engaging with you all.