Hainan works to promote high-level opening-up

By Zhao Peng, Cao Wenxuan, People’s Daily

Recently, an intercontinental cargo ship departing from Brazil for the first time arrived at the Yangpu international container port in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone in Danzhou, south China’s Hainan province.

This was the third intercontinental container shipping route that passes the Hainan Free Trade Port after the first two to South Pacific and West Africa, said Zhou Changmao, head of the port logistics development office under the Yangpu Economic Development Zone’s transport and port bureau.

As of the end of 2022, 481 new vessels had been registered at the Yangpu international container port, whose total shipping capacity added up to 11.65 million tons. In particular, 34 of them were from foreign countries, with total shipping capacity of more than 4.9 million tons. This makes Hainan one of the largest provinces in China in terms of the total tonnage of international vessels.

Hainan has adopted a more proactive opening-up strategy over the recent years, to accelerate the building of a new system of an open economy, forge a new paradigm of comprehensive opening-up and build a globally influential free trade port with Chinese characteristics.

In recent years, Hainan has given high priority to institutional integration and innovation. As of now, a total of 134 cases of institutional innovation have seen success in Hainan

Aiming to finish building all the necessary infrastructure for independent customs operations by 2023, Hainan is strengthening whole-process targeted management and making continuous efforts. At present, 25 projects of independent customs operations are under construction and expected to be completed this year.

Hainan sent a business delegation to Indonesia and Vietnam to promote the Hainan Free Trade Port this February. At the promotional event in Indonesia, 13 cooperation projects were signed, covering international shipping, purchase of natural rubber materials, plant building and cross-border e-commerce. The total value of the deals reached nearly 3.5 billion yuan ($509 million).

“The rapid development of the Hainan Free Trade Port has created rare opportunities for our business expansion, ” said Go Tek Yok, chairman of Indonesia’s coffee brand Kapal Api. This largest coffee producer of Indonesia recently opened its first shop in Hainan.

More and more internationally renowned brands and enterprises are trying to get a share in the Chinese province. Tapestry, Inc., a New York-based house of modern luxury lifestyle brands has inaugurated its China travel retail headquarters in Hainan, and Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. has registered a company in the province’s Haikou Integrated Free Trade Zone.

In the recent five years, Hainan’s trade in goods and services grew 1.8 and 1.2 times, respectively, and the province’s foreign direct investment, in actual use, exceeded that in the previous three decades. Besides, the ratio of Hainan’s foreign trade to the province’s GDP increased 15 percent in the same period.

Meanwhile, to make foreign investment via Hainan province has become a choice for many enterprises, which is injecting new impetus into the province’s opening-up and development.

On Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, a modern coking industrial park has been built recently. “This is our first overseas park, and will be put into use this May,” said Xiao Wei, vice general manager of a Hainan-based international investment company.

Hainan enjoys a great geographical location in doing business with Southeast Asia, as well as favorable tax policies and investment facilitation measures, said Xiao.

Many enterprises, after settling in Hainan, have made active moves to invest in the foreign market, including Zijin Mining Group, Nanjing Iron and Steel Company and pharmaceutical company Yunnan Baiyao. Last year, Hainan reported outbound foreign direct investment of more than $1.89 billion, up 137.46 percent year-on-year.

Hainan is working to build itself into a base of headquarters from which Chinese enterprises enter the global market and foreign enterprises enter the Chinese market. Besides, it is establishing an air and maritime transport network and an international economic and trade cooperation network.

Since 2018, Hainan has introduced 4,790 foreign enterprises from 127 countries and regions. Last year, its total trade in goods grew 36.8 percent to 200.95 billion yuan, and the growth was among the highest in China.