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China’s ‘Hawaii’ gets a boost for pharma, EVs, financial services

(ATF) China on Thursday announced a slew of measures to support businesses in the pharmaceutical sector, financial services, new energy vehicles (NEVs) and aerospace in the southern province of Hainan. The moves will also test the effectiveness of these reforms. 

The island, known as the “Hawaii of China”, was made a “free-trade port” last June. Under the plan, which aims to be fully functional by 2035, the island will become an offshore centre for trade and finance to streamline the flow of commodities, capital and talent.

Travel flows have surged to Hainan, known for its sandy beaches and resort-lined coast, as Chinese travellers unable to go abroad because of the Covid-19 pandemic splurged domestically since last year.

Officials have said they will support Hainan to build charging stations and battery swapping facilities across the island for electric and other new-energy vehicles and push for the application of autonomous driving technology, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on its website.

“This is in support of Hainan to build a free-trade port with Chinese characteristics … to accelerate sectors that we have comparable advantages in,” the statement said.

Shares in Hainan-based companies jumped after Beijing pledged policy support, with Huawen Media Group, Hainan Huluwa Pharmaceutical Group and Hainan Haide Capital Management all surging by their 10% daily trade limit.

China will support Hainan to develop online sales of prescription drugs and encourage firms – both domestic and foreign – to develop new drugs there, the NDRC said, adding that it will push for an international centre for transplantation sciences in the southern province.

An investment fund dedicated to the healthcare industry would also be set up, and Beijing will encourage security brokerages, plus insurance and fund management firms to open businesses on the island. 

The government will also step up support to convert the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site into “world-class” site for commercial spacecraft.

An international antiquities and artwork trading centre will be set up in the island, and Beijing might also give approval for domestic online games to Hainan, the NDRC said.

With reporting from Reuters.


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Iris Hong

Iris Hong is a senior reporter for the China desk, and has special interests in fintech, e-commerce, AI, and electric vehicles. She began her career in 2006 and worked for Interfax News Agency and for PayPal before joining Asia Financial in July 2020. You can reach out to Iris on Twitter at @Iris23360981


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