[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1 link=same] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=2]

Skip to Content

Operator News

China – Hengqin leisure hub plans

By - 8 October 2013

The Chinese government is betting heavily on Chimelong, the Hengqin located $5bn resort and theme park, as part of its plans to turn the island, situated near to Macau, into an Orlando-style entertainment destination. The marine-themed Chimelong resort, headed by Chinese businessman Su Zhigang, is the biggest project to open on the island this year. Its coral-hued towers, topped by blue onion-domes, will house 1,880 hotel rooms, a conference center, a spa and an indoor water park.

Chimelong, which is set to partially open next month, is the linchpin of China’s ambitious plans to expand Hengqin island into a Florida-style leisure hub thanks to the island’s proximity to the millions of tourists who visit Macau every year.

Pansy Ho, Hong Kong’s richest woman and Managing Director of Shun Tak, calls Hengqin the perfect solution for Macau. The property-to-transport conglomerate is building a complex that will include offices, homes and a hotel on the island. “We need to work on a plan to assimilate and to make sure that in the future, Macau would be in the centre of things, but also integrated with the development and the future of the whole Pearl River delta,” said Ms. Ho.

The government has banned gambling on Hengqin, but that has not deterred Macau’s billion-dollar casino operators. Galaxy Entertainment is considering investing in sports stadiums, golf courses and a marina on the island to complement its Macau casinos. “The customer is wanting a bigger and bigger experience… and in Macau, we just don’t have the land and it would be too expensive,” said GEG Deputy Chairman Francis Lui. “So Hengqin is going to be very important for us.”

Macau welcomed almost 30 million visitors last year, but the government’s plans to increase that number are being stymied by a lack of land and strained infrastructure and services. Hengqin on the other hand is three times the size of Macau and which boasts long, sandy beaches and thick, mountainous forests.

Hengqin has been part of the central government’s plan to develop the Pearl River Delta since 2008, and the island is being groomed as a test bed for political and economic projects between the southern Guangdong province and the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong. The Hengqin model also fits in with China’s plans to boost consumer spending to lift the economy and wean growth away from the manufacturing sector.

Hengquin is connected to Macau through two underwater tunnels. By 2016, it will also be linked to Macau in the east and Hong Kong to the north by a bridge. Rail services will also be extended to Hengqin. Home to fewer than 8,000 people, officials forecast the island’s population to rise to over quarter of a million in seven years time.

Macau University which finished construction of its Hengqin campus in July this year on a site 20 times larger than its Macau location, will formally welcome students in February next year. The university, which can accommodate up to 15,000 students, will be operated under the laws that govern Macau, and not mainland Chinese regulations.


Share via
Copy link