The state council recently approved Hengqin Island’s request to double its land mass and increase the area of its special economic zone. The island is currently similar in size to Macau, a special administrative region which is just an hour away by ferry from Mainland China and Hong Kong.

Macau’s land area is 30.2 square kilometres and Hengqin Island existing land area is just 28 square kilometres. Hengqin wanted to expand its land area as there are a number of wealthy investors and businesses that are looking to establish new operations on the Island and land prices are at a premium.

Hengqin Island will now be able to convert around 27.9 square kilometres of sea from the southern part of the Island which borders Zhuhai in Guangdong province and use the extra land for business development. The island expects to attract a lot of investors from Macau and Hong Kong who are looking to buy real estate and also establish new companies as the special economic zone will offer them a number of privileges.

In a statement, Niu Jing, the Hengqin New Area Management Committee director said Companies from Hong Kong and Macau can have unlimited use of land in Hengqin The key is to see their projects. Good projects will certainly receive adequate support. As of now more than 875 Macau and 222 Hong Kong businesses have already made investments in Hengqin Island.

Some of the these investments come from companies like eSun Holdings Ltd and Lai Fung Holdings Ltd who are part of the well known Hong Kong real estate company Lai Sun Group. These companies are investing in Hengqin “Immersive Experience Centre” which is situated in the Creative Culture City and is being constructed at an estimated cost of $3.42 billion. The center will have an e-sports gaming facility, performance halls, conference halls, a hotel and a number of other entertainment facilities.

In November 2015, more than 14,500 businesses had registered themselves in Hengqin and 1,770 of these firms were from the financial sector and had registered capital of more than 183 billion yuan and un-registered capital that exceeded 1.5 trillion yuan.

Hengqin aims to attract over 50 million visitors each year and plans to build unique attractions over the next few years that will bring in even higher number of tourists. One of those attractions is the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom which is the biggest water theme park in the world which opened to the public in March 2014.  Hengqin authorities will now have to be very selective in approving licenses as demand for land has far surpassed the available supply.