Beijing has given the green light for Hong Kong and Macau businesses to open entertainment venues, sans casinos, in the southern province of Guangdong, China. The move allows companies operating in the SARs to go it alone, without the need for local joint venture partners. The Chinese State Council made the announcement in a June 1 statement released to local and Mainland media.
According to Beijing based Caixin Media, the decision is an expansion of a pilot program which started in March 2015 that allowed investors in the special administrative regions to to open karakoe clubs and other entertainment venues in a few select area of Guangdong including the Hengqin District in Zhuhai and Shenzhen’s Qianhai District. Hengqin (pictured in artist render) in close proximity to Macau, has seen immense investments in infrastructure and tourism and enjoys status as a special economic district. Plans call for the eventual creation of a physical platform connecting all of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao – including Tapai, Cotai, and Coloane.
The financial and business news outlet reports that data from the Hong Kong Department of Trade and Industry indicates over 3,000 licenses had been issued to Hong Kong businesses as May, but on 30 were issued to entertainment operators seeking to expand into the mainland markets. The “Closer Economic Partnership Agreement” of 2012 saw the Chinese government commit to expanded business opportunities for Hong Kong and Macau service industry providers.
The central government pledged to open the mainland’s services industry to investors from Hong Kong and Macau under the 2012 Closer Economic Partnership Agreement. This agreement seems to opened the door to the most recent decision usurping a 2006 regulation requiring local participation in opening any entertainment venues on the mainland.
As of May, over 3,000 licenses were issued to companies from the former British colony to expand their businesses on to the mainland, data from Hong Kong’s Trade and Industry Department showed. But only 30 companies among them were operators of entertainment facilities.
The Shanghai Free Trade Zone has allowed outside investors to open arcades, nightclubs, and karaoke bars since 2013, with casinos still confined to the Macau SAR.