Macau/Concerns that Hengqin New Area Would Be A Failure
Most Concerns about Hengqin project is that whether Hengqin could become another metropolis as people in both Beijing and Macau hope. Dr Kwan Fung, head of the University of Macau’s economics department, said industrial co-operation between Hengqin and Macau was just wishful thinking by the mainland authorities.
From the beginning Hengqin is using a mode of ‘Disneyland’, putting high-tech projects (health care, traditional Chinese medicine and financial industry, etc) and theme parks that could be put in any other corners in the world as attractions into this small island. It is a doubt that Hengqin will have the same attraction as other developed cities to people. Take a closer example, Shenzhen has successfully changed into a metropolis before the great development of China’s cities, with the cooperation between Hong Kong and it. Now, after most cities in PRD have been modernized, it would become difficult to ‘grab’ resource as it is not much different from its surrounding cities.
Seen from Macau, the cooperation between Hengqin and Macau doesn’t match the initial expectations. Macau is spending huge amounts of money to develop Hengqin. What is it getting in return? In this project it seems that Hengqin is gainning much more than Macau(Fig.1, Fig.2). Hengqin is in rapid urbanism while city of Macau remains almost unchanged. In this case, Macau’s people could be benefited only if Hengqin has a stronger relationship with Macau. Alexis Tam, who was the government spokesperson in 2011, commented: “In a while, Macau residents will be able to go to Hengqin, inclusively taking their cars, and benefit from all the infrastructure that will be developed there, effectively opening to the [local] society to a space that is three times larger than Macau, and creating development opportunities that were never possible to have before.”
 Fiona, Tam, “Economic Development Plan for Zhuhai’s Hengqin Island Doubted,” South China Morning Post, September 5, 2012.
 Paulo Barbosa, “Macau Should Lead Hengqin’s Development,” MacauDailyTimes, March 16, 2015.
 Barbosa, “Hengqin’s Development.”
Fig.1, Fig.2 Satellite images of Macau and Hengqin in different time frame, source: