Lin Guangming, an overseas Chinese with Singaporean citizenship, came to China's southernmost province of Hainan in 2020 and became the chief planner for the Yangpu Economic Development Zone management committee, fascinated by the massive opportunities presented by the fledgling free trade port (FTP).
Lin's confidence in Hainan's prospects grew after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Xiaochantan wharf of the Yangpu International Container Port to learn about the port's development last week. Lin was among those Xi met during the inspection tour.
Yangpu Economic Development Zone in Danzhou, a city in the northwestern part of Hainan, is a pioneer and demonstration area for the Hainan FTP.
Xi stressed that Hainan should pursue green development, prioritize ecological protection, and enhance synergy between port development and the construction of the Yangpu Economic Development Zone and the Hainan FTP in order to better contribute to the development of the new land-sea transit routes for the western region and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The initiative was proposed in 2013 to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Since then, over two-thirds of the world's countries have reached a consensus with China on cooperation under the BRI.
China announced a decision to develop Hainan into a pilot free trade zone while gradually exploring and steadily promoting the establishment of an FTP with Chinese characteristics in 2018.
As a primary hub along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Hainan has made use of favorable supporting policies and its unique advantages as China's largest free trade zone and its first free trade port since the founding of New China to pioneer the country's high-level opening up.
On Thursday, a sub-forum themed "The Belt and Road: A New Practice of Cooperative Development" will be held during this year's annual Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) conference in Boao, a coastal town in Hainan.
Forum attendees are expected to sum up new progress, which has laid a sound foundation for the economic recovery in the countries and regions along the route under the BRI. They will discuss future cooperation to build a "green silk road."
The tropical island has benefited from the international community's enthusiasm for promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
In 2021 alone, it recorded a total foreign investment inflow of over 3.5 billion U.S. dollars in actual use, up 16.2 percent year on year. Meanwhile, 1,936 foreign-funded enterprises were newly established in the province, a year-on-year increase of about 92.6 percent, said the provincial commerce department.
Hainan is expected to ride high on its industrious construction of FTP and advance toward its high-level, comprehensive development.
During the inspection tour to Hainan, Xi called on the island to develop tourism, modern services, high-tech industries and high-efficiency tropical agriculture, and accelerate the building of a modern industrial system.
"There are huge opportunities for businesses and individuals. With free and convenient personnel exchanges and all the professionals, Yangpu can provide the best career platform for talents," said Lin, adding that the FTP supporting policies are open enough to attract foreign talents to work in Hainan.