Qianhai and Shekou, both in western Shenzhen, will become part of a new free trade zone (FTZ) of Guangdong Province, according to a draft reviewed by the National People’s Congress on Friday.
The two areas, covering 28.2 square kilometers in total, will join Hengqin in Zhuhai and Nansha in Guangzhou to form Guangdong’s first FTZ, said Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng on Friday while explaining the bill to lawmakers.
According to Gao, China will set up three new FTZs in Guangdong, Fujian and Tianjin on a trial basis, more than one year after setting up the nation’s first FTZ in Shanghai.
Gao said the move is intended “to form a new impetus for reform and opening up” and “to complement” the Shanghai FTZ.
Meanwhile, China will also dramatically expand the size of Shanghai’s FTZ to include the city’s commercial center, where major multinational companies and Chinese banks have their headquarters.
The 13.2-sqkm Shekou Industrial Zone was developed solely by China Merchants of Hong Kong on Jan. 31, 1979, earlier than the formation of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.
The 15-sqkm Qianhai zone won Central Government support in 2010 as a pilot zone for developing the modern service industry through cooperation with Hong Kong.