Around 8 am on weekdays, Chung, who lives in Macau, crosses the border with the neighboring Zhuhai in Guangdong Province via the Qingma Checkpoint, the fifth land port connecting the Macau SAR (SAR) and mainland China. It takes less than a minute to cross.
With simplified customs clearance, the port, which opened in September 2021 and operates 24 hours a day, will operate 50 inbound automatic channels for passenger customs services and counters with two staff in each direction. It boasts 50 outbound automatic channels.
At about the same time, Macau-based Hocock Toe drives to work for an information technology company on Hengqin Island, which is adjacent to Macau.
Currently, more than 2,000 Macau-licensed vehicles pass the Hengqin checkpoint daily, thanks to the policy of allowing Macau-licensed vehicles to cross the border from the end of 2016. ..
Since 2017, when the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Development Framework Agreement was signed, connectivity has been continuously improved to better integrate Macau into the country’s overall development.
Last September, China’s central authorities announced plans to build a detailed Guangdong-Macau cooperation zone on Hengqin Island. This makes the island an important new growth point for Macau’s economy.
Sheng Li, Vice Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Macau, said infrastructure connectivity, primarily represented by modern comprehensive transportation systems, is for regional integration and development within the resource-rich Greater Bay area. He told Xinhua that it was essential.
In March 2021, construction began to extend Macau’s light rail transit line to Hengqin. It is scheduled to be completed in 2025 and will operate as a shuttle between the two countries. Research is also underway to connect Macau and Hengqin with waterways.
On Hengqin Island, several bridges and undersea tunnels are under construction to improve the connection between the island and other parts of the Zhuhai, especially the airport.
In the meantime, Macau has also made efforts to improve “soft connectivity” with Guangdong in terms of investment, trade, personnel flow and customs clearance.
A new project has been launched in Hengqin, providing housing and business units to Macau residents and providing support facilities by linking education, medical and community services with Macau services.
An online platform for resolving cross-border arbitration cases has also been launched under the new model of mutual consultation, co-construction, co-management, and sharing of interests between Macau and Guangdong arbitration bodies.
“Rules and mechanism connectivity ensure market integration and efficient flow of other key elements of the Greater Bay Area,” Shen said. “Macau’s efforts to explore the” greatest common divisor “of” soft connectivity “under different systems can provide a useful reference for linking different market mechanisms. “
Ho Iat Seng, Chief Officer of Macau SAR, said in a policy speech for fiscal year 2022 that the Macau SAR government will build a cooperation zone for Hengqin Island, including special measures to ease market access to Hengqin Island. He said it would speed up the drafting of major support policies. A list of zones, and the first batch of allowed items and encouraged industries.
Mr. Ho said the SAR government will also actively participate in building legal systems in the cooperation zone, deepen exchange and cooperation of law and justice with Guangdong Province, and improve the dispute resolution mechanism.
President Ip Kuai Peng of Macau City University said building a cooperation zone is a top priority for Macau to participate in the construction of the Greater Bay Area and facilitate connections within the area.
According to Ip, connectivity means improving Macau’s accessibility, facilitating institutional innovation, and coordinating and planning policies in the areas of law, science and technology, finance, business and people’s lives within the Greater Bay Area. It means promoting cooperation.