Hengqin Island is located in the southern part of the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province and covers an area of 106.46 square kilometers, with a total coastline of 50 kilometers. The island enjoys a subtropical monsoonal climate with an average annual temperature of 22-23 degrees Celsius.
The island overlooks Macao across a strait, and the two areas are less than 200 meters apart at the narrowest point. Hengqin is 34 nautical miles from Hong Kong. Upon completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in 2016, the island will become the only place in China directly linked with both Hong Kong and Macao.
Hengqin had a population of 4,203 permanent residents in 2014. The environment of the island presents distinct contrasts, with one side filled with banana forests and fish ponds and the other side packed with magnificent modern buildings.
In December 2008, the State Council approved the Pearl River Delta Area Reform and Development Plan, which designated Hengqin Island as an important part of the Pearl River Delta economic cooperative area and a key bridge between Hong Kong and Macao that would strengthen cooperation in the service and high-tech industries.
On Dec. 16, 2009, the State-Council-approved Hengqin New Area was formally established as the country's third, following Shanghai Pudong New Area and Tianjin Binhai New Area. Four major projects with total investment capital of 72.6 billion yuan (roughly US$11.7 billion) were announced at the district's opening ceremony, drawing worldwide attention.
On March 6, 2010, the Guandong Provincial People's Government and the Macao Special Administrative Region Government signed a cooperation framework agreement in Beijing that put forward a series of initiatives to jointly develop Hengqin and build the Guangdong-Macao Cooperation Industrial Park.
Hengqin has accumulated rich business collaboration experience through its interaction with Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao. The district has subsequently become a new landmark of China's reform and opening to the outside world.
Currently, the island's economy is dominated by traditional agriculture and fishery industries. With rich natural resources like waterfalls, exotic stones and lush tropical trees in addition to cultural relics like the remains of an ancient battlefield, the tourism industry on the island is also enjoying extensive development.
The gradual expansion of Hengqin Island's economy has helped form a development pattern primarily founded on foreign and private investment capital. The island has enjoyed double digit economic growth in recent years, and it will definitely attract more domestic and international investment as it continues to benefit from central and local governments' incentive policies for new economic areas.