The island of Hainan in South China will play a greater role in China's opening-up as 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the province and the special economic zone as well as the 40th anniversary of the country's opening-up, Chinese analysts noted Thursday.
"It is reform and opening-up that has given life and prosperity to Hainan, that has turned it from the once backward and remote island into one of China's most open and dynamic regions," said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a keynote speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference on Tuesday.
Hainan's development is all because of the opening-up to the outside world, and it is perfect evidence of China's successful reform in the last 40 years, Kuang Xianming, director of the economic research center at the China Institute for Reform and Development, told the Global Times.
"With the development of the Belt and Road initiative, especially the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Hainan will play a greater role in the future," Kuang said.
Before China's opening-up policy, Hainan was an undeveloped region administered by Guangdong Province.
With the establishment of the Hainan Special Economic Zone in 1988, the island's rapid development was initiated.
Hainan will carry out new measures to make it more open, dynamic and international, Liu Cigui, Party chief of Hainan, was quoted as saying by the Xinhua News Agency.
Hainan will fully engage in the Belt and Road initiative and push ahead with construction of an economic cooperation zone around the South China Sea, Liu said.
The province will accelerate transportation links between Hainan and countries and regions along the Belt and Road, he said.
A total 100 international air and sea routes are expected to open in three years, he added.
Statistics show tourists visiting the island increased from nearly 26 million in 2010 to more than 67 million in 2017, while a total tourism revenue grew from 26 billion yuan ($4 billion) in 2010 to more than 81 billion yuan in 2017.
The province attracted more than 1 million overseas tourists last year, Xinhua reported.
As for free trade, Chi Fulin, president of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development, told the Global Times on Thursday that the province was extremely likely to launch significant measures to facilitate the opening of the services sector.
"With its important location along the Maritime Silk Road, Hainan is expected to launch new measures for all-round opening-up in 2018, with a focus on the services sector," he said.
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