China’s ‘Hawaii’ to al­low horse rac­ing, sports lotteries

Plan aims to make Hainan, an is­land off China’s south­ern coast, a ‘trial free trade zone’

Gulf News - - Asia/ Philippines -

China is en­cour­ag­ing its south­ern is­land of Hainan to de­velop horse rac­ing and in­tro­duce a raft of re­forms as Bei­jing pushes the trop­i­cal tourism des­ti­na­tion as a bea­con of open­ness.

The prov­ince will be urged to ex­plore open­ing new types of lotteries con­nected to sports and in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, ac­cord­ing to the guid­ing opin­ion jointly is­sued by the Com­mu­nist Party Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and State Coun­cil which was pub­lished on Satur­day Xin­hua.

It marks a change of tack for the Com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment, which has long banned most forms of gam­bling in main­land China and comes against the back­drop of its mas­sive cam­paign against cor­rup­tion.

But those con­cerns ap­pear to be tak­ing a back seat as Bei­jing looks to ramp up con­sump­tion to fuel China’s econ­omy and re­bal­ance away from the in­vest­ment and ex­ports that have led the way for four decades.

Re­forms

The plan aims to make Hainan, an is­land off China’s south­ern coast, a “trial free trade zone” to try out the re­forms Bei­jing has pledged to bring to the main­land for years with few tan­gi­ble suc­cesses.

The out­line comes days af­ter Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pledged a “new phase of open­ness” for China at Hainan’s an­nual Boao Fo­rum for Asia, a Davos-like meet­ing of in­ter­na­tional lead­ers.

AFP

A boy rides a horse at a field built on the roof top of a shop­ping mall in Haikou in China’s south­ern Hainan prov­ince.

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