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’
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.
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.
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.