Yes, Hengqin!


It is not the first time that I touch on this theme but yesterday we had another excellent luncheon organised by the British Business Association of Macau (BBAM) – superbly chaired by Mr. Henry Brockman, who is, by the way, my other reader – where the main topic was the great opportunities Hengqin offers foreign investors, principally for the local investor. At the table, a colleague did not seem very confident in the future of our neighbouring mountain island. Well, I tried to respond that, with few exceptions, 15 years ago no-one thought that Macau would become what we are today. There are many kinds of people in this world: pessimist, mid-optimist and optimist – probably I repeat myself but my father always taught me that an optimist is a pessimist lacking sufficient information. Yet, even after the crisis of 2008 we had people abandoning projects and pumping money into other locations. Well, I am a simple person who has always been completely entranced by the news, having read a weekly newspaper since a very young age. That is why I try to read the news. And the news is: we will have a huge project nearby that will put Macau even more in the limelight. Hopefully, not in a secondary role in what is going to unfold in Hengqin. Yes, my dear and learned friends, it is going to happen irrespective of the unenthusiastic views of some. We will have one of the biggest tourism destinations in the world just across the river within the next decade. Chimelong, I learned yesterday, welcomed 25 million visitors in the last two years. Figures are to be increased this year. Therefore, there are two ways for the entrepreneurs of Macau and other players to proceed: they may cling to being local or otherwise look for opportunities, take risks and think Macau a blessed place that had the opportunity to adjoin Hengqin. Macau players should think beyond the borders and open themselves to the world. And, in these players we shall place our politicians and public decision makers: look to what is happening in the world in order to take measures for those whom you govern. Some years ago I heard the story of a businessman who was challenged to set up an office overseas. Instead of seeing it as an opportunity he answered to the one that was presenting him with the idea that if it was to lose money he would rather invest in the stock market. A view, unfortunately, that remains the predominant one.