In 2018 the Chinese government have pressed ahead with an ambitious scheme to transform the province of Hainan (South Sea) Island into an internationally acclaimed tourist resort. The latest step in this scheme has been an announcement that western-centric social media, including facebook, twitter and youtube, will be unblocked in the province. All once hidden behind the famously dubbed “great firewall of China”, Hainan is now set to be become the first province of the country to be exempted from the ban.
Nevertheless, the unblocking of these social media applications will not be a blanket one. Foreign tourists will only be allowed to access their facebook and twitter accounts in designated zones, particularly the two major cities on the island of Haikou and Sanya. It remains unclear if this will extend to Instagram, snapchat or google, which have also been blocked in the country.
Taxi drivers banned from wearing flip-flops
The social media liberalisation forms part of a wider 3-year comprehensive plan of action as set out by the Chinese media. As part of the plan, the local government anticipates to further accelerate international promotion of the province by hiring to 50,000 English speaking expatriate workers from South East Asia, as well as devoting significant resources towards advertising on Western networks. The grander goal will not only strive to generate a tourist resort, but also the creation of a free trade area by 2020. Earlier this year Beijing announced a visa free scheme for the island, with 58 countries qualifying.
Other parts of the plan include a proposed relaxation of the ban on gambling, which will permit foreign tourists to participate in “instant lotteries” on sporting events such as tennis, horse-racing and international football games. The wider proposals also involve more detailed efforts to improve the area’s image, as such banning taxi drivers from wearing flip flops and chewing betel nuts.
Investment guru Warren Buffett
The highly ambitious project aspires to attract global businesses and names, setting out a “100-day campaign to attract businesses” along with a list of names and organisations to approach. This includes world leading tycoon Warren Buffett, US media giant Time Warner, the prestigious British boarding school Eton college, South Korea’s Samsung Conglomerate and global law firm Baker & McKenzie.