On September 5, China's central authorities issued a general plan for building a Guangdong-Macao in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin. Hengqin is located in the southern part of Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province, just across the Macao Special Administrative Region.
In the past three months, Hengqin's development has pressed the accelerator button, aiming to be a new platform to boost Macao's appropriate economic diversification, a new space that provides convenience to Macao residents' life and employment.
Now GDToday is launching a special series named "New Home, New Chances," telling stories of Macao residents working and living in Hengqin. Please stay tuned.
"If we have any difficulties (in Hengqin), we will call them first. They have always helped in time and solved the difficulties," said Lyu Chan, a lecturer at the Macau University of Science and Technology, when talking about her life in Hengqin after her family moved to Hengqin in 2017.
She mentioned the Guangdong Branch of General Union of Neighbourhood Associations of Macau (GUAMM) and its staff Frankie Chen Weiliang.
Thanks to the policy that allows certain professionals to have qualifications acceptable to work in Hengqin, Frankie became the first batch of professional social workers to practice in the Chinese mainland and started to work in Hengqin in November 2019.
Help newcomers to establish a social network in Hengqin
The Guangdong Branch of the GUAMM has launched a service center in Hengqin and provided services for the elderly, children and young people, families, and communities. As the assistant director of the Guangdong branch, Frankie is mainly engaged in services for the youth.
Through research, Frankie and his colleagues found that most of the young people in Hengqin are optimistic about Hengqin's future and decided to provide more opportunities for them to get to know neighbors and build a social network Hengqin.
Deng Manyao, a graduate of the University of Macau who lives in Hengqin, told GDToday that she was attracted by the Hengqin policy when studying in Macao and chose to live in Hengqin after graduation. "When I first came to Hengqin, I didn't know many people. By participating in events held by Frankie, I made some good friends."
At the same time, Frankie and his colleagues have worked closely with government departments and agencies in Zhuhai and Hengqin and provided these newcomers with practical information service guidelines, including entrepreneurship support policies, the latest epidemic prevention information, and so on.
Mr. Dai, a Macao youth starting a business in Hengqin, called him a "good guy." Attracted by preferential policies in Hengqin, Dai and two friends decided to start a business here. But they had no idea about how to do it.
Thanks to Frankie, Dai successfully registered a company and rented an office. Frankie even reminded Dai to apply for the entrepreneurial subsidies. Now Dai has moved to Hengqin, and his company has also begun to do business.
Create opportunities to enhance youth exchanges
As a Macao youth in Hengqin, Frankie believes that young people from the two places need to have more exchange opportunities to improve understanding in more aspects. Hence, he and his colleagues often invited many young people from Hengqin and Macao to participate in activities.
On December 11th, 30 families from Macao and Hengqin of Zhuhai were invited to paint maintenance hole covers in Huahai Changlang (Flowery Corridors) of Hengqin Island to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland. The event was co-organized by Frankie's organization and Da Hengqin Public Facility Management company.
Thanks to the Hengqin Plan, Frankie now thinks more. "I hope that with more exchanges between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao SARs, we can explore a set of community service models that are suitable for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA)."