How would the opening up of the Hainan economy be beneficial for me as a expat living in Hainan?

By Dennis Nikolaev / / Updated: 2021-01-13,18:17

My name is Dennis Nikolaev and I am an architect focusing on green tropical design. I moved to Hainan 7 years ago so I can practice what I love - architecture. Now, the Free Trade Port is going to boost the construction industry like a rocket ship.

The current policy is helping in 4 different ways:

1. Making life easier for foreign experts:

Right now work permits are much more straightforward; visas and residential registration are much easier. That makes me feel very welcome in Hainan and compensates for the challenges of being a foreigner.

2. Some of the best news for the professional field is the maximum 15% personal income tax reduction. In China, the higher the compensation, the higher the personal income tax, and the maximum personal income tax is up to 45%.

Reduction of import taxes is significant too. However, it will not affect the design industry directly, as we don't buy many goods.

3. The next area of improvement is optimizing the regulations for the construction industry and real estate.

~ The Hainan International Design Island initiative is promising to boost all areas of design business on the Island

~Reduction of allocated land prices to 60%

~Relaxing rules on agricultural land use for tourism

~ Streamlining regulations

4. All the above points are encouraging but here is a simple truth:

 Creating convenient policies and support infrastructure for imported talent is certainly going to fail if there is no demand for their services.

Building up the economy will solve that problem.

I have big hopes on the Hainan economy scaling up. The more jobs and people come to the island the more demand for construction there will be.

Tourism is looking up with Duty Free Shopping and Visa Free Entry.

Infrastructure projects like the new airport and  new regional medical centers boost construction.

Reduced import tax and easing financial regulations will boost import business potential too.

What is really promising is that all these measures come in concert, creating a compound effect.

The relationship between climate and building design

National design giants, international companies, or even new individual talents will come and form the market. The overwhelming majority of them will come from colder climates. They will bring with them their northern design style, replacing the local specialty. Hainan is facing a great risk of losing its unique face.

Our air is amazing. Good local buildings focus on natural ventilation, natural cooling, and protection from hurricanes.

In Hainan we don't require thick insulation but we need sun shading, balconies, and plants to cool down our buildings.

Many of you have seen parking entrances covered by glass canopies. Mova plaza, or even Phoenix Island. 

Do you know why the parking canopies are popular in the north?

To protect the parking ramps from snow! Northern designers include them everywhere by default. "No snow, but build one here anyway, just in case."

Northern designers should learn that the island is special.

Even the Free Trade Port of Singapore that has a climate similar to us didn’t escape this problem. Some landmark buildings there are still alien to the environment fighting the tropical climate rather than embracing it.

Singapore is similar to us in climate. Now it is pushing green technologies. Little by little, it starts to change the look of the city.

What about the Green building situation in Hainan?

The new icon of Hainan University is under construction - the Comprehensive Laboratory building that my team is working on. The building is designed for air moving through the structure, plants protecting it from western sun, and it has lots of shading devices.

When local designers are tasked with tropical green design, they know what to do.

I hope that more decision makers read this and will require design companies to focus on the local climate. The climate consideration will reflect on the urban environment. You will see no solid glass curtain walls; you will see plenty of vegetation on buildings.

The Free Trade Port is a tectonic shift for my home. I am excited to witness the beginning of it.



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