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China’s Hainan tries to put aside past failures as it forges ahead with new free-trade port plan

On a muggy workday afternoon in April, dozens of businessmen streamed into a government service centre in Hainan’s Jiangdong New Area, an urban zone about 20km east of downtown Haikou, the island’s capital.Clutching business licenses, they besieged staff with questions about how to establish operations in the industrial estate. Though the area is pockmarked with abandoned construction sites – some strewn with concrete fragments and steel rebar jutting into the air – rapid development is on the…On a muggy workday afternoon in April, dozens of businessmen streamed into a government service centre in Hainan’s Jiangdong New Area, an urban zone about 20km east of downtown Haikou, the island’s capital.Clutching business licenses, they besieged staff with questions about how to establish operations in the industrial estate. Though the area is pockmarked with abandoned construction sites – some strewn with concrete fragments and steel rebar jutting into the air – rapid development is on the…Read MoreSouth China Morning Post