Hainan releases guidebook for expats

Updated: Mar 28, 2024 By CHEN BOWEN in Boao, Hainan China Daily Print
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A view of Sanya Bay in Hainan province. [Photo/VCG]

South China's Hainan province released a guide tailored for expatriates on Sunday, offering useful information and step-by-step instructions for a range of services in the province.

It was launched ahead of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024, which opened on Tuesday in Boao, Hainan, and will close on Friday.

The Guide to Hainan for Expats, produced by the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan province, is an illustrated resource that provides practical insights into various aspects of life in Hainan. From traveling to living, working, studying and doing business, the guide is designed to offer clear and concise information in plain English, making it accessible to expats from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The guide is organized into four sections, each catering to the needs and interests of expats considering or already living in Hainan.

For instance, one section, "Staying in Hainan", covers everything from what to do after arriving in Hainan, useful apps, payment options, getting connected, housing, education and medical care. Additionally, it offers insights into the local climate, emergency services, as well as public holidays and traditional festivals.

"Local Services", another section, guides expats on where to look up local news, learn about Hainan's latest policies and regulations, and access useful contact information. It also provides information for those considering starting a business in Hainan and outlines the policies relevant to foreign nationals.

The inclusion of QR codes throughout the guide adds an interactive element by connecting expats to 35 in-depth articles and how-to guides, such as a list of duty-free shops in Hainan and how to apply for a Chinese driver's license. The guide also features more than 40 apps and vendors, catering to various needs and preferences.

Hard copies of the guide are being distributed at various key locations across Hainan, including entry-exit administration service centers, airports, ferry terminals and hotels. They are also handed out to attendees at the Boao Forum for Asia.

An electronic version of the guide is accessible across a number of platforms, including the Hainan Foreign Affairs Office's public WeChat account.

Zeeshan Qasim Khan, CEO of Hainan Daily International Trade Co, who has been in Hainan for 12 years, said he loved the online version of the guide.

"It has been so incredibly helpful in navigating various important places and attractions, providing important information regarding work permits, healthcare, education, purchasing train or bus tickets and recommendations. It's like having a personal tour guide in my pocket. I highly recommend using this app for any travel or exploration needs," the Pakistani said.

The launch of the Guide to Hainan for Expats is an important step in enhancing Hainan's international service standards. The guide is intended to serve as a detailed "encyclopedia" for foreign nationals who are visiting or residing in Hainan, underscoring the island province's openness and charm. As a testament to Hainan's commitment to global engagement, the guide also serves as a platform to spread China's voice and attract an even greater influx of foreign talent to Hainan, according to the Hainan Foreign Affairs Office.

In June 2020, China unveiled a master plan to build Hainan into a globally influential and high-level free trade port by the middle of the century.

This initiative is underpinned by a range of favorable policies, including the recent extension of visa-free entry for citizens from 59 eligible countries to Hainan, which are designed to streamline the travel process for foreign visitors, fostering an environment conducive to attracting expats to travel, live, work and study in the province.

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