On 30 September 2018, the Hainan Provincial Industry and Information Technology Department approved the establishment of the Hainan Free Trade Zone (Port) Blockchain Trial Zone (the “Hainan Blockchain Zone”) to encourage innovation and promote the application of blockchain technology. On 8 October, the Hainan Blockchain Zone was officially established in Hainan Ecological Software Park (the “Hainan Software Park”), kicking off the digital industry development of blockchain in Hainan. In the meantime, the Hainan Software Park announced its co-establishment of the Oxford University Blockchain Research Center (Hainan) with the Blockchain Research Institute of Oxford University.
The above steps aim to: firstly, through Oxford University, to gather global blockchain technology and talents, promote research collaboration and technology development of blockchain technology and form a series of standard intellectual property rights; and secondly, to explore blockchain in the fields of cross-border trade, cross-border payment, inclusive finance, credit evaluation, etc., to drive industry development as well as to develop in-depth cooperation with top-level research institutions in China. Currently, the cooperation mainly focuses on e-government, including government management, real estate registration, healthcare and other fields with supply chain, banking and other related businesses to follow.
A large number of blockchain technology-related enterprises have been established in Hainan, attracted to the favorable policies provided in the Hainan Blockchain Zone. By way of example, on 27 April this year, the Hainan Provincial Government, Alibaba Group and Ant Financial Services Group signed a framework agreement in Haikou to further develop their comprehensive strategic cooperation and carry out key cooperation within the digital economy; in August, Baidu's subsidiary Beijing Dinglu Zhongyuan Technology Co., Ltd. was registered to establish Degree Chain Network Technology (Hainan) Co., Ltd., with Baidu’s Senior Vice President Xiang Hailong as its legal representative. In addition, it is reported that 360 Blockchain, Thunder Blockchain and other projects might have also been established in Hainan successively.
At present, blockchain technology has become an emerging technology following big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other technologies. The speed and quantity of China's blockchain development is attracting attention all over the world. It is anticipated that the Hainan Blockchain Zone will be able to introduce preferential industrial policies, support policies and rich application scenarios in order to provide a suitable platform for the sustainable development of China's blockchain landscape, enabling the facilitation of its technical exchanges and cooperation with countries around the world.