Sanya, in Hainan Province, could be transformed through a new partnership, between Chinese corporate monolith Ping An and the local municipal government, that says it aims to develop a new "Smart City". Photo: iStock

Hainan, the southernmost island province of China, is now allowing companies or individuals to apply for the development and utilization of non-resident islands, The Paper reported.

The government has also specified the maximum period for development, which varies for different purposes.

Those who are granted to launch aquaculture can use the islands for no more than 15 years. For the development of the tourism and entertainment sector, the limit is 25 years. To promote the salt industry and mining on the islands, the cap is prolonged to 30 years.

To carry out public welfare business or establish ports, shipyards and other construction projects, developers can use the islands for a maximum of 40 and 50 years, respectively.

The government also warned that if the ecological environment of those non-resident islands is seriously damaged, activities will be ceased and investigated.