Beijing gets green light for services sector plan

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Beijing’s plan to further open its services market to foreign investors in several areas including 26 segments of the financial sector, received the green light from the State Council on Monday.

By 2030, Beijing is expected to realize facilitation in terms of trade, investment, cross-border flow of capital, employment, transportation, as well as the safe and orderly flow of data, according to the plan.

“Beijing will promote high-level opening-up and cooperation to attract high-quality domestic and overseas financial institutions and resources to set up companies in the city for better development,” said Yin Yong, vice-mayor of Beijing at the China International Finance Annual Forum 2020 on Sunday, which was part of the China International Fair for Trade in Services.

“We will support foreign securities and futures firms to set up shop in Beijing and encourage existing foreign-invested companies to participate in stock and bond trading,” said Yin.

According to the plan, Finance Street in Xicheng district and the Lize Financial Business District in Fengtai district will be the major demonstration zones for the services sector opening-up in the capital city. Efforts will also be stepped up to support innovation in the fintech sector. The plan also includes the setting up of a national finance technology risk monitoring center.

Chu Junwei, deputy Party secretary of Fengtai district, said at a form during the CIFTIS, that Lize will be transformed into a digital finance center by providing a plethora of fintech services. “About 70 percent of the companies in Lize are engaged in businesses dealing with the finance industry,” he said.

Beijing still remains an attractive foreign investment destination as the city has implemented several policy measures to optimize the overall business environment and open up its market, said the officials.

The financial industry accounts for 18.5 percent of the capital’s GDP and 28.8 percent of the city’s economic growth, Yin said during an industry forum on Monday.

“Despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, the added value of Beijing’s finance sector rose by 5.7 percent during the first six months, reinforcing its support for the city economy,” he said.

Beijing’s Finance Street, as the country’s financial management center, has been making efforts to ensure the safety and efficiency of the operating financial institutions. It released 10 policies on Monday to further open up the market.

Sun Shuo, head of the Xicheng district, said qualified enterprises can acquire a subsidy of 50 million yuan ($7.3 million), while Xicheng will provide services like medical care, education, housing, and registered permanent residency to attract financial talent.

In recent years, Beijing has rolled out a series of measures to further open up its finance market, thereby attracting an increasing number of foreign-invested companies. Since 2018, more than 30 well-known foreign financial institutions, including Visa, MasterCard and SWIFT, have opened branches in the city.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau, 590 foreign-invested enterprises were established in Beijing during the first half, with the actual use of foreign investment reaching 7.21 billion yuan.

One of the companies registered in Beijing during this period is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the global asset management firm Oaktree Capital Management, which is headquartered in Los Angeles in the United States. A person in charge of the firm, who declined to be named, said the company is optimistic about China’s long-term economic development and the country’s capital market.

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