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Wednesday 14

November, 2018 9:30 AM



China set to welcome more foreign finance companies

China set to welcome more foreign finance companies

More foreign finance is set to pour into China, the scale of which will be revealed at this week's China International Import Expo.

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By Thomas Hudson 05.11.2018

More foreign finance is set to pour into China, the scale of which will be revealed at this week's China International Import Expo.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of reforms ushered in for China to help cement its position as an outward-looking country that is now the world’s second-largest economy. Since 1978, the levels of overseas investments have continued to increase to the point where the total assets in foreign banks in China shot up 7.5% this year.

President Xi Jinping has made concerted efforts in the last few years to do more business with global partners, and in the wake of trade disputes between the US and China, the latter has sought to cast a wider net in the hopes of bringing more foreign capital into the country.

At present, China’s banking industry holds an impressive $33tn in assets, and this figure is likely to carry on growing.

The six-day expo begins in Shanghai this Monday, and the recent announcements of certain regulations relaxing is likely to increase investor confidence.

These changes are set to include taking away the caps that stipulate the maximum foreign investment in Chinese banks, and one of the biggest alterations will be that foreign investors can now own majority stakes in Chinese businesses involving funds management, securities, investments and life insurance, a policy that was not allowed previously.

China is currently embarking on a charm offensive to attract record levels of new investment, particularly in sectors concerning trusts and financial management, brokerage, consumer finance and fintech interests such as automated finance.

This move has been well-received by global players, with ANZ's China division commenting that its research team believes that the changes are a positive step. It released a note citing China continuing its commitment to reform and instigate a much clearer roadmap for how this will work.

In a move that highlights just how much progress has opened doors, JP Morgan has found that its application to own 51% of an integrated securities organization in China has received approval. The company should be able to increase this to full ownership once new regulations come into play.

Mark Leung, JP Morgan’s China CEO, said that the company "strongly believes in the future prospects of China," citing currency internationalization and the widely reported Belt and Road Initiative as key indicators of progress.

There is further scope for international market movements in China, particularly in Shanghai, which is its key hub. The financial district of Lujiazui has seen nine out of the top ten asset management companies worldwide opening an office there, which shows how well these companies value the opportunity.

Shanghai has been taking even more dramatic steps than the entire Chinese state, with 100 new reforms and deregulations introduced earlier this year and an increased focus on areas such as smart technology, finance and vehicles.

Li Qiang, the Party Secretary for Shanghai, said that these developments are a clear indicator that China is heading in the right direction to bring in more overseas investment and knowledge. He added that Shanghai's positioning as a financial hub is more important than ever.

To hit targets before the end of this decade, China is also pressing ahead strongly with the internationalization of its currency, the yuan.

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