City to ease foreign capital restrictions
Shanghai will loosen restrictions on foreign capital in the service sector on both getting access to the city’s market and launching businesses, aiming to further promote opening-up in the service sector and thus seek for stronger competitiveness in international cooperations.
The city recently issued a new round of measures to expand opening-up in the service sector, with Shanghai Vice Mayor Xu Kunlin introducing the policies in detail at a press conference on Tuesday.
Openness is the biggest advantage of Shanghai, of which the opening-up in the service sector can be the top priority, Xu said.
In the first half of the year, Shanghai saw an increase of 9.1 percent in value-added output in the tertiary industry at 1.1673 trillion yuan (US$165.36 billion), accounting for 71.2 percent of the total GDP of the city.
With the implementation of "100 measures on expanding opening-up" as well as institutional innovations in the Shanghai pilot free trade zone, the city has trialed more support policies for promoting openness in various industries including new energy vehicles, finance and the maintenance industry.
By the end of June, the total number of enterprises settling in the pilot free trade zone had reached 2,998 as a result of the opening measures, among which 594 were newly established from 2018.
The new measures will boost the city’s development as an international trading center, help improve the business environment, and support the deepening of FTZ reforms, Xu said.
For the next step, the newly issued measures showed that Shanghai will loosen restrictions for foreign capital in the service sector on both getting access to the city’s market and launching businesses, expand the openness in the cross-border trade in services, reduce restrictions on people's traveling, and improve trade facilitation services.
For instance, the city lowered the threshold of total asset amount of foreign investors for setting up investment companies in Shanghai, and canceled the requirement on the number of enterprises they had already established.
Meanwhile, travel agencies fully invested by capital from Hong Kong or Macau and registered in the Shanghai FTZ can be allowed to launch the business of outbound tourism (except for travel to Taiwan) if they: have obtained the travel agency business license for over two years; have operated domestic and inbound tourism business in Shanghai for over two years; and have never been punished by authorities for infringing the legal rights of tourists, according to Cheng Meihong, deputy director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism.
The city will also expand opening up in the financial services industry to accelerate the development of an international financial center, for which five new measures will be implemented such as expanding the intellectual property pledge financing and promoting the financing and leasing business of intangible assets.
As for trade in services, Shanghai will promote high-level openness in cross-border trade in services and encourage the transformation and upgrading of service consumption.
The city will also implement measures aiming for improvements in various aspects, including efforts to build an open trade facilitation service system, to enhance the ability to gather global innovation resources, to strengthen the ability of modern shipping services to radiate abroad and improve the allocation of global shipping resources, as well as to optimize the international exchange and cooperation mechanism in the service sector to gather talent from all over the world.