Lingang counts on trade and investment gains among key growth drivers
Lingang has seen tremendous transformation in the past three years since the establishment of the special area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
It is partly thanks to an institutional system featuring more freedom in trade, investment, capital, transport and employment, as well as more facilitation in information sharing.
Conveying the image and functions of a modern new city that is open and innovative, Lingang is known for a smart ecology that integrates industry and city, making it suitable for business and living.
A cutting-edge industrial cluster with key breakthrough technologies has also been established in Lingang after three years' development.
"It is a hub for the world," said Peter Foo, president and CEO of UOB (China), which will open a branch in Lingang next month.
Moreover, the coastal town at the southeast tip of Shanghai also has created a world-class market-oriented, legal and international business environment.
In terms of trade freedom, the exclusive Yangshan Special Comprehensive Bonded Area has been built. After completion of two phases of customs closing operations, the third phase of expansion is being promoted. Also, innovative business forms such as bonded research and development, bonded maintenance, bonded manufacturing and bonded display trading are being fostered.
Exemption of value-added tax is being implemented for transportation, loading and unloading and storage services in the bonded area.
In terms of investment freedom, the first joint venture financial management company with foreign capital and the first financial technology company wholly owned by a multinational financial group were established in Lingang. Also, high-level Sino-foreign cooperation has been implemented in the educational sector.
In terms of capital freedom, Lingang has taken the lead in a pilot project for high-level opening-up of cross-border trade and investment, as well as foreign exchange management reform. The project relaxes the requirements for matching cross-border investment and financing, while the scale of overseas loans of non-financial enterprises is also lifted.
It also allows parent and financial leasing subsidiary companies to share the amount of foreign debt, pilots a one-time foreign debt registration, cancels the special account for foreign direct investment in yuan capital, applies an exemption from registration for domestic reinvestment of foreign-invested enterprises, and establishes a "white list" for cross-border settlement facilitation.
Lingang also is undertaking a pilot project to integrate local and foreign currencies into a cross-border capital pool, enable cross-border transfer of bank trade finance assets, non-performing loans and other credit assets, and implement international syndicated loans linked to sustainable development of the yuan.
In terms of freedom of transport, Lingang took the lead in developing the coastal carriage business of non-national flag ships, built Yangshan international transit container LCL public service center and established a Northeast Asia empty container exchange center.
In 2021, Yangshan Port recorded a container throughput of 22.8 million equivalent units (TEUs), helping the Shanghai port become the world's biggest for container throughput for 12 consecutive years.
In terms of freedom of employment, Lingang has taken the lead in exploring the establishment of an e-port visa mechanism, offers work residence permits for foreign talent for up to five years, directly recommends foreign top-notch talent to apply for permanent residence and a "green channel," and shortens the time limit from the original 180 working days to 90 for examination and approval of applicants.
In terms of data facilitation, Lingang have completed its security assessment of the first cross-border flow of vehicle enterprise data in China, and set up an intelligent Internet-connected vehicle data storage center.