China's new opening-up measures to further vitalize banking, insurance sectors

Xinhua
China expects to further optimize the investment and operation environment for foreign investors in its financial sector with new measures to open the field wider.
Xinhua

China expects to further optimize the investment and operation environment for foreign investors in its financial sector with new measures to open the field wider, according to the country's top banking and insurance regulator.

A total of 12 new rules will be released soon on the basis of profound research and evaluation, Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said Wednesday.

"These measures will also encourage stronger presence of foreign investment in the development of China's financial sector," the CBIRC spokesperson Xiao Yuanqi told Xinhua in an interview.

Detailed rules in regulations for foreign banks and foreign insurance companies have been revised in accordance with the new rules and will soon be released, Xiao said.

The playing field for foreign and domestic companies will be further leveled, said the spokesperson, citing the simultaneous abolishment of upper shareholding limits for a single Chinese-funded bank and a single foreign-funded bank in a Chinese commercial bank, as an example.

At present, the shares of foreign-funded banks and insurance companies' total assets have reached 1.64 percent and 6.36 percent, respectively, in China.

According to the new measures, asset requirement for foreign banks to set up foreign-funded legal person banks or branches will also be removed in a bid to further diversify the structure of banking institutions in China.

"This does not imply a lower standard of supervision, but rather an emphasis on the foreign banks' capability, quality and benefits," said Xiao.

The top regulator also expects to encourage quality firms with latecomer advantages into the Chinese market and increase global conversation and cooperation.

While allowing overseas financial institutions to hold stakes in foreign-funded insurance companies operating in China, the regulator also plans to remove requirements for foreign-funded insurance brokerage firms regarding business and total assets.

"We believe that this round of new measures will significantly enhance the openness and marketization of the banking and insurance sectors," Xiao said.

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