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News from China
Pudong gets go-ahead to deepen its pilot administrative reforms
13th February 2018

 The State Council, or China’s Cabinet, has given its go-ahead to deepen a pilot reform in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area that aims to streamline administrative approvals and delegate power to lower levels, improve government services and push forward reforms in various areas.

 
The Shanghai government will further develop Pudong as a pilot area to separate operating permits and business licenses, according to a statement of the State Council.
 
The reform is to streamline administration and create a fair market environment, delegate power and strengthen regulations at the same time, improve government services, and crack down on problems affecting market access.
 
It is on the basis of consolidating and deepening the achievements of reforms, to effectively distinguish the respective functions of business licenses and operating permits authorized by various departments.
 
The pilot reforms will cut or simplify 47 approval items, after all of China’s free trade zones have separated operation permits from business licenses, and eased regulations on 116 businesses requiring approvals, according to the statement released by the State Council yesterday.
 
The 47 approval items cover 10 fields, including medical care, investment, construction and transportation as well as the supervision of quality inspections.
 
For instance, all requirements on production approval that do not concern industrial policies or product quality and safety will be canceled, while restrictions on private medical institutions will be eased, according to the statement.
 
Licensed maritime transport businesses between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan are allowed to use ships that are leased as their own. Previously, maritime transport was restricted to ships fully owned by the companies. 
 
Also, the requirements of owned ships for international maritime transport companies are loosened in the same manner. 
 
Meanwhile, foreign-invested construction enterprises will be allowed to develop construction projects that were previously prohibited.
 
Foreign-invested architectural design companies are exempt from having to undergo background checks of their involvement in foreign projects. Foreign-invested architectural firms will be approved for business permits before having to submit required materials within a designated period.
 
The criteria will also be applied to domestic and inbound tourism companies, as well as to foreign-invested travel agencies.
 
The program also includes reforms affecting public transport, farm produce, medical instruments, health-care services and quality supervision.
 
The pilot reform program in Pudong will run for a year before expanding to the rest of Shanghai as well as to other regions.
 
In 2015, the Pudong New Area was approved by the State Council to launch a pilot project that allowed an enterprise to begin operation activities simply after getting a business license.
 
China has decided to promote Shanghai’s reform of separating business licenses and administrative approvals in 10 pilot free trade zones to improve business environment. 
 
Premier Li Keqiang, who chaired a State Council executive meeting concerning the reforms on January 17, called for more efforts to remove barriers to market access and lower transaction costs.
 
Accelerating administrative reform and promoting business registration reform are considered key measures to further lower the market access threshold, reduce institutional transaction costs and activate the vitality of entrepreneurship and innovation, Li said. The key to the reforms is to prevent red tape in the future and replace approvals with strict pre and post-supervision, the premier added.
 
 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 13, 2018
China’s state planner included news media and weapons development in its list of “sensitive” sectors
12th February 2018

 Development of cross-border water resources also was listed as a “sensitive” sector, confirming draft changes to the guidelines first issued in November.

 
Those guidelines for the first time treated outbound investment by Chinese individuals in the same way as such investments by companies.
 
They also require domestic firms making outbound investments of over US$300 million to seek approval from the planner, the National Development and Reform Commission.
 
The list maintained restrictions on offshore investments in real estate, hotels, motion picture studios and sports clubs.
 
NDRC also deleted some sectors from the list. For investment in overseas projects of telecoms operation, massive land development, and electric mains and power grids, official approval is no longer necessary.
 
China’s non-financial outbound direct investment in 2017 fell 29.4 percent year on year to US$120.08 billion, as the government mounted a campaign against what it called “irrational” outbound investment.
 
The NDRC list will come into effect from March 1, the notice said.
 
China’s state planner included news media and weapons development in its list of “sensitive” sectors for offshore investment yesterday, meaning any deals in those areas could face greater scrutiny.
 
Development of cross-border water resources also was listed as a “sensitive” sector, confirming draft changes to the guidelines first issued in November.
 
Those guidelines for the first time treated outbound investment by Chinese individuals in the same way as such investments by companies.
 
They also require domestic firms making outbound investments of over US$300 million to seek approval from the planner, the National Development and Reform Commission.
 
The list maintained restrictions on offshore investments in real estate, hotels, motion picture studios and sports clubs.
 
NDRC also deleted some sectors from the list. For investment in overseas projects of telecoms operation, massive land development, and electric mains and power grids, official approval is no longer necessary.
 
China’s non-financial outbound direct investment in 2017 fell 29.4 percent year on year to US$120.08 billion, as the government mounted a campaign against what it called “irrational” outbound investment.
 
The NDRC list will come into effect from March 1, the notice said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 12, 2018
Changning creates better environment for foreign investors
9th February 2018

 Changning District will implement a "pre-establishment national treatment system" and a "negative list" to broaden market access for foreign investment.

 
The newly released policy means foreign companies will be treated the same as their Chinese counterparts, while the "negative list" only determines industries in which foreign participation is prohibited or limited, the Changning government said yesterday. 
 
Changning will also work to become the first district to ease market access restrictions on cultural consumption fields for foreign investment. Current restrictions on telecommunication, culture, education and transport are also likely to be eased for foreign enterprises, according to the district government.
 
"Foreign companies to do business in Changning will only need to fill in a single form and apply at a single service window," an official with the government promised. The district will also improve its mechanism for foreign investors to protect their legal interests and intellectual property rights.
 
The district announced a collection of efforts and new policies today to create a convenient business environment that meets "advanced international standards."
 
As another effort, the district will expand its practices in cooperation with Shanghai's quarantine watchdog to speed up the inspection of imported products.
 
The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau will clear imported products at more companies with a good reputation in Changning District by supervising their manufacturing and transport processes, or by examining sample batches.
 
Currently, five Changning-based dairy and textile companies have been chosen for a trial operation. Under the scheme, consumers are able to drink fresh milk from New Zealand, for instance, within three days of production, compared to at least eight days under the normal inspection procedures.
 
The district also plans to expand its “one license with more addresses” trial scheme citywide. Firms based in Changning, especially Internet startups, will be able to operate in multiple addresses across the city and expand more rapidly with only a single business license.
 
Furthermore, customized preferential policies will be implemented for top professionals who plan to work in the district, the government added.
 
"The district government will spare no effort to solve the most concerned issues on children's education, medical care, housing and social security for foreign professionals," the government promised yesterday.
 
Changning has established the city's first district-level foreign expert bureau to serve these highly skilled professionals from abroad. 
 
The district has also opened a "one-stop service center" for residence permits, foreign expert certificates and related documents. It is located on Jinzhong Road in Hongqiao area.
 
Its services will be further expanded to become China's most functional and efficient foreign professional service center with the best services, the government said yesterday.
 
In total, Changning has gathered 273,600 professionals from both home and abroad, which accounts for nearly half of the district's total employment. About 70,000 residents from abroad are living in Changning, accounting for about 30 percent of the city's total foreign population.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 9, 2018
Lujiazui plans global asset platform
8th February 2018

 Lujiazui, the commercial and financial center of Shanghai, plans to set up the Global Asset Management Association of Lujiazui in the first half of this year.

 
More than 60 global asset-management institutions, including BlackRock, Fidelity International and JPMorgan, attended a preparatory meeting in Lujiazui on Tuesday.
 
The association aims to establish an exchange platform for global asset-management institutions to help them to set up in Lujiazui and understand China’s asset-management industry.
 
Yuan Yefeng, director of Lujiazui Financial City Authority’s department for finance, shipping and innovation, said the association would attract more leading asset-management organizations to do business in Shanghai.
 
Currently, over 60 overseas asset-management institutions have subsidiaries or plan to set up branches in Lujiazui. Nine of the top 10 global asset-management institutions have wholly foreign-owned enterprises in Lujiazui.
 
By next year, China will have the world’s second-largest asset-management market after the United States, with more than US$17 trillion of assets under management by 2030, up from US$2.8 trillion in 2016, according to Casey Quirk, which advises investment-management businesses.
 
In September 2016, JPMorgan set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise in the Shanghai free trade zone with the first asset-management license for a foreign company in China.
 
The license allows a foreign firm to offer onshore fixed-income, equity and multi-asset private funds to both institutional and high-net worth investors in China.
 
“There was only one member of staff when the wholly foreign-owned enterprise was founded, but now there are 13. We are growing fast,” said Zhou Lingling, deputy general manager with JPMorgan Asset Management (Shanghai) Ltd.
 
“We are confident of our performance in China, and we will seize every chance in this market,” said Zhou. She said China is expected to become the largest asset-management market in the next five to 10 years.
 
“We are so glad to be a member of the coming Global Asset Management Association of Lujiazui. I believe it will be a great exchange platform for financial institutions like us,” Zhou said.
 
Last July, UBS Asset Management became the first international manager with a Qualified Domestic Limited Partner quota to receive a private fund management license in China.
 
Given the license, UBS is able to provide a broad range of services to onshore and global investors, and to work more closely with subsidiaries of global firms in China to meet their domestic investment needs.
 
Gao Ting, head of China strategy at UBS Securities Equity Research, said at the preparatory meeting that with China’s efforts to open up its capital markets, its yuan-denominated A shares will be included in the MSCI indexes in June, making China’s stock market more important for both onshore and offshore investors.
 
Meanwhile, Chen Ting, general manager with BlackRock Investment Management (Shanghai) Co, also showed her passion for the Chinese market.
 
“Given the opening-up policies and the pleasant business environment, Lujiazui Financial City in Shanghai will be the first choice for global financial companies to do business in China,” Chen said.
 
At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, China reiterated its commitment to opening banking, securities and insurance sectors.
 
Global investment managers like JPMorgan and Vanguard are eying a share of China’s public fund market as well as China’s pension market, according to Chen. “I hope foreign investment managers like us will be allowed to manage China’s public fund in five to 10 years,” she said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 8, 2018

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