Wealth hub wins higher rank
Coastal city in Shandong rises 33 places thanks to local support and reforms
Q ingdao, a coastal city in Shandong province, has quickly become a rising star in the global financial industr y, just two years after its plan to build a wealth management pilot zone received central government approval.
According to the Global Financial Centres Index published in September, Qingdao ranked No 4 on the Chinese mainland, only behind such first-tier cities as Beijing , Shanghai and Shenzhen.
The GFCI report was produced by Z/Yen Group, a London-based market research company and evaluates major financial centers in terms of their global competitiveness.
According to the repor t published in April this year, Qingdao ranked No 79 among the 87 global financial center cities examined. But, after less than half a year, the city moved up the rankings to No 46 globally and No 15 in Asia. Its global ranking increased 33 places in just six months, the fastest growth among all the 87 listed cities.
The September GFCI report also included a “top 15 promising financial hubs” list, with Qingdao ranking No. 2. This shows the global financial industry’s great expectations for the city ’s development potential.
The annual China Wealth Forum is also helping Q ingdao to draw international attention, with this year’s ses- sion taking place in the city in June.
The growing global attention on Qingdao’s financial industry is the result of the city government’s determination to pilot national financial reforms, a solid industrial foundation, intensified opening-up and international cooperation, as well as the strong support of the central government and the provincial government of Shandong, according to local officials.
Focusing on wealth management, officials said the city plans to accumulate replicable experiences that can be used as models for other domestic cities and regions to achieve financial reform.
They also said the purposes of Qingdao’s financial reform are to optimize financial resources by guiding social wealth to the real economy, and to create a sound invest- ment environment for both businesses and individuals.
During the years since the establishment of the wealth management pilot, the city has made great achievements in the field due to the implementation of a number of innovative policies.
According to the Qingdao financial affairs office, the city has proposed about 60 sets of new policies for the industry’s further opening-up and reform.
A number of financial transaction facilities were launched this year, including the Qingdao OTC Market Clearing Center, Qingdao United Credit Asset Trading Center and Qingdao Software and Information Services Exchange.
Wu Ruoman, general manager of Industrial Bank’s asset custody center, said Qingdao’s solid economic strength and its international vision have provided a benevolent environment for the wealth and asset management business.
“This is why we chose Qingdao to set up the Industrial Bank’s first asset custody center,” Wu said.
The city has been expanding the scale of its financial market since the pilot zone was established two years ago.
At the end of 2015, Qingdao’s wealth management market totaled 681.62 billion yuan ($98.15 billion), growing 96 percent over 2014, according to the city financial affairs office.
The office said that by the end of the third quarter of 2016, local banks’ wealth management volume totaled 298 billion yuan, an increase of 33 percent from the same period of 2015. The wealth managed by local securities companies amounted to 243.6 billion yuan.
There are also other wealth management entities, including private banking institu- tions, mutual fund companies and third-party wealth management firms.
According to the financial office, the private banking sector in Qingdao now manages nearly 100 billion yuan of wealth for more than 10,000 clients.
The fledgling but successful wealth management industry has played an important role in helping Qingdao residents to better manage their wealth and help local industries to raise funds for development.
According to the Qingdao city government, a total of 4,307 projects were launched in Qingdao from January to July, involving total capital input of 420.59 billion yuan, increasing 25.1 percent and 13.7 percent respectively from the same period of 2015.
A large part of the investment went to key industries such as high technology, logistics, manufacturing and modern services.
A public hearing on the government’s new policies guiding financial industry growth is held in Qingdao.