Prov­inces map out paths to open up ser­vice sec­tor

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By JING SHUIYU jing­shuiyu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments are set­ting am­bi­tious tar­gets on fur­ther open­ing up the ser­vice in­dus­try to for­eign cap­i­tal, as pro­vin­cial-level au­thor­i­ties im­ple­ment newly re­vised na­tional guide­lines.

More than 10 places, in­clud­ing Hubei, Jiangsu, Fu­jian, Zhe­jiang and Sichuan prov­inces and Shang­hai, re­cently pro­mul­gated spe­cific poli­cies to en­cour­age for­eign in­vest­ment in a wide range of sec­tors such as fi­nan­cial ser­vice, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, and in­ter­net sec­tors.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments’ lat­est en­deav­ors are consistent with the na­tional goal set forth in the re­vised for­eign in­vest­ment cat­a­log re­leased by the Na­tional Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion and the Min­istry of Com­merce.

The new ver­sion of the cat­a­log, which took ef­fect in June, aims to fur­ther lower thresh­olds for for­eign in­vestors.

The move is con­sid­ered a stride for­ward for the coun­try to “open up its econ­omy on a larger scale and deeper level”, said Bai Ming, vice-di­rec­tor of a re­search in­sti­tute un­der the Min­istry of Com­merce.

In this round of open­ing-up, Shang­hai mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment is tak­ing the lead.

In a plan pub­lished in April, Shang­hai set goals to fur­ther open pro­fes­sional ser­vice in­dus­tries such as fi­nance, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, cul­ture, main­te­nance and ship­ping, as well as man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors like in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, bio­med­i­cine, and in­tel­li­gent con­nected ve­hi­cles.

For­eign-funded com­pa­nies are also en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal projects backed by the govern­ment, the plan said.

Jiangsu prov­ince, in east China, fol­lowed suit. It is­sued a plan to di­rect the for­eign cap­i­tal to fi­nance and in­sur­ance, trade and lo­gis­tics, e-com­merce, af­ter-sales ser- vice, and other sec­tors that are piv­otal to its pil­lar man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries.

Be­sides, some for­eign-back firms are also el­i­gi­ble for ap­ply­ing for funds that the Jiangsu govern­ment set aside to de­velop mod­ern ser­vice in­dus­try.

As the test ground for China’s open­ing-up to for­eign in­vest­ment, the free trade zones are also pre­par­ing new mea­sures. The FTZ in Guang­dong is work­ing on poli­cies to open the fi­nan­cial ser­vice sec­tor.

Sun Ji­wen, the spokesman of the Min­istry of Com­merce, said ab­sorb­ing for­eign in­vest­ment, as an im­por­tant part of China’s open­ing-up pol­icy, will ben­e­fit all par­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the min­istry, for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment to­taled 341.1 bil­lion yuan ($50.9 bil­lion) in the first five months of this year, a year-on-year drop of 0.7 per­cent. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, 12,159 internationally funded com­pa­nies were es­tab­lished across the coun­try, up 11.9 per­cent from the same pe­riod last year.

China’s for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in the first five months of this year

Zou Shuo contributed to this story.

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