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March 7, 2019

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Details being worked out on FTZ expansion

A GENERAL plan for adding a new area to the pilot free trade zone in Shanghai has been worked out, Li Qiang, Party secretary of Shanghai, said yesterday.

The Ministry of Commerce and Shanghai government are now working on details of the plan which will be submitted to the central government for consideration after seeking opinions, Li said at a press conference in Beijing that was organized by Shanghai deputies to the National People’s Congress.

The plans and general guidelines for the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region as a national strategy are being worked on by the National Development and Reform Commission, Li said.

Opinions from various central government departments and commissions are being sought, as well as those from Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces and Shanghai.

Shanghai and the three provinces are working on a plan to construct a demonstration zone for integrated development of the region, Li added.

President Xi Jinping announced the above tasks for Shanghai as well as the forming of the science and technology innovation board and launch of a pilot registration system on the Shanghai Stock Exchange at the opening of the first China International Import Expo, which was held in Shanghai in November last year. “This was a demonstration of a clear attitude and staunch resolution that China will keep opening itself up to the world and reforming the economy,” Li said.

The expansion of the free trade zone will come with more innovations in institutions and its functions to make it more influential and competitive in the global market, he said, adding that it will help in China’s integration with the world.

During the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region, breakthrough reform measures will be experimented here before being introduced elsewhere in China, Li said.

“Shanghai opens up to the world through the Pudong New Area and free trade zone, and also to the rest of the country, through the future demonstration zone for integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region,” Li said.

Meanwhile, the establishment of the science and technology innovation board and a pilot registration system is expected to make the capital market better serve innovative companies to boost innovation.

In Pudong, financial services have become the most influential business sector which generated nearly 300 billion yuan (US$45 billion) of added value for the new area last year, accounting for over 28 percent of the regional GDP and contributing more than half of added value to the city.

As a core functional area for the construction of the international financial center, Pudong has agglomerated 80 percent of Shanghai’s financial infrastructure facilities and factor market, said Hang Yingwei, director of the Pudong New Area and a deputy to the National People’s Congress.

“Pudong is home to 60 percent of Shanghai’s licensed financial institutes while nine of the 10 largest asset management institutions in the world have set up their headquarters in Lujiazui,” Hang said.

Since Pudong also functions as a major site of Shanghai’s ambition to become a global science and technology innovation center, it has been dedicated to the joint construction of financial center and science and technology innovation center in recent years, according to Hang.

One-fourth of Shanghai’s technology companies are based in Pudong. Among the firms that integrate finance and science and technology, there are two household names — Alipay and UnionPay, Hang said.

He also revealed Pudong’s strategy to promote the integrated development of Lujiazui Financial City and Zhangjiang Science City, which includes the listing of more high-growth local technology companies on China’s new science and technology innovation board and the establishment of a supply center to serve the capital market of Yangtze River Delta region.

Hang also disclosed that Pudong will establish an innovation fund to raise the functional level of financial services to the real economy and build China’s first incubator and accelerator of financial technology to promote innovation and facilitate development in the sector.

Chen Mingbo, vice secretary-general of Shanghai government and director of the Economy and Information Technology Commission, said more investments in integrated circuits, bio-medicine and high-end equipment are expected this year. It is expected that construction of 360 projects in the three areas with an investment of over 330 billion yuan will start this year, he said.


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