China to further open up financial markets

According to the website of the State Council Information Office (SCIO), vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao announced at a press briefing held on 10 November 2017 that China would relax and eventually eliminate foreign ownership restrictions in the banking, securities and insurance industries.

The changes, which are intended to promote competition and attract foreign capital in China’s financial services sector, include that:

  • The foreign ownership cap on securities, fund management and futures firms, will be raised to 51% for a three-year period. After the three years, the cap will be lifted, and foreign investors will be permitted to hold 100% of these entities.
  • The foreign ownership cap on Chinese banks and financial asset management firms will be lifted, and foreign investment in this sector will be subject to the same rules as domestic investment.
  • After three years, the foreign ownership cap on insurance companies that engage in life insurance business will be raised to 51% from 50%. After five years, the cap will be lifted, and foreign investors will be permitted to hold 100% of these entities.

Each policy change will be carried out pursuant to specific regulations to be formulated or revised by each relevant industry regulator in accordance with Chinese law. Vice minister Zhu did not indicate a specific time frame for implementing the changes.

 

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