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The Liaoning FTZ: A portal to emerging regional markets

The Liaoning FTZ: A portal to emerging regional markets
The establishment of the Liaoning Free Trade Zone (FTZ) was approved in September 2017 and since then, Dalian’s goal is to create a sufficient and stable business environment. The new FTZ will involve three major cities of Liaoning province, including Dalian, Shenyang and Yingkou. Dalian is already part of the Jinpu New Area, which helped to increase its international and domestic trade levels, including international partnerships with South Korea, Japan and Russia.
 
 
More than 70 percent of bulk goods transported by sea and more than 90 percent of container transportation in China's northeastern region are shipped via Dalian. 
 
Jinpu New Area is a strategic region for regional co-operation of firms in Northeast Asia. It was formed in 2014 and became the 10th of China’s Big National Districts as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan. The main aim of the Dalian Jinpu New Area is to develop the opening-up and reform of China, as well as to expand the coastal economic relationships in Liaoning Province and to boost the economic growth in the North-Eastern part of the country. The Jinpu New Area was approved by the State Council, in the hope of making Dalian a pilot zone for innovation. Since the formation of the New Area, large number of functional zones have been set up within the district. Some of these functional zones, include tariff-free zone, bonded port areas, national tourist resorts and export processing zones. The New Area helped Dalian to become a global logistics and international shipping centre. The New Area has both economic and geographical advantages for businesses, operating in Dalian and its surroundings.
 
 
The Free trade zone is made up of three sectors, Dalian, Shenyang and Yingkou. The new Liaoning Free Trade Zone covers state-level high-tech zones, bonded harbour area, the Jinpu New District as well as numerous industrial parks. The regions that will have special customs supervision, will have a focus on the search for institutional innovation that can improve the accessibility of trade, logistics and the processing of bonded services. On the other hand, areas which are not under special customs supervision will focus on exploring potential reforms of the investment system, innovation of the finance sector, the promotion of transformation of the manufacturing industry as well as on the opening-up of the Chinese service industry.  The government made registration convenient for companies, which are located at the Dalian Area of China, Liaoning Free Trade Zone, by setting up a special registration service window for organisations based in the Jinpu New Area and by helping companies to adopt a virtual registration service. Reports of the registration shows that half of the firms used the virtual registration mode to settle down in Jinpu New Area. These organisations include firms in the finance, trade, biological science, equipment manufacturing and port and shipping logistics industries. According to reports, Dalian has copied and promoted around 102 innovative measures of the Shanghai FTZ, as well as of other pilot Free Trade Zones.
 
 
The main gols of the zone are: to focus on speeding up the market-orientated institutional mechanism reforms. In order to do this, the Liaoning Free Trade Zone will mostly be based on the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone and adapt new reforms and accomplish further institutional innovations, which are easily adaptable by the cities covered by the Liaoning Free Trade Zone. These changes should mainly focus on the function of the local government and expand the power of decentralization, improve services and to authorize supervision. These changes should help to improve the business environment and the restructuring and upgrading of industries in the involved areas.
 
 
Secondly, to focus equally on the introduction, development and show a new image in team building of talents. Introduction of new talents is important and should be done efficiently and high-level talents should be brought from global and international perspective. The involved are should improve the training and education and overall quality of cadres as well as to work hard, overcome difficulties and try to create a dynamic situation of competing for development.
 
 
Lastly, the cities in the Liaoning Free Trade Zone should also open-up further to the outside world in order to help to build and achieve a new economic system. They should take part in the international competition and cooperate with other areas, but at the same time fully connect to the national “One Belt One Road” strategy. They should improve their trade systems, so that it meets common rules of international investment and trade, and look for new competitive advantages in foreign trade. Regions in the Liaoning Free Trade Zone can achieve development in its foreign trade system by enhance their technologies, investment attractions and intelligence attractions.
 
 
Further information and current investment news can be found on the Dalian Governmental website: https://english.dlftz.gov.cn/
 
 

New opportunities in the Shanghai FTZ:...

New opportunities in the Shanghai FTZ: revisions to restricted industries.
As of last year, the Shanghai municipal government has revised its restricted industries list for foreign investors and updated it for the Free Trade Zone (FTZ). Amendments made to current list are not considered a major change but a revision to the 2014 initiatives. The list below outlines industries where foreign investors are treated differently to domestic companies. There are number of changes where we believe there are various opportunities for new investors in the three FTZs.
 

Agriculture in General
 - Agriculture, crop seeds, fishery and animal husbandry is a critical subject and remains sensitive to Chinese citizens. Fishing in certain waters is due to approval from Chinese   government.
 

Mining, Natural Resources and Exploitation
 -All initiatives needs to be approved by concerned government bodies.
 -Oil and Gas exploitation needs to be contractual or joint venture with a Chinese partner
 

Other Sources/Materials
 -rare earths, radioactive materials, tungsten, molybdenum, tin, antimony and fluorite is prohibited. It is restricted for lithium, precious metals and graphite.
 

Manufacturing
- Multiple restrictions in manufacturing industry is now lifted. These includes, the processing of rice, corn, edible oils, tea, alcohol, tobacco and chemicals, anesthesia and blood products are now allowed.
- Construction vehicles, motorcycles and new energy vehicle batteries is lifted.
- Aircraft, drones and helicopters requires prior approval
- Finished cars and car parts are fully open to foreign investment with maximum 50% stake of ownership
- Ships, ship engines and marine engineering equipment requires prior approval
- Rail transport equipment needs to be contractual or joint venture with a Chinese partner
- Satellites for civilian use, requires prior approval
- Tungsten, molybdenum, tin, antimony needs to be contractual or joint venture with a Chinese partner
- Processing of radioactive materials are prohibited
- Chinese herbal medicine prohibited
- Ivory, tiger bones and traditional Chinese handicrafts: prohibited
 

Utilities and Infrastructure
 -Airports; railroads; power grids; water, heat, gas and drainage supply for cities; postal services; telecom and internet infrastructures remains sensitive and prohibited
 

Wholesale and Retail
 -Restrictions on fertilizers, agricultural film (greenhouses), sale of petrol through petrol stations and books, newspapers and magazines are not lifted
 -tobacco, lottery tickets and auctioning of cultural relics remains restricted
 

IT and Telecom
- It is still prohibited to operate news websites, online publications, online audiovisual programs or broadcasting of information on the internet. Except for music and those sectors that have been lifted as China’s membership of the World Trade Organization.
- It is restricted to create and publish maps on the internet
- If a domestic enterprise cooperates with a foreign enterprise to create official online content and news, needs prior approval from National Security Review.
- Foreign investors can now set up e-commerce companies in Fujian, Guangdong, Tianjin as well as Shanghai.
 

Finance
- Wholly foreign-owned or a Sino-foreign joint venture must be a financial institution and the controlling entity a commercial bank
- The investor in a Chinese-owned bank or trust company must be a financial institution
- Only foreign banks may invest in Chinese rural-commercial banks, rural cooperative banks or rural credit cooperative unions
- The investor in a financial leasing company must itself be a financial leasing company
- The main capital contributor in a consumer finance company must be a financial institution
- The investor in a currency brokerage must itself be a currency brokerage
- The investor in a financial asset management company must itself be a financial institution, but not allowed to be involved in the establishment of a new asset management company
- The investor in a financial institution will be subject to asset requirements – the Negative List does not specify the amounts
- Foreign banks may not conduct the following activities, also included in the Commercial Banking Law: acting as an agent to issue, honor and underwrite government bonds, issuance of bank cards and the acting as an agent for receipt and payments of funds. Apart from taking time deposits for Chinese nationals of less than 1 million RMB, foreign banks in China may not engage in RMB activities for Chinese nationals.
- The parent company of a foreign invested bank in China must provide its operational funds free of charge. The foreign invested bank must operate with an eight percent RMB capital reserve. Banks providing RMB services must follow the minimum required business hours.
 

Professional Services
- Accounting: the main partner must be a Chinese national
- Foreign law firms may only be present in China through a representative office, which is subject to approval. Foreign nationals may not advice on Chinese law or become partners of a Chinese law firm. Representative offices of foreign law firms may not hire Chinese legal professionals, and its support staff may not provide legal advice.
- Credit rating activities are restricted
- Investment in polling and social surveys are restricted
- Market research is restricted to contractual or joint ventures with Chinese controlling interest.
- The legal representative of a visa agency must have Chinese nationality and domicile
 

Education
- Foreign entities may not independently establish schools and educational institutions mainly enrolling Chinese nationals. This does not include "non-academic vocational training"
- Foreign entities may establish and run educational institutions in cooperation with a Chinese party, under the following conditions:
a. Education cannot cover; the military, law enforcement, politics or political activates

b. Foreign entities may not provide religious education

c. Regular high schools and other education institutions must be led by the Chinese party, i.e. the principal or main administrator must be a Chinese national and be domiciled in China; the board of the school must have a Chinese majority and the education program must be in line with Chinese law
 

Health Care
- Medical institutions can be set up as an equity or contractual joint venture.
 

Media, Culture and Entertainment
- The establishment and operation of television, radio, television channels, broadcast networks, satellite television, TV on-demand and other broadcast media is prohibited
- The production of television and radio shows is prohibited
- Foreign satellite channels are subject to approval by concerned government bodies
- Sino-foreign productions of television and film series are subject to a licensing.
- The establishment of news and press agencies, publishing companies, newspapers is prohibited
- Foreign news agencies may set up a representative office in China and employ foreign reporters upon approval of the Chinese government.
- Foreign press agencies may provide news services in China upon approval of the Chinese government.
- The production of newspapers, books, audiovisual materials, periodicals, electronic publications, is prohibited
- Cooperation between Chinese and foreign news agencies must be led by the Chinese party and subject to approval by Chinese government
-  Provision of financial information is subject to approval by Chinese government
-  The construction and operation of cinemas is prohibited
- The establishment of performing arts groups in China is prohibited, and performance agencies must have Chinese controlling.
 
 

Investing in the Chinese Stock Market

Investing in the Chinese Stock Market

Foreigners can indeed buy stocks and shares in both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, although it’s not always as straightforward as it might be for them back home. 

 

Playing the Chinese stock market

 

 

The Chinese stock market is divided into three kinds of shares: A Shares, which are restricted to Chinese citizens and Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors; B Shares, which are open to all foreigners, and H Shares, which are Hong-Kong-based shares and also open to foreign investment.

 

In order to trade in A Shares, which are bought and sold in RMB, foreign companies must first get a bank to submit a Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor application form to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (in order to get a permit allowing them to invest in RMB) and also submit an Investment Quota Application to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

 

Once these have both been done, the company can then approach a Chinese securities company to make the investment. However, there is a high threshold for entry: the company must own at least $500 million (for insurance companies, asset management companies etc) or $5 billion (for foreign securities firms and banks). 

 

The B Shares use US dollars or HK dollars as denominations and are issued by Chinese companies listed in the Chinese mainland – although ironically they cannot be bought by Chinese citizens. If you want to trade in these shares, take your passport and residence permit to a securities firm to open a B Share account. You will need to deposit at least $1,000.

 

H Shares are bought in HK dollars, and are issued by Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong. In order to invest in these shares, you must go to Hong Kong and open an investment account in a HK bank, putting in at least 10,000 HK dollars. The account can be opened with your HK visa, your passport and your Chinese mainland residence permit. You must go to Hong Kong in person to open the account, but then you can return to the mainland to make deals online. It is open to anyone, foreign or Chinese.

 

Foreigners can also buy funds and bonds in China from commercial banks, securities firms and other sales agencies, by opening a fund or bond account at said agencies. 

 

Security tips for investing in stock market

 

  • If you are signing up to a securities firm online, make sure that the website is legitimate and not a clone or fake. Genuine securities firms do not promise profits or returns, and they will sign printed consulting contracts with you if you use their services. In addition, they are only allowed to receive money via company or business accounts, not personal accounts.

 

 

  • Do not trust anyone who claims to have insider information on stock market trading.

 

  • Do not trust anyone – even a so-called expert – who claims to be able to give precise predictions of the stock market. Likewise, don’t trust trading software that claims to be able to predict the stock market’s movements.

 

Elderly Care Institutions: New law for...

Elderly Care Institutions: New law for Foreign Investment
With a projected 636 million people over age 50 by 2050, or nearly 49 percent of the population (up from 25 percent in 2013) the government is now seriously looking at expanding care home facilities in China (there are currently estimated to be just under 3 million care home beds across the country). 
 
 
 
With the development of the economy, people's ideas on care-giving for the elderly are changing: A Chinese proverb calls filial piety, or respect for one's parents, "the first among 100 virtues. However many families have now moved away from traditional ideas of taking care of the elderly at home, especially in the larger cities and prefer well-equipped nursing homes. With this in mind the government is now courting investment into the sector with a new law pertaining to foreign investment in Care Institutions.
 
 
Announcement of the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Matters Relating to Foreign Investors' Establishment of For-profit Elderly Care Institutions
Now 2014.
 
With a view of promoting the healthy development of the elderly care service industry in China and the opening-up of social service industry, and further implementing the Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Several Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms and Several Opinions of the State Council on Speeding the Development of the Elderly Care Service Industry (Guo Fa [2013]No.35), and in accordance with the Law on Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, Law on Sino-Foreign Cooperative Joint Ventures, Law on Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprises, Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly and Measures for Permitting the Establishment of Elderly Care Institutions and other relevant laws, regulations and departmental rules, the Announcement of the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Matters Relating to Foreign Investors' Establishment of For-profit Elderly Care Institutions (hereinafter referred to as the "Announcement") is hereby issued to announce matters relating to the establishment of for-profit elderly care institutions by foreign companies, enterprises and other economic organizations or individuals (hereinafter referred to as the "foreign investors") to engage in elderly care services in China as follows:
 
Article 1 Encourage foreign investors to establish for-profit elderly care institutions in China independently or with Chinese companies, enterprises and other economic organizations in a joint venture or cooperative way.
 
 
Article 2 The foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institutions shall abide by relevant laws, rules and regulations, aim at providing social services, pay tax in accordance with the law and operate in compliance. Their legal operating activities and their contributors' legitimate rights and interests are under the protection of law.
 
 
Article 3 Foreign investors intending to establish for-profit elderly care institutions shall submit the following materials on the application for establishment of foreign-invested enterprises to the competent departments of commerce at the provincial levels where the institutions are proposed to be located (namely the competent departments of commerce of all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, cities specifically designated in the state plan and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps):
1. application for the establishment;
2. description about the conditions (including the place, security, health care and so on);
3. contract and articles of association (a foreign-invested enterprise only needs to submit its articles of association);
4. name  list of the members of the Board of Directors and directors delegation letter;
5. notice on the pre-approval for the names;
6. description of the foreign investors' working experience and relevant supporting documents, or the descriptive document on the engagement of management team equipped with corresponding experience in the elderly care service industry; and
7. Other materials required to be provided according to the laws, rules and regulations.
 
 
Article 4 A competent department of commerce at the provincial level shall make a written decision on approval or disapproval within 20 days upon its acceptance of the application concerned. Where the application is approved, the foreign investor concerned shall be awarded the Approval Certificate of Foreign-invested Enterprise, with words as "operate under the Permit for Establishment of Elderly Care Institutions" added in the column of business scope; where the application is disapproved, reasons therefor shall be told.
 
 
Article 5 A foreign investor shall handle the formalities for registration of foreign-invested enterprises within one month upon receipt of the Approval Certificate of Foreign-invested Enterprise with the administration for industry and commerce concerned.
 
 
Article 6 After the registration, the foreign-invested enterprise shall apply for and obtain the Permit for Establishment of Elderly Care Institutions in accordance with relevant provisions of the Measures forPermitting the Establishment of Elderly Care Institutions. No foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institutions or foreign investors shall provide elderly care service or charge fees or admit the elders in any name before obtaining the said permit and being approved for registration in accordance with the law.
 
 
Article 7 Foreign investors are encouraged to participate in the transformation into the enterprises from the institutions of public elderly care specifically providing for-profit services to the society. During the transformation, issues such as the protection of employees' interests and the value maintenance and appreciation of state-owned assets shall be handled properly.
 
 
Article 8 Foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institutions can engage in domestic investments relating to the elderly care service. Foreign investors are encouraged to develop the elderly care institutions on a grand scale, operate the same in a chain mode and develop quality brands of elderly care institutions.
 
 
Article 9 Foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institutions enjoy the same preferential tax policies and policies on reduction and exemption of administrative and institutional fees as those available to domestic-invested for-profit elderly care institutions.
 
 
Article 10 The application for establishing foreign-invested real estate enterprises that are set up through changing such usage conditions as the land use or the plot ratio of the land for construction of elderly care facilities shall not be approved. Foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institutions shall not engage in business such as residential discount for elderly care.
 
 
Article 11 Where the business scope of a foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institution includes the medical and health service, such institution shall handle the formalities for submission for approval in accordance with relevant policies.
 
 
Article 12 The competent departments of commerce at the provincial level shall strengthen the statistical work concerning foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institutions, and when issuing the certificate for approval, choose "Elderly and Disability Service"(Paragraph 8414 of National Economic Industrial Classification) in terms of the category of industry.
 
 
Article 13 Foreign-invested for-profit elderly care institutions established in accordance with the Announcement shall participate in the joint annual report of foreign-invested enterprises on time.
 
 
Article 14 The Announcement applies mutatis mutandis to the establishment of for-profit elderly care institutions by investors from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan Region. In case of any inconsistence between former provisions and the Announcement, the Announcement shall prevail.
 
 
Article 15 If the local competent departments of commerce and civil affairs encounter with any problems, please feel free to contact the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Civil Affairs in a timely manner.
 
 
Contact person: Sun Xiaoyu, Department of Foreign Investment Administration, the Ministry of Commerce
Tel.: 010-65197327 Fax: 010-65197322
Contact person: Zhang Xiaofeng, Department of Social Welfare and Charity Development, the Ministry of Civil Affairs
Tel.: 010-58123258Fax: 010-58123256
 

 

 

Infographic by Smithstreet Consulting

McKinsey & Co predict: What could happen...

McKinsey & Co predict: What could happen in China in 2014?

The year ahead could see companies focus on driving productivity, CIOs becoming a hot commodity, shopping malls going bankrupt, and European soccer clubs finally investing in Chinese ones. McKinsey director Gordon Orr makes his annual predictions. Please click here to open the report. 

 

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