China steps up efforts to accelerate reform, opening-up
Photo taken on Jan. 14, 2021 shows a night view of Lujiazui in Pudong of east China's Shanghai Municipality. [Xinhua/Fang Zhe]
BEIJING -- China is on full throttle to becoming a new highland in reform and opening-up.
The country's efforts in this regard are evident -- the southern city of Shenzhen is building a pilot demonstration area for socialism with Chinese characteristics, Hainan Province is building a free trade port (FTP), and Shanghai's Pudong is becoming a pioneer area for socialist modernization.
REFORM AND INNOVATION
Last month, four companies in Shanghai received the first batch of comprehensive trade licenses according to a new promise-for-entry system in the market.
Xu Wei, general manager of a Shanghai-based cultural communication company, ZiLiHangJian, said when they had earlier planned to open a bookstore with coffee and meal service in Shanghai free trade zone, they had to spend a long time applying for separate business licenses of catering and publication under the old regulation.
"Now that the different licenses have been merged into one, we can start our business more quickly," said Xu.
This is one of the latest moves of Shanghai's Pudong to further optimize the business environment in its efforts to lead China's socialist modernization.
According to a guideline issued in July, Pudong will explore to pilot a business registration system and a promise-for-entry system in market, and draw up special measures to ease market access.
Shenzhen, which began the construction of a pilot demonstration area for socialism with Chinese characteristics in August 2019, has adopted a slew of reform and innovative measures.
In the first personal bankruptcy case in the Chinese mainland, a local resident surnamed Liang received the civil ruling paper of application for personal bankruptcy.
"It's really a relief for me, and my family doesn't have to worry about falling into debt due to the failure of my business," said Liang.
Over the past two years, Shenzhen has rolled out 17 new laws and regulations involving the special economic zone and most of these regulations are the first in China.
BROADENED OPENING UP
HSBC opened a branch in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, on Dec. 6, becoming the first international bank to settle in Hainan since the construction of the FTP.
As an important opening gateway for China, Hainan FTP is one of the models of China's continued market opening and in-depth integration into the world economy, and it is endeavoring to become an important joint of dual circulation based on the advantages in geographical location and policies, said Mark Wang, president and CEO of HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited.
Wang added that the Haikou branch of HSBC will link its global resources and serve Hainan FTP, providing financial support for China's higher level of opening up.
Since China announced the plan to build Hainan into a free trade port last June, Hainan has become a hot destination for global companies to invest in China.
Official data showed that a total of 1,649 foreign-funded companies have set up their businesses in Hainan in the first 10 months of this year, up about 153.7 percent year on year, with the actual use of foreign capital reaching approximately 3 billion U.S. dollars, surging 414.1 percent year on year.
Duty-free shopping is one of the core policies of Hainan FTP, and many international brands entered the duty-free shopping market in Hainan this year.
According to a report jointly released by KPMG China and Moodie Davitt Report this May, enhanced shopping policy in July 2020 gave tremendous impetus to the global tourism as well as the retail market.
The report, unveiled during the first China International Consumer Products Expo held in Haikou, predicted that the Hainan free trade port will likely become the world's biggest duty-free market in the near term if it continues on its current growth curve.
Since July 1, 2020, Hainan has raised its annual tax-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan (about 4,709 U.S. dollars) to 100,000 yuan per person. The previous tax-free limit of 8,000 yuan for a single product has also been lifted.