Qianhai now appears to be the first stop for Hong Kong-invested financial institutions to enter the mainland, and Qianhai has made another breakthrough in financial innovation. On February 23, the Opinions on Providing Financial Support for the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform and Opening Up of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone (hereinafter referred to as the Opinions) was officially released. With it, Qianhai will play a greater role in helping Hong Kong integrate into the overall national development, according to the Authority of Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone.
The Opinions set out 30 financial measures, covering financial services related to people’s livelihoods, mutual access between financial markets, the development of the modern financial industry, facilitation of cross-border trade, investment, financing, and strengthening of cooperation in financial supervision. More specifically, the newly-released measures include helping Hong Kong residents to open accounts with mainland banks, facilitating Hong Kong professionals to practice in the mainland, allowing financial securities institutions to carry out direct financing in Hong Kong, and pilot the transfer of private equity and venture capital shares. The 30 measures have further defined the path to achieving a higher and deeper level of financial opening up and cooperation with Hong Kong.
“The introduction of the 30 measures marks another round of promotion of mutual financial market access between Shenzhen and Hong Kong,” said David Liao, co-chief executive of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited Asia-Pacific, in a recent interview, “The measures will lay the foundation for the convergence of financial rules and mechanisms in the Greater Bay Area, and allow the exploration of new paths for the high-level opening up of the mainland’s financial industry.”
Dah Sing Bank Shenzhen Branch, China’s first bank with a dual operation license, was opened, and UBS Qianhai Wealth Management Co. Ltd., the first wholly foreign-owned wealth manager in the Greater Bay Area, was opened. DBS Bank became the largest shareholder in the Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank, and HSBC increased its stake in HSBC Qianhai Securities to 90%. A number of internationally renowned financial institutions, including Standard Chartered, settled in Qianhai through QFLP.
In recent years, Qianhai’s financial industry has constantly aligned with international standards, and Qianhai has continued to highlight its function as a demonstration window of the opening up of the financial industry in China. In terms of innovation for cross-border finance, Qianhai was the first in the country to implement six cross-border RMB services, namely cross-border RMB loans, cross-border bond issuance, cross-border RMB foreign currency cash pooling, cross-border equity investment, cross-border asset transfer, and cross-border financial infrastructure. Qianhai will continue to expand into other cross-border services. In 2022, Shenzhen and Hong Kong promulgated the first 18 measures for supporting venture capital investments in Qianhai, and Qianhai was to establish an international Shenzhen-Hong Kong venture capital cluster. The Qianhai Mercantile Exchange of HKEX Group has had a total of over 130 billion yuan of spot transactions. So far, 247 financial institutions have settled in and signed with Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Financial City, among which Hong Kong and foreign-funded institutions account for 30%.
Now, the Opinions have advanced new goals for the opening up of Qianhai’s financial industry. By 2025, Qianhai will establish and gradually improve upon the policy and management system to focus on the expansion and opening up of the financial industry and the internationalization of RMB, accomplish high-level mutual access with Hong Kong’s financial market, improve the system for monitoring, preventing, and resolving financial risks, and give finance a more prominent role in supporting the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. By 2035, a higher level of financial openness, based on the negative list, will be achieved, the cross-border capital flow will be more efficient and convenient, the financial rule system will be in line with the international system, and the financial environment will reach a world-class level. By then, Qianhai will play a greater role in leading the opening of the national financial industry.
The plan is for Qianhai to put together an implementation task list for the Opinions to set up a task plan, roadmap, timeline, and accountability system. Qianhai will strive to hold a Shenzhen-Hong Kong Financial Forum, strengthen the Shenzhen-Hong Kong financial regulatory cooperation system, prevent cross-border financial risks, and promote the further opening up and development of Qianhai.
Source: Authority of Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone