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Beijing gets State Council approval for service sector pilot program

Updated: May 21,2015 6:27 PM

The State Council has given the green light to Beijing’s pilot program to open up the service sector, making the capital the first city to start a trial run of this kind.

The program, an important step in implementing a national comprehensive opening-up strategy, will contribute to a new economic system that is open and connected to the global economy, the State Council wrote to the Beijing municipal government.

Beneficial policies will be implemented for foreign investors and businessmen in the science, technology, culture, education, finance, commerce, tourism, health and medical service sectors.

Foreign engineering design companies no longer need to provide a portfolio of work outside China to apply for authorization to work in Beijing and it will no longer be mandatory for foreigners investing in aircraft maintenance projects to have a Chinese majority shareholder.

Fully-owned foreign companies can set up brokerage agencies for stage performances in certain areas of the capital.

Foreign financial institutions will be allowed to establish fully-owned banks in Beijing or set up joint-venture banks with Chinese private capital; and foreign businessmen will be able to open credit investment companies in Beijing.

Foreign investors can own up to 70 percent in joint-venture employment agencies in Zhongguancun -- known as the Silicon Valley of China -- with the minimum registered capital reduced to $125,000 from $300,000.

Sino-foreign joint-venture travel agencies will be allowed to provide outbound travel services (except to Taiwan province).

Approval procedures will be made easy for foreign investors to collaborate with Chinese backers in providing medical services.

The program will start in key selected areas in the city and where market demand is expected to be high. It will then gradually expand to the rest of the city.

Rules covering market access and supervision in Beijing will be revised to facilitate the development of the service sector.

The Beijing government will launch the program under the larger framework of the central government’s coordinated development strategy for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.

The State Council instructed departments of the central government to support Beijing’s efforts.

The Ministry of Commerce will work with other departments to supervise and evaluate progress and ensure reform and opening-up measures in the pilot program are put into practice.