The Chinese government said on June 28 that foreign securities, futures and insurance companies will be allowed to have a majority stake in their Chinese joint ventures this year, and by 2021 there will be no foreign shareholding limit for such businesses.
Experts said the move shows Chinese financial institutions are well-prepared for global competition and foreign players can find opportunities in China, benefiting from the nation’s large market.
The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce unveiled a shortened negative list for foreign investment on June 28, with the number of items down to 48 from 63 in the previous version.
On the list, restrictions on foreign ownership in entities such as securities, insurance and futures companies will be relaxed to 51 percent this year. The figure is set to rise to 100 percent by 2021.
Hong Hao, chief strategist at BOCOM International Holdings Co, said the latest round of opening-up will offer impetus for attracting more foreign investment and promoting market competition.
“It also means that Chinese financial institutions are well-prepared for competing with their global rivals,” Hong said.
Hong said Chinese firms have the advantages of strong distribution channels and a better understanding of domestic clients’ demands. Foreign players will also help to introduce mature experience and expertise to the domestic industry.
A spokesperson of Swiss bank UBS Group AG said the Chinese government’s decision to allow foreign companies to hold up to 51 percent stakes in securities joint ventures this year is another important step in the opening-up of the country’s markets.
“China is a key and huge market for UBS, and the further opening-up of China’s financial sector represents great opportunities for our businesses, including investment banking, wealth management and asset management,” UBS said.
UBS became the first global bank to submit an application to acquire a majority stake in its Chinese joint venture in May. Japanese brokerage and investment bank Nomura Holdings Inc applied to set up a securities joint venture with a majority stake in China in the same month.
Other banks, such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley have expressed interest in holding majority stakes in their local businesses.
Credit Suisse Group AG is also reportedly interested in boosting its stockholding in its Chinese joint venture.