Economy

China moves to open market for financial firms in historic step

China moves to open market for financial firms in historic step

The announcement coincided with Donald Trump's visit to Beijing and bolstered the reform credentials of Chinese President Xi Jinping less than a month after he cemented his status as the nation's most powerful leader in decades.

The country's new regulatory stance will remove foreign ownership limits on banks.

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China will lift the ceiling on foreign equity ownership in joint-venture firms involved in the futures, securities and funds markets to 51 percent, a vice finance minister said on Friday. Besides first time investors, investment cap on existence foreign banks will be allowed to increase their stakes in Chinese banks and asset managers, Zhu said in a press released by the State Council which functions under premier Li Keqiang.

Prior to today's announcement, worldwide banks that are not based in Hong Kong were obliged to do business on the mainland only as part of a joint venture with domestic banks, and they were prevented from owning a majority or controlling stake in the venture. China will also allow global firms to take majority stakes in other companies, such as insurers and fund managers. This is the biggest step towards financial sector liberalization since China allowed foreign banks to run locally incorporated business in 2007.

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