Shanghai Free Trade Zone: Business booms amid freer flows of cash and talent
Turning to Shanghai. It's been six years since China started a pilot free trade zone there. Many measures have been put into place to support the zone. CGTN's Lin Nan explains how freer flows of labor and capital have business booming.
Chen Kai deals with a large amount of money every day. His company purchases expensive medical equipment from abroad at their customers' requests and leases the machines to them, saving medical companies the need to buy equipment with lump-sum payments.
CHEN KAI, GENERAL MANAGER SINOPHARM HOLDING FINANCE LEASING "Each of our orders stand at around 50 to 60 million yuan. The highest can be about 300 million."
In most cases, the leasing company doesn't buy with cash either, but relies on long term bank loans. For the last four years, the company has used a bank account system called "Free Trade Account" that lets the company freely convert currencies.
CHEN KAI, GENERAL MANAGER SINOPHARM HOLDING FINANCE LEASING "We've started using the FT account since 2015. We find it helpful since it provides more competitive rates, and longer loan periods."
Since the system allows for the free flow of currencies, companies can now borrow from international lenders who offer lower financing costs. More than 70 thousand FT accounts have opened in Shanghai, through which companies loaned more than 1.3 trillion yuan by the end of 2018.
LIN NAN SHANGHAI "It's not just money that's flowing more easily through Shanghai. Measures have also been taken to ease the flow of TALENT as well, allowing companies to attract HUMAN capital from abroad."
Hong Chow is a Chinese-German and the country manager of a world-leading biotech company. She was the first to get the "Chinese green card" as one of the free trade zone foreign talent.
HONG CHOW, GENERAL MANAGER ROCHE CHINA "With this card, I think for instance my child can get a local education, I can buy property. If you read the back of my card, it actually says it provides the same benefits as a local resident."
Chow is the beneficiary of China's first talent scheme to allow free trade zones to recommend foreign talents for permanent residence. Shanghai has relaxed work permit and green card policies in recent years.
CAI BAODI, DIRECTOR EXIT-ENTRY ADMIN. BUREAU OF SHANGHAI PUBLIC SECURITY BUREAU "We want top talent, which the city urgently needs. Now the criteria for green card application is based more on market and industry standards."
New measures have been taken in Shanghai to deepen reform and further opening-up, making it more appealing to do business.
YING YONG SHANGHAI MAYOR "59 thousand companies have registered in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone since its establishment in 2013, more than in the previous two decades put together. It created one quarter of Shanghai's GDP and tax income, with only a fiftieth of the city's land area."
The mechanisms and policies being piloted here are proliferating, with other free trade zones around the country adopting them as their own. It's a trend that planners hope will contribute to the high-quality development of the nation. Lin Nan, CGTN, Shanghai.