China revises regulations on foreign investment in banking sector

  The new rules specify that when overseas institutions invest in Chinese commercial banks or rural financial organs, supervision and management on such organs should not be changed. [photo/VCG]

  BEIJING - China's banking regulator on Thursday decided to cancel and revise certain regulations on foreign investment in the banking sector in a latest effort to push forward financial opening up.

  China will abolish management rules on overseas financial institutions' investment in domestic organs, applying the same market entry and administrative approval policies for both Chinese and foreign investment, according to a statement from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

  The commission will also cancel restrictions on foreign holdings in Chinese banking and asset management companies in three other documents.

  The new rules specify that when overseas institutions invest in Chinese commercial banks or rural financial organs, supervision and management on such organs should not be changed.

  China will create a fair, open and transparent mechanism for foreign investment in the banking sector and keep the system stable and consistent, according to the statement.

  The move comes as China is steadily advancing the opening up of its financial sector, with measures to reduce restrictions on foreign investors and allow more investment in equity and bond markets.

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Nepal rail project can also bring China, India closer together on trade relations

  At the invitation of Chinese premier Li Keqiang, Nepalese prime Minister K.p. Sharma Oli is paying an official visit to China from Tuesday to Sunday. During Oli's visit, cooperation on infrastructure projects like the railway line connecting Gyirong in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region with the Nepali capital Kathmandu is expected to be discussed.

  Since China extended its rail network to Xigaze, Tibet in 2014, Beijing has been working to further extend the railway line to the China-Nepal border port of Gyirong, a project that is expected to be completed in 2020. If a rail connection between Gyirong and Kathmandu can be achieved, the two countries can establish an integrated network of rail freight.

  Nepal's new government holds a positive attitude toward the plan. Oli told the Global Times on Tuesday that the railway project is a priority for Nepal's partnership with China. "Our two countries are working seriously to establish cross-border railway connectivity," said Oli.

  If all goes well, it won't take long to make the integrated rail network a reality, and the line is likely to be a game-changer in terms of trade, connectivity and economic integration in South Asia.

  Sandwiched between China and India, Nepal has long been dependent on the latter for international trade because the inland Himalayan nation has no outlet to the sea. If China and Nepal are connected by rail, bilateral trade will increase, with the Himalayan nation getting the opportunity to dilute the influence of New Delhi. It is understandable that the rail line may arouse vigilance in India, but the project does not strategically target any third party, including India.

  The rail line is just the first step to fulfill the wish to establish an integrated rail network among China, Nepal and India. If the three countries can be connected via cargo trains, which are faster than ships and cheaper than planes, India is likely to witness a surge in its exports of goods such as agricultural products to China.

  India and Nepal have road links, but this is not enough to meet the demand for international freight. If India wants to extend its rail network to Nepalese cities, China will not be stingy in offering help.

  An integrated rail network will be a key component of a trans-Himalayan economic corridor connecting China, Nepal and India. Rather than being wary of Nepal's increased cooperation with China, New Delhi's best choice is to push forward the trilateral economic corridor with closer cooperation.

tag : Nepal rail project can also bring China, India closer together


Effective land reform can revitalize China’s GDp growth

  The Chinese economy is facing downward pressure. Maintaining stable growth has again emerged as a key issue. China has reached a point where it must choose whether to expand real estate and infrastructure.

  Infrastructure has shown negative growth and real estate has passed its peak. Counting on these two sectors is not reliable anymore, and doing so is likely to add to leverage ratios. Governments will have to leverage further if infrastructure continues to expand, and the household leverage ratio will increase if the hot real estate market persists.

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  The development model based on financing with land is coming to an end. Land has been owned by Chinese governments, and supplies have been monopolized.

  Residential sites' prices were driven up by auctions. Local governments made excess profits, which became an important part of fiscal revenue. In many cities, profits from land sales have yielded 40-50 percent of government revenue. Moreover, local governments can even raise more capital by using land as collateral.

  In recent years, China has pumped a decent amount of money into the economy, and a large portion of that has entered the real estate industry. This model has become less sustainable. The old development model will fail if one of the conditions matches.

  First is if the real estate sector peaks. Second is if the real economy declines because of high real estate costs - Hong Kong is a typical example, and first-tier cities in the Chinese mainland have showed similar signs. Third is if expansionary monetary policy is exhausted. Fourth is if the bubble in the real estate sector finally bursts.

  Development driven by land is hard to sustain. The model helped China for years, but it has reached its limit, and it's time to transform it.

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  Is there any other driving power aside from infrastructure and real estate? We need to change our thinking. Markets for factors of production such as land, capital and labor should be mobilized freely among cities, so optimal resource allocation can be achieved. The reform of China's land system is badly needed. Rural collectively owned construction land and urban land should gain equal footing as to rights, prices and access to the market. Exchanges of rural residential land should be allowed.

  There's a significant social trend: Many farmers want to move to cities while city dwellers desire to go to the countryside.

  But the question remains as to whether rural collective land and residential land can be equally tradable, given that it has been years since some people bought affordable homes built on collectively owned land whose ownership is not officially recognized.

  This is an area where reform is urgently needed. If successful, the reform will augur well for economic growth. It would help to lower urban home prices. If the government bestows legal status upon the homes constructed on collectively owned land and also allows for rural residential land to be marketable, runaway housing prices, especially in first-tier cities, would be arrested.

  Land system reforms are a fairly significant part of efforts to unlock China's growth momentum. With farmers moving to cities, public services need to be fairly accessible. This is quite important as the country moves to stimulate consumption and address housing concerns. It will also increase the buying power of low-income people.

  It's also worth contemplating whether the old methods of infrastructure spending need to be revisited when it comes to proactive fiscal policy. Fiscal expenditures should be weighted toward areas of weakness such as healthcare, elder care, education, social security and basic research.

  Meanwhile, the nation should continue its push for State-owned capital to be funneled into social security funds.

  Greater efforts are needed to press ahead with reforms of sectors where State firms hold administrative monopolies, including oil and gas, as well as electricity and railways. private capital should be given easier access to these areas, which will boost investment in these sectors.

  pragmatic moves toward further reform and opening-up lie at the heart of China's response to trade tensions with the US. A high-quality market economy and a high-level opening-up policy are the two prongs of the nation's efforts to boost its competitiveness in technological and economic terms biomarkers for PD-L1



Helsinki to make travel easier for Chinese tourists

  Helsinki is planning to work with Chinese mobile apps to make travel easier for Chinese tourists, while the city's mayor is looking forward to more hotel chains from China boosting the city's hospitality capacity.

  On Sept 5, Helsinki Marketing, a marketing company owned by Finland's capital, Tencent and Finnair signed a cooperation agreement to make travel information more accessible for Chinese tourists through their phones.

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  Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori said in an interview with China Daily that the behaviors of Chinese tourists in Helsinki are changing and the city is making travel easier, such as launching a digital travel guide on WeChat, one of the most popular Chinese apps.

  "Today's and tomorrow's tourism is not based on single signature attractions anymore. It was the first phrase of tourism when people wanted to see the Eiffel Tower or something like that," said Vapaavuori. "Now they want to experience a city, live like a local, look at the architecture and have a cup of coffee."

  The mayor said from his office in Helsinki's city hall that he often sees Chinese visitors sitting in parks relaxing and having a good time.

  "It's a different approach, they are just enjoying walking around, sitting on a bench in a park waiting for outdoor activities or whatever that might happen," he added.

  He also said a lack of hotel rooms has been a problem because the number of tourists has more than doubled in a short period.

  "We are also trying to convince some Chinese hotel chains to come and build hotels in Helsinki," Vapaavuori said.

  Apart from hotels, Finnair, the nation's major airline operator, is also working on increasing the number of direct flights between Helsinki and Chinese cities.

  "This summer we have 38 weekly direct flights from China to Helsinki," said Mikko Turtiainen, vice-president of global sales at Finnair. "By next summer, we expect the number to increase to more than 40."

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  Finland has seen rapid growth in the number of tourists, said paavo Virkkunen, head of Visit Finland, the nation's tourism bureau. The number of overnight stays by Chinese visitors in the country has grown from 98,100 in 2007 to 361,800 in 2017.

  Virkkunen said Chinese companies' convenient cross-border mobile payment and travel apps have boosted the consumption power of Chinese tourists in Finland.

  "When Alipay and Fliggy were not doing promotions in Finland, Chinese visitors spent 600 euros ($699) per person in the country per visit," he said. "Now consumer spending by Chinese tourists in Finland, excluding flights and hotels, has reached 1,300 euros per person per visit."

  Alipay is a widely-used mobile-payment app. Fliggy is a travel subsidiary of Alibaba that enables its users to book flights, taxis, hotels and tour packages online.

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