The Guangzhou Municipal Financial Affairs Bureau has put forward a series of special policies for the further opening up of the financial industry, making Guangzhou the first city in China to introduce special policies for the opening up of the financial sector. Guangzhou is the capital of the economic powerhouse province of Guangdong.
Among other measures, the southern Chinese city announced in a notice on 30 August that it would liberalise the scope of business for foreign insurance brokers, and abolish the requirement for foreign insurers to establish and run a representative office for at least two years before receiving an insurance licence. The bureau also said that it would support foreign investors who wish to operate insurance agencies or insurance assessment businesses in Guangzhou.
The notice also said that the ceiling on foreign holdings in life insurance companies, securities companies, fund management companies, and futures companies will be relaxed to 51%, and abolished after three years.
The changes announced by Guangzhou are in line with measures announced last November by the central government and detailed in April this year by the People's Bank of China to open up China's financial sector by lowering the threshold for market access and expanding the business scope of foreign ventures.
The Guangzhou bureau also said that the total asset requirement for Hong Kong and Macau insurance brokerages setting up a wholly owned operation in Guangzhou would be reduced to HK$500,000 (US$63,700) from the previous requirement of US$200m.