SHENZHEN, CHINA – Media Outreach – 20 January 2023 – The year 2022 marked the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s first inspection tour to Qianhai and the first anniversary of the official issuance of the Plan for Comprehensive Deepening Reform and Opening Up of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone (the “Qianhai Plan”) by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council. Committed to its mission of “relying on Hong Kong, serving the Mainland and opening up to the world”, Qianhai has expedited the creation of an innovative pilot platform for deepening reform in an effort to become an exceptional hub for opening up. Coupled with its robust development trend, Qianhai exemplifies the characteristics of China’s path to modernization.
There were ten major events that marked the extensive reform and opening up of Qianhai in 2022:
I. Reform and opening-up were proven successful with the Qianhai Plan fully implemented by national ministries and state council committees, Guangdong Province and Shenzhen
Over the past year, the Shenzhen Municipal Committee and the Shenzhen Municipal Government have made every effort to promote the reform and opening up of Qianhai. As over 40% of the 72 key tasks set out in the Qianhai Plan were completed and the rest of the tasks recorded substantial progress, the development of Qianhai was proven successful and robust.
II. “Nine Measures Favorable to Hong Kong Companies” were launched to facilitate closer cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong
On June 27, 2022, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Qianhai launched “Nine Measures Favorable to Hong Kong Companies”, which provide development opportunities and quality services for Hong Kong enterprises and individuals in nine aspects, namely housing, entrepreneurship, public service, employment, development platform, technological innovation, finance, settlement and well-being.
III. Qianhai ranked first among free trade zones in China in the institutional innovation index, further highlighting its position as a business cluster of reforms and innovations
On July 22, 2022, Sun Yat-sen University released the “2021-2022 China Pilot Free Trade Zone Institutional Innovation Index”, in which Qianhai continued to rank first. Throughout the year, 80 out of 765 institutional innovation achievements of Qianhai in total were recorded. Among these achievements, seven were adopted and promoted nationwide, bringing the total number to 72. As such, Qianhai has become a business cluster of reforms and innovations in the new era.
IV. Release of the Qianhai Global Service Provider Campaign enhanced the level of opening up
To accelerate the development of a new high-quality and efficient service industry system and build an important producer services center in the Asia-Pacific region, Qianhai released the Qianhai Global Service Provider Campaign on November 8, 2022. This campaign aims to attract and nurture the top 50 global and top 20 domestic service providers in eight key segments, namely modern finance, trade and logistics, information, technology, culture and creativity, commerce, shipping and public services. It is planned to introduce and cultivate more than 300 global modern service providers by 2025, and the added value of the modern service industry is expected to be RMB100 billion or above. Capitalizing on these advantages, Qianhai aspires to become a global service provider cluster which features the world’s top 500 corporate headquarters, competitive enterprises of specific business segments as well as specialised, sophisticated, distinctive and innovative “small giants”.
V. Breakthrough in management system reform and extensive coverage of supporting policies were achieved
In March 2022, the Shenzhen Municipal Committee and the Shenzhen Municipal Government issued a plan to optimize the management system of the Qianhai cooperation zone. Based on the plan, the management powers of the Qianhai Authority, the government of the administrative zone and relevant units directly under the Shenzhen Municipal Government in the Qianhai cooperation zone are more clearly defined. This moderate separation of powers between the administrative zone and the economic zone marked a substantial breakthrough in the reform of the management system.
Qianhai intensively introduced more than 10 policies in finance, trade and logistics, professional services, legal area, think tank development, technological innovation and headquarters economy. Enterprises within an area of 120.56 square kilometers are entitled to the relevant support. These policies have enabled not only the geographical expansion of the cooperation zone, but also the extension of its policy and service coverage.
VI. Shenzhen and Hong Kong jointly released favourable financial policies for the first time to accelerate the opening up of the financial industry
On September 2, 2022, Shenzhen and Hong Kong jointly released 18 policies in support of venture capital investments, marking the unprecedented joint issuance of policies by the two cities. The issuance, which has paved a new way for deepening the financial cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, was highly recognized by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the industry.
Institutions which have set up bases in Qianhai included the first financial holding company in the Greater Bay Area (China Merchants Financial Holdings), the first wholly foreign-owned fund sales company in the Greater Bay Area (UBS Fund Distribution), the first “dual-licensed” bank branch in China (Shenzhen branch of Dah Sing Bank) and Standard Chartered private equity fund (QFLP). Approximately 30% of the 236 institutions settling in the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Financial City were Hong Kong and foreign-invested companies.
VII. Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Legal-services District was officially inaugurated, marking a breakthrough in the convergence of rules applicable to cross-border commercial laws
On January 4, 2022, the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Legal-services District (the “Legal-services District”) was officially inaugurated. Joint efforts between Qianhai and Hong Kong were made to create an international legal service center and an international commercial dispute resolution center for the Legal-services District. National legal platforms established in the Legal-services District included the First Circuit Court of the Supreme People’s Court (the First International Commercial Court). The GBA International Arbitration Center was also set up, with its arbitrators coming from 114 countries and regions worldwide. In addition, 32 jurors from Hong Kong and 12 mediators from Hong Kong and Macao have been selected by the Qianhai court, which ranked first among the primary courts in China in accepting foreign, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan-related cases. Encompassing 154 legal service institutions in six service categories, such as judicial, arbitration, mediation and legal services, the Legal-services District has attracted 72 lawyers from Hong Kong and Macao to practice in Qianhai.
VIII. Qianhai was selected as the Demonstration Zone of National Import Trade Promotion and Innovation with high-quality trade performance
In November 2022, the Qianhai-Shekou Free Trade Zone was selected as the “Demonstration Zone of National Import Trade Promotion and Innovation” by the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission and 6 other ministries. With the increasing importance of its four major roles in promoting imports, serving the industry, enhancing consumption and leading by example, the free trade zone will take its international free trade practices and convenience to the next level.
China’s first off-airport cargo screening station has been launched, completing the whole process of air cargo between Shenzhen Airport and Qianhai Comprehensive Bonded Zone. The Cross-border Trade Big Data Platform, which is the only local pilot program authorized by the General Administration of Customs, has finished the first stage of scenario development, such as consignment trade and shipping schedule analysis. Moreover, the Greater Bay Area Composite Ports Project was selected as one of China’s first business environment pilot reform projects and cross-border trade efficiency enhancement projects. In 2022, the total import and export volume of Qianhai Comprehensive Bonded Zone reached a record high of over RMB230 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of nearly 50%. Its output value per unit area also ranked first in the country. The import and export volume of Shenzhen Airport Bonded Logistics Center exceeded RMB18 billion, ranking first among 85 bonded logistics centers in China.
IX. Annual transaction volume of Qianhai Mercantile Exchange (“QME”) recorded a year-on-year increase of 145%, realizing the concept of introducing financial products to and from the global market
QME, which was initiated by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, maintained its steady development momentum and recorded growth despite adverse market conditions. In 2022, its spot transaction volume was RMB79.35 billion, representing a significant year-on-year increase of 145%.
As a composite commodities spot trading platform covering basic metals, energy, construction materials and agricultural products, QME entered into one of the first online cross-border transactions based on spot trading of soybean on April 29, 2022. In addition, QME completed cross-border payment and settlement of commodities transactions through Cross-border Interbank Payment System (“CIPS”), a system for settling cross-border Renminbi payments, for the first time with the support of the People’s Bank of China and cross-border clearing companies.
X. Land use planning of Qianhai enabled the commencement of a number of major projects and the accelerated construction of a new city center
Qianhai enjoys a wider space, more resources and stronger development momentum after the expansion of the cooperation zone. It has also expedited its land use planning, restructured layout, optimized resources allocation and further stepped up the consistent planning of its newly enlarged area.
Throughout the year, Qianhai has made significant progress in strengthening its infrastructure network. The Shenzhen-Huizhou Intercity Railway, the Shenzhen Airport-Daya Bay Intercity Railway and the Qianhuang section of the Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway commenced construction; the two-way tunnel of the Guimiao Road renovation project (phase 1) was opened to traffic; projects such as the Mawan Cross-sea Passage and the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Corridor were expedited; and the first stage study of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Rail Link (Hung Shui Kiu – Qianhai) was completed, aligning with the development strategy of the Northern Metropolis of Hong Kong. Also included in the planning is the establishment of Qianhai Stone Park and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Plaza, which will create a 68-kilometer vibrant golden coastline for Qianhai.
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