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Foreign institutions heavily engaged in China's financial market: finance official

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-01-26 10:55
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A clerk counts cash at a bank in Nantong, Jiangsu province. [Photo/Sipa]

BEIJING - Foreign financial institutions are heavily engaged in China's financial market and in the country's economic and financial development, and have become a very important force in its financial industry, a senior financial official said in Beijing on Thursday.

By the end of 2023, foreign-funded banks had opened 888 business branches in China, with their total assets hitting 3.86 trillion yuan ($543.32 billion), according to Xiao Yuanqi, deputy head of the National Financial Regulatory Administration.

Overseas insurance institutions had established 67 business branches and 70 representative offices by the end of last year, with total assets hitting 2.4 trillion yuan. Their market share in the Chinese mainland was 10 percent, "quite a high level," Xiao told a press conference.

The strong presence of foreign financial institutions in China comes as the country steadily opens its financial sector through measures such as scrapping restrictions on the ratio of foreign shareholding in banking and insurance institutions, and substantially easing entry thresholds for foreign institutions, Xiao said.

Foreign investors can now hold 100 percent of shares of a banking or insurance institution in China, and the potential business scope of a foreign banking or insurance institution is now exactly the same as their Chinese counterparts, according to Xiao.

He said that China will be firm in pushing forward high-standard opening-up in the financial sector, and encourages broad cooperation between foreign and Chinese financial institutions.

The country also welcomes cooperation with foreign institutions specializing in such areas as green finance, sustainable operations and combating climate change, and supports foreign financial institutions to take part in the development of Shanghai and Hong Kong as international financial centers, he said.

"China's financial sector will continue to open wider," Xiao pledged.

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