Suzhou, the second-largest economy in the Yangtze River Delta region, hopes to become a regional financial hub like the newly launched China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the city's mayor said.
Suzhou, the largest economy in east China's Jiangsu province, has submitted a plan to the State Council to apply for a similar zone.
It is "very likely" to get approved, Zhou Naixiang, Suzhou mayor and also a deputy of National People's Congress, said on the sidelines of China's ongoing annual parliamentary session in Beijing.
Zhou's remarks came as representatives of cities both from near Shanghai and across China have voiced their eagerness to copy the Shanghai model during the national meeting.
The Shanghai free trade zone opened in September to test a broad range of economic reforms, especially in the financial sector.
Besides strengthening a traditionally strong manufacturing sector, Suzhou would boost its service industry, especially in the financial and logistics sectors through following the Shanghai zone's experience in financial innovation, trade management and supervision, Zhou said.
For example, a cross-Straits industrial pilot zone in Kunshan helped upgrade the county-level city in Suzhou from being a traditional manufacturing base to becoming a valued-added service supplier, and a number of financial organizations' headquarters have settled there, Zhou said.