China has unveiled a series of measures to deepen reforms in the nation’s free trade zones FTZs, and Nansha FTZ in Guangzhou, where is sitting in the geographical centre of the GBA – the country’s biggest economic power – is becoming outstanding as a field-test for financial innovation, in a clear effort to boost the GBA Development Initiative, the essential national strategy for China’s economic transformation and development, moving the country up the global supply chain and innovation.

Guangzhou’s strength, which is exerted in building an international financial services hub for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will help Nansha to build a premier brand for financial services, prioritising the financial services system and developing innovative services in the field of technology finance, shipping finance, cross-border finance.

As of November last year, over 6,333 financial companies had registered in Nansha FTZ, becoming a whirlwind that attracts talents, capital and other resources, which not only contribute Nansha’s financial industry but also the leading logistics, information, science, technology and business service industries.

Conference Hall Nansha
Photo: Conference Hall Nansha

Among them, over 1,609 or over 25 per cent is Hong Kong and Macau-invested. Nansha FTZ is aiming to become a global financial hub in the GBA by following Hong Kong’s example.

Under the CEPA Supplementary Agreement signed between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, qualified joint venture securities companies are allowed to set up licensing securities companies in Nansha FTZ with Hong Kong funds as financial institutions and banks in Nansha and Hong Kong were allowed to issue cross-border renminbi syndicated loans.

For a newly arrival to invest the GBA, nothing is as good and friendly as Nansha’s newly published guidelines for the opening up of financial industry in Nansha FTZ, occupying 60 sq meters, the biggest free trade zone in the GBA.

The list, first of its kind in China’s FTZs, is on the official website of Nansha, clarifying the state, provincial and city policies that have affected investment in Nansha FTZ in recent years, which would make both domestic and foreign investors no longer feel confused and take good use of various incentives when investing in Nansha FTZ.

LN Garden Hotel
Photo: LN Garden Hotel, Nansha Guangzhou.

In the guidelines, investors could understand well the opening up measures required for financial companies involved in banking, securities, fund, futures, insurance, insurance brokerage, insurance agency, insurance asset management and financial leasing.

Financial leasing business is the most shining showpiece for Nansha’s innovative finance development, under the Belt and Road Initiative and the GBA Initiative.

In December 2017, an innovative business model started operation in Nansha FTZ, granting domestic companies the ability to purchase aircraft and vessel from overseas manufacturers and lease them to overseas airlines and shipping companies.

One year later, there have been nearly 2,000 financial leasing enterprises established in Nansha, with register capital of around 500 billion yuan totally. As of December 2018, a total of 100 passenger aircraft’s and 35 vessels leased in Nansha, making the area the biggest industry cluster for the aircraft and vessel leasing industry in South China.

Rendering of Nansha cruise port
Photo: Rendering of Nansha Cruise Port

“Growing high value products from factories in the Greater Bay Area would to be trucked to Guangzhou to be flown to overseas markets. The financing leasing platform in Nansha is of top priority in our transportation sector.” said Huang Honghui, founder of R&T Transportation, which is the latest one to start aircraft leasing business in Nansha in December.

To facilitate aircraft leasing projects, the zone has set up a specialised team of aircraft leasing professionals to provide whole-process services including business registration, foreign exchange registration, tax coordination and customs declaration.

Also, Nansha has emerged as an international exchange centre and a new hub of global integration under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

From 2017, Nansha will become south headquarter and permanent meeting site for the International Finance Forum (IFF) – an independent, non-profit and non-governmental international organisation and a regular platform for global high-level dialogue and academic research in the financial field. Founded in 2003 by the leaders of 78 relevant international organisations and more than 20 countries and regions, the International Finance Forum is known as the “F20” of the financial field.

The Nansha-based IFF, attracting hundreds of government officials and financial experts from around the world every year, is expected to pool wisdom and relocate financial resources around China and the globe, as well as help to forge the GBA’s economy that drives global economic development as a new engine.