Shenzhen Will Allow Foreign Companies to Obtain Payments Licenses as Part of Ambitious Financial Opening Plans


The Shenzhen municipal government has outlined a raft of measures to expedite the opening of the regional financial sector to foreign investors, including allowing them to obtain licenses to engage in third-party payments operations.

On 9 June the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission issued the “Shenzhen Municipal Outline for Economic and Social Development During the 14th Five Year Plan and 2035 Long-term Targets” (深圳市国民经济和社会发展第十四个五年规划和二〇三五年远景目标纲要).

The Outline states that the Shenzhen municipal government supports allowing foreign-invested entities that satisfy requirements to obtain licenses to engage in payments operations, as part of a push to integrate the local financial regulatory system with international standards.

The Outline further calls for “expanding external opening of the financial sector,” and “vigorously supporting the establishment of foreign-invested and share controlled securities, investment funds, futures and insurance companies, and supporting offshore banks to establish domestic branches and subsidiaries.”

Shenzhen hopes to create a “Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Financial City,” in order to establish a “demonstration window for trials of external opening of the national financial sector, and a cross-border renminbi operations innovation trial zone.”

Shenzhen will engage in “trials of forex administrative reforms, drive opening of non-convertible account items, take the lead in trials for internationalisation of the renminbi, undertake trials for integrated domestic and foreign currency cross-border fund operations, and drive facilitation of domestic usage of cross-border renminbi revenues under the capital account.”

The Outlines also call for “innovation in internationally oriented renminbi financial products; the development of renminbi international investment and loan funds, exploring the expansion of cross-border renminbi return channels…undertaking trials for the cross-border operations of securities futures companies, and improving pilot administrative provisions for foreign investment in equity investment enterprises and for qualified domestic investors to invest abroad.”

Shenzhen further hopes to establish a “Greater Bay bond platform,” and “research and push for the establishment of a data exchange market and undertake data transactions by relying on existing exchanges,” as well as “drive asset conversion of data resources, and establish secure and controllable cross-border data flow regulatory mechanisms.”