The State Council of China has officially announced on September 27, 2013 the overall plan (“Plan”) of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (“SHFTZ”), setting out the general goals, applicability, main tasks as well as the corresponding measures to further open up the China related market for domestic and foreign investors, which covers six sectors, including finance, shipping, commerce, professional, cultural as well as social services.

The Plan will be implemented within four special customs supervision zones including Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, Waigaoqiao Bonded Logistics Park, Yangshan Bonded Port and Shanghai Pudong Airport Free Trade Zone, and is expected to be further expanded within a period of 2 to 3 years and thereafter.

The investors may have access to more investment opportunities in SHFTZ with respect to the following areas: 

Financial Services
Foreign investors will have access to China market with respect to the areas of monetary banking, professional healthcare & medical insurance and financial leasing services. Qualified financial institutions are encouraged to set up wholly foreign funded banks, Sino-foreign joint venture banks, banks with limited business operation licenses as well as the professional healthcare and medical insurance institutions within SHFTZ. Financial leasing companies registered in SHFTZ are allowed to concurrently engage in commercial factoring business relevant to its main businesses.

Shipping Service
Restrictions over the proportion of foreign equity in a Sino-foreign equity joint venture/Sino-foreign contractual joint venture in international shipping businesses will be eased and a wholly foreign owned international shipping management enterprise is allowed to be set up within SHFTZ.

Commercial Services
Foreign investment may have access to industry of value-added telecom services as well as console game and amusement services. It is permitted for a foreign-invested enterprise (“FIE”) to engage in some form of the value-added telecom business within SHFTA provided that information security can be ensured. An FIE is also allowed to engage in the manufacture and sale of the game recreational equipment, which can be distributed to the China domestic market provided that the approval from competent cultural authority is obtained in advance. 

Professional Services
Foreign investment may have certain access to the service industries including legal service, credit inquiry, travel agency, talent agency, asset management, engineering design as well as construction services.

Cultural Services
A wholly foreign-owned performance brokerage enterprise is permitted to be set up within SHFTZ to provide services for Shanghai and a wholly foreign-owned entertainment business is permitted to be incorporated to provide services within SHFTZ.

Social Services
Foreign investment may have access to educational & training service, professional skills training service as well as medical service. A Sino-foreign contractual institution engaging in education training/professional skills training is allowed to be set up and a wholly foreign-owned medical institution is permitted to be incorporated within SHFTZ as well.