China Gives Shenzhen Greater Autonomy to Attract Investment

China announced measures that will grant its southern boomtown Shenzhen more autonomy as Beijing seeks to raise the profile of the region as a tech and financial hub amid tensions with the U.S.

The National Development and Reform Commission publisheda list of reforms for Shenzhen on Sunday that include steps for financial markets, intellectual property protection, economic legislation and talent attraction. The supporting policies for Shenzhen are more than those given to the free trade zone in China’s southern island province Hainan, China News Service cited Peng Sen, former deputy director of the NDRC, as saying.

The city is home to some of China’s leading technology giants, includingHuawei Technologies Co. andTencent Holdings Ltd., and is a crucial part of Beijing’s plan to drive economic integration with Hong Kong and Macau into the so-called Greater Bay Area to ultimately rival Tokyo Bay or Silicon Valley.

In aspeech commemorating the 40th anniversary of Shenzhen’s establishment as a special economic zone on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the city should also be given more autonomy for reform and strive to solve any problems from breakneck growth. Foreign investors’ interests should be better looked after through measures including protecting intellectual rights, he said.

Here are some of the key measures covered in the list:

  • Shenzhen will start a stock futures index
  • Innovative companies can stage IPOs on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange with depository receipts
  • State-owned companies in the region will be given greater autonomy to carry out market-based reforms
  • Shenzhen will build a new intellectual property rights protection system that ensures digital IP protection and punishes infringements
  • Restrictions on foreign ownership in telecommunications will be lifted
  • Shenzhen will streamline visa rules to attract talent
  • The city will be allowed to issue offshore, yuan-denominated local government bonds
  • Designated medical institutions across nine mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area will be allowed to use drugs available in Hong Kong and Macau

— With assistance by John Liu, and Dong Lyu

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