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Huangpu to further open up with 50 new measures

March 08, 2019

Foreign performance agencies and art troupes will be allowed to start businesses around downtown theaters, foreign enterprises will enjoy the same treatment as their local counterparts, and local time-honored brands will receive government support to expand overseas. 

Those are among a new bundle of 50 policies released by Huangpu District on Thursday to further open up and attract more foreign businesses to the downtown region, especially to the Bund, the city's century-old financial hub.

“Opening-up has always been in the genes of Huangpu,” said Wang Huai, director with the district’s development and reform commission. From 1847, foreign banks, insurance and shipping companies began doing business on the Bund, developing the riverside region into the “Wall Street of the Far East” in the 1930s. Foreign business still accounts for nearly half of Huangpu’s regional economy nowadays, Wang said.

The newly released measures aim to restore the district’s historical status as an international financial hub.

“National treatment” will be offered to foreign investment, along with more freedoms. Foreign banks, for instance, will be able to open branches and conduct financial business in the district.

These financial firms and institutes will gather along the Bund and former World Expo 2010 site along the Huangpu River to create an 8-square-kilometer “Bund High-end Service Innovation Demonstration Hub.”

The downtown district also aims to create an “Oriental Broadway” near People’s Square, which will feature 39 theaters and performance spaces.

To attract more foreign performance groups, the district government will emulate an initiative being tested in the Free Trade Zone in Pudong to allow foreign performance brokerage firms and art troupes to operate in the downtown region, said Wang.

The downtown district has been named “Show Life” by the city government, who extended invitations to performers and producers from around the world last month. The area near People's Square will host 15,000 performances this year, 50 percent more than last year.

Expand overseas

The new policies will also help and encourage the city’s time-honored brands, many of which are based in Huangpu, to develop abroad, said Wang.

Xinghualou, a local Cantonese restaurant opened in 1851 during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), has begun exporting its mooncakes and other traditional snacks to the United States and Singapore, Chen Yao, director with the district’s administration service center, said. The center has helped the old brand to finish inspection and quarantine more quickly to ensure the quality of its traditional cakes.

Other Huangpu-based brands such as Sunya, another Cantonese restaurant located at the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, and local eatery Shendacheng, have prepared to expand overseas.

The district also released a development report on its comprehensive business environment in 2018 on Thursday. The district took a lead on the number of newly established companies and headquarters of multinational enterprises compared with other districts.

To better serve the foreign staff and professionals of the overseas companies, the district will offer preferential services on children’s education, medical and accommodation. A new batch of talent apartments will be released to mainly serve professionals in the financial sectors, said Chen.

Shanghai has introduced 100 new measures as it continues to play a leading role in the latest opening-up efforts of China. Under the measures announced by the city government in July 2018, Shanghai will encourage foreign investment in the advanced manufacturing sector and push forward reforms in the automobile, aircraft and shipbuilding industries.