Shenzhen gets more reforms
Innovative method raises market expectations
Published: Oct 18, 2020 07:13 PM

Aerial photo taken on Sept. 17, 2020 shows the Houhai area in Nanshan District of Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.Photo:Xinhua

China announced an action plan for comprehensive pilot reforms for Shenzhen city, South China's Guangdong Province, on Sunday, following the release days earlier of a five-year program for its next-stage reform and opening-up.

The authorization method supporting Shenzhen to advance higher-level reform and opening-up to achieve goals for the 2020-25 period is innovative in terms of saving costs and giving the city greater autonomy in key areas of reform, experts told the Global Times.

The list of 40 authorized items, released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, cover six aspects including the market-oriented configuration of factors, the business environment, high-tech innovation and opening-up.

"Each of the items on the first authorization list has rich content," Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the NDRC, said at a press conference on Sunday.

According to statistics, more than 20 items are needed to break through existing laws, regulations and policies, involving nearly 100 adjustments of current legislations. This process is highly innovative, reflecting the strength and depth of the reform authorized by the central government, according to Ning.

In principle, the initial list should be fully implemented before 2022. For example, formulating a list of special measures for Shenzhen to widen market access will be the first move in this year's work, and substantive progress should be achieved as early as possible, Ning said.

Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times on Sunday that the innovative list, which covers items that were previously involved in cross-engagement among different national departments, can be now realized more efficiently and smoothly under the synergy of the central and local governments.

"It is a ground-breaking attempt, set to offer a template for other economically developed areas in China to advance reform and opening-up," said Tian, adding that the press conference on Sunday showed that different national departments have expressed their support for the pilot city.

"If the specifics are carried out well, a second batch of authorized items will later be released," Tian said.

Under the framework of the five-year reform pilot plan for Shenzhen, the NDRC will work with relevant parties to study and formulate a list of authorizations on a rolling basis and proceed with implementation, according to the NDRC deputy head.

Mao Yanhua, a professor at the Institute of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Development Studies at Sun Yat-sen University, told the Global Times on Sunday that the authorized items, most of which focus on the configuration of market factors, are also the core of supply-side reform, which is a tough battle. 

"The innovative method provides a fair and transparent market environment, while raising market expectations" Mao noted.

According to the list, the measures will include support for pilot projects in the construction of Shenzhen's capital market - advancing the reform of the NASDAQ-style ChiNext board and the implementation of the pilot registration system; establishing a transfer listing mechanism for companies listed on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) or the "new third board"; launching Shenzhen Stock Index Futures, and promoting the issuance of stocks or depository receipts (CDRs) and listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange by companies that have an innovative leading role.

"ChiNext reform and the pilot registration-based IPO system have been implemented since late August and achieved some progress," Yan Qingmin, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), said at the Sunday press conference.

As of Thursday, 414 IPO applications had been accepted by the ChiNext board. Among them, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange had approved 93, while 42 companies had been registered by the CSRC and 36 had been listed, according to Yan.

Deng Yu, senior research fellow of the Atlantis Financial Research Institute, told the Global Times that as a crucial city in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Shenzhen's financial industry needs to make leading moves based on its vast economy. 

"Looking back, Shenzhen lacked comprehensive system construction and innovative institutional establishment in the financial sector, but now it has found a new positioning in the Greater Bay Area, and its further progress requires drawing some lessons from Shanghai and Hong Kong for more international business," said Deng.

"Futures could be a breakthrough, then bonds and expanding to other businesses to enhance the city's stake, especially in financial business with overseas markets," he noted.