China issues special measures to ease market access in Shenzhen, in boost for GBA
Special measures cover key areas, to boost GBA development: experts
Published: Jan 26, 2022 08:25 PM
The view of OH Bay Park and Qianhai in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on August 21. China in September announced to deepen opening-up of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone. 
Photo: cnsphoto

The view of OH Bay Park and Qianhai in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on August 21. China in September announced to deepen opening-up of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone. Photo: cnsphoto

China's top economic planner and commerce ministry on Wednesday rolled out a slew of special measures to relax market access in several sectors in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, in a bid to boost the competitiveness of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and promote high-quality development and high-level opening-up.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) released a guideline that contained 24 measures covering technology, finance, healthcare, education and culture, and transportation.

The measures cover a wide range of sectors and are of important significance to build Shenzhen into a pilot demonstration zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote the development of the GBA, a senior official said.

This is an important move to help Shenzhen accumulate high-end resources from around the world and enhance the development momentum of the GBA, Qin Weizhong, mayor of Shenzhen, said at a press conference to introduce the measures on Wednesday.

To facilitate the integration of the GBA, the measures include new moves to deepen insurance market connections among the three cities, support telecom operators to innovate, and ease market access for medical institutions from Hong Kong and Macao to operate in Shenzhen.

"It will help Shenzhen play an important role as an engine in the development of the GBA, strengthen cooperation among the three places and enable the GBA to play a more prominent role in the country's reform and opening-up, innovation and development process," Qin said.

Through policy support on wider market access for new infrastructure, scientific and technological innovation, and data elements, the city expects to attract global scientific and technological innovation resources and capital, Sun Liancai, a partner of Beijing Alliance PKU Management Consultants, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"It will drive the coordinated development of the regional economy and elevate the driving force and leading role of the GBA around the globe," Sun said.

Other major areas covered by the measures include 5G, data exchanges, the semiconductor industry, cross-border finance, medicine and unmanned vehicle systems. In the technology sector, Shenzhen aims to take the lead in the country to ease market access for cross-border data business. 

Measures will be taken to relax market access for data trading and cross-border data services. The city will also prepare to establish a data element exchange center, when conditions permit, according to the guideline.

The measures are conducive to paving the way for the market-oriented reform of data elements in China, and help accelerate the opening-up of Shenzhen's information service industry as well as the development of digital trade and other new forms of business, officials said.

In 2021, the added value of core industries of the digital economy accounted for about 30 percent of GDP in Shenzhen, ranking high among large and medium-sized cities in China in terms of scale and quality.

In the financial sector, Shenzhen has plans to improve the convenience of cross-border trade settlements.

In the field of transportation, Shenzhen will establish unified access standards and open application platforms for all-space unmanned systems on land, sea and air.

Measures in the medical field include easing market access for medicines and medical devices as well as trials of online sales of prescribed medicines. 

"Shenzhen has always been at the forefront of reform and opening-up. By carrying out this pilot project, it can make good use of the advantages of its role as a demonstration zone as well as its industrial base and innovation gene in promoting the nation's high-level opening-up and dual circulation strategy," Wang Peng, a professor at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The fields covered in the guideline are also the key areas for China's further opening-up and high-quality development, Zheng Lei, a chief economist with Glory Sun Financial Group, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Shenzhen has more advantages than other cities in China in terms of its location, industrial base and social development. It is expected that the pilot in Shenzhen will be promoted to the GBA first and provide an example to the rest of the country," Zheng said.