Monday, September 30, 2013

Shanghai Free Trade Zone - China Weekly Hangout

Last Sunday China inaugurated the eagerly awaited free trade zone in Shanghai, possibly a new turning point in China's economic development. The zone merges four existing zones, and allows foreign investors to enter previously restricted services, including shipping, banking, insurance and many other services, including the official sale of game consoles.
At the +China Weekly Hangout we hope to explore some of the directions of China's new policies, despite a huge amount of ambiguity in the current rules.
The name "free trade zones" is nothing new, although previous zones were mostly custom zones at best. How far is China willing to go this time? Is there a chance of experiments spilling over into the rest of China? Should Hong Kong be worried losing its status as financial hub for China? And how fast might this all happen. At best we look at the start of a massive push-and-pull between bureaucratic forces in China's governments. Some qualify the zones as a testing ground for free-market policies.
Premier Li Keqiang, the architect of some of the free-market policies, decided not to attend the opening ceremony, stressing the controversy inside the government.
An overexcited South China Morning Post already announce the new zones would even have unrestricted access to internet. That plan was quickly qualified as a hoax, but at least indicates different sections of China's bureaucracy see the zone as a place where long-wanted changes could take off.

Good overviews of the current regulations can be found at Reuters, the China Briefing, and state-owned Xinhua.

On Thursday 3 October we hope to gather a few guests (despite the ongoing October holidays), at 10pm Beijing Times, 4pm CEST (Europe) and 10am EST (US/Canada).

You can register for the participation at our event page here. Specific subjects will be picked later, also depending on who is going to join us on Thursday. During the event you can ask questions through a Q&A app, you can see from our event page (not on this website). From half an hour before the start, you can click on a yellow bar and start asking questions.
China Weekly Hangout

Yet another big change in China's external relations was the launch of a new visa system at September one. On September 12, the +China Weekly Hangout discussed this major change. Ambiguity is the word Beijing-based lawyer +Gary Chodorow uses most when talking about the new visas in China, officially in place since September 1. What to do with spouses, interns, people with F-visas and other visitors who are not allowed to work. Moderation by +Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau.

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