Shenzhen Eyes to Turn Qianhai an Epicenter for Fintech and Blockchain

Shenzhen Eyes to Turn Qianhai an Epicenter for Fintech and Blockchain

by May 6, 2019

The Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone or the Qianhai Special Economic Zone, is an experimental commercial development in Shenzhen set up to encourage foreign investment in modern industries. It is emerging as one of China’s biggest centers for financial innovation. Over 59,000 financial firms had been set up in the zone by the end of April 2018, according to China Daily.

The special economic zone covers nearly 15 square kilometers and falls within the city limits of Shenzhen, one of the most productive cities economically in China. The zone, which is expected to be completed by 2020, offers a number of incentives and preferential financial policies to encourage foreign investment and it has put financial innovation as its top priority.

At the 2016 China Shenzhen Fintech Summit, the Fintech Pioneering Zone in Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Fund Town was inaugurated. The Fintech Pioneering Zone provides offices and facilities to fintech companies.

Already, a group of digital finance and fintech firms have been established in the location. These include Merchants Union Consumer Finance Co Ltd., a fintech company co-founded by China Merchants Bank and China United Telecommunications Co Ltd. The company offers products such as Haoqidai, Xinyongfu and Linglinghua, which provide customers an average of 6,000 yuan in personal loans without requiring any collateral or guarantee.

The Qianhai International Blockchain Ecosphere Alliance was launched in August 2016 to establish an efficient ecosystem for the development of blockchain technology and promote its application to support China’s social and economic development through the integration of the mainland and international resources including talents, technologies and capital.

Over 25 top enterprises and investment agencies were invited to join the alliance, including the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), ConsenSys, Blackridge, BlockApps, IDG, iSelect Fund, Struck Capital and 500 Startups.


Opening Ceremony of Qianhai International Blockchain Ecosphere Alliance, Photo Source: Qianhai International Blockchain Ecosphere Alliance, 2016-08-17

Qianhai has also begun establishing ties with foreign players. In 2017, the Qianhai administration entered into a partnership with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to develop and promote closer investment as well as financial innovation and collaborations for enterprises in Qianhai, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.

Part of the Qianhai administration’s plan is to promote innovation and partnership within the financial industry by relaxing currency flows between Qianhai and Hong Kong, spearhead the internationalization of Shenzhen’s capital market, and strengthen the partnership between securities markets in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Qianhai’s financial services aim to complement that of Hong Kong’s. Last year, the special economic zone topped the ranking of the country’s PFTZs in terms of policy innovation.

Qianhai also intends to be the leading force of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a key link of the Belt and Road Initiative and a major national strategy for China.

In February, the Chinese government released its blueprint for the Greater Bay Area. It seeks to turn the region into a world-class city cluster that houses an international innovation, science and technology hub, a series of interconnected financial markets, trade centers and smart cities, some of the world’s leading academic and research institutions, and an advanced manufacturing and IT powerhouse.

The Greater Bay Area includes major cities such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Macau for a combined population of about 70 million and GDP of over US$1.5 trillion.

Economic performance of cities in Greater Bay Area, by Caixin, February 2019

Economic performance of cities in Greater Bay Area, by Caixin, February 2019


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