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Shanghai Unveils Financial Blueprint
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Shanghai has laid down ambitious plans to strengthen its position as an international financial center.


According to a blueprint unveiled yesterday for the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10), the city will capture at least 25 percent of the nation's funding business including stocks and bonds.


The plan highlights four main elements in the development framework. The first involves establishing a world-renowned financial market system, in which both domestic and foreign investors can participate.


By the end of 2010 the city's monetary market is expected to have a trading volume of 80 trillion yuan (US$10.2 trillion). At the end of October this year, the figure was 46 trillion yuan (US$5.48 trillion) and in 2005 it was 34 trillion (US$4.33 trillion).


According to the blueprint, the authorities also hope to build Shanghai Futures Exchange Market into one of the world's top 10.


The second task is creating a diversified banking system, in which both domestic and foreign financial institutions with international competitiveness can grow together.


By 2010 the deposit balance for Shanghai's banks will reach 4.5 trillion yuan (US$573.4 billion). The figure was 2.3 trillion yuan (US$293.1 billion) at the end of last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.


Loan balance will reach 3.2 trillion yuan (US$407.7 billion) in 2010, jumping from over 1.6 trillion yuan (US$203.9 billion) last year, according to reports by Xinhua News Agency.


The third task is building a trading center for innovative financial products to meet China's economic development needs.


According to the plan Shanghai will greatly encourage financial reform such as Internet banking and securities.


By 2010 more than 70 percent of stores in the city will be able to handle banking card consumption. This is up from about 50 percent last year. Banking card consumption will account for more than 40 percent of the total retail sales in 2010 while it was 32 percent in 2005, Xinhua reported.


The fourth major task is ensuring a healthy regulatory environment that complies with internationally accepted standards.


Experts agree that Shanghai needs to take steps to develop its financial markets.


"The percentage of funds raised directly in the capital market is small compared to bank borrowings," said Gao Yuan, a stock analyst at Guangda Securities. "It's very necessary for China and Shanghai to develop the capital market to meet the demand for development funds of rapidly-expanding enterprises."


"The building of Shanghai as an international financial center doesn't start from today. It began years ago," said Cao Xiao, a professor of financing at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.


"Shanghai has undergone years of preparation for this objective and now everything is almost ready," Cao added. "Shanghai will very likely become an international financial center with its focus on the trading of Renminbi products."


(China Daily November 28, 2006)


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