FTZ attracts 700 firms, 60% in trading

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About 700 domestic and foreign companies have been approved for the free trade zone in Shanghai's Pudong New Area since it opened on September 29, officials said Wednesday.

Around 60 percent of them are trading enterprises while 30 percent are service companies, said Dai Haibo, deputy director of the zone's administrative committee.

Meanwhile, financial institutions only account for 1 percent of the companies that are registered in the 28.78-square-kilometer FTZ.

The newly-opened companies in the FTZ include around 50 from abroad, most of whom benefited from the innovative "negative list" policy, Dai said.

China has adopted a negative list of 190 items or sectors, in which foreign companies are still barred from investing in. They can do business in any sectors not included in the list.

The committee has also made it easier for Chinese enterprises operating in the FTZ to invest overseas by simplifying the approval to only five days.

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp is the first firm to benefit and will launch a 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million) project in South Africa.

The FTZ is seen as a key reform as China reorients the world's second-largest economy to a consumption-driven model from one relying on exports and investments.

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