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How's China's Opening to the Financial Sector Going?

Looking for company.

Looking for company.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Last year, China pledged to allow overseas financial firms greater access to the world’s second-largest economy. Then came the trade war with the U.S., raising concerns that President Xi Jinping could retaliate by going back on his vow. Xi now says the opening is steadily widening. But the take-up by foreign companies has been slow.

China’s regulator in April began allowing overseas firms to apply for majority stakes in securities and mutual-fund management ventures and promised to permit full control in three years. Draft rules to allow foreign companies to hold controlling stakes in insurance firms were published in May. Foreign-ownership caps on banks and bad-debt managers -- 20 percent for a single institution and 25 percent for a group -- were lifted in August.