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

OLY-2008-CHN-BEIJING

Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

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China pledged in late 2017 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 says the opening is steadily widening. But the take-up by foreign companies has been slow.

China’s regulator in April 2018 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.