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26 Jan 2015


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New Opportunities in China for Online Businesses

In 2013 China established a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) pilot in Shanghai.  The zone extends for 29 square kilometers on the outskirts of Shanghai.  The zone allowed for the for foreign investment in industries such as finance, telecommunications, shipping, etc. 

Not all industries were permitted access to the Free Trade Zone.  Some 139 industries are still barred from foreign investment or are subject to stringent government approval before foreign investment is allowed.
After a visit to the FTZ by Premier Li Keqiang in September 2014 China decided to further open 27 sectors to foreign investors in the Shanghai FTZ.  The relaxing of restrictions include lowering the foreign investment threshold or allowing for wholly foreign-owned enterprises.  These industries include transportation, manufacturing of certain items, inport/export, wholesale and distribution, engineering services, oil exploration, lumber, luxury cruise ships and yachts, aircraft maintenance, photography services, etc.

However, the one change that stood out is the one that will probably be the most attractive to small businesses since many startups are online businesses.  Mail orders and online sales of general goods is no longer a restricted industry for foreign investors.  This means that foreign companies can setup their online businesses in the FTZ without having to form a joint venture with a local chinese entity in order to do business in the country.

This is an opportunity for online businesses to tap into the Chinese market and expand their customer base.
You can find more details of the changes by visiting Mondaq.

Miller Canfield

By Jack River














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