An aerial view of the Lingang Special Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Shanghai. (Photo by Gao Erqiang/chinadaily.com.cn)
Although the COVID-19 epidemic has caused unprecedented impact across all industries, economic growth in Shanghai's Lingang Special Area has not slowed down, said Zhu Zhisong, executive deputy director of Lingang Special Area Administration, during a news conference on Aug 13.
Lingang Special Area, a new expansion to the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, will celebrate its first birthday on Aug 20.
During the first seven months of this year, the total fixed asset investment registered in Lingang rose 32.8 percent year-on-year, while the total industrial output increased by 26 percent from a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the deepened reforms carried out in Lingang has helped attract more resources and investment. A total of 358 projects have been signed so far, with the total investment value amounting to 271.3 billion yuan ($39 billion).
Industry leaders such as the STAR Market-listed Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co Ltd and Wuxi Apptec Co Ltd have also agreed to make investments in Lingang, which has often been touted as the new frontline of China's reform and opening-up.
The opening-up of the financial sector has also proven to be a boon for Lingang's development, said Li Jun, deputy head of Shanghai Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau. For example, the Shanghai head office of the People's Bank of China had in early March started to offer a favorable policy regarding cross-border renminbi settlement for companies. By the end of June, 66 companies based in Lingang have benefited from the policy.
In addition, companies specializing in strategic emerging industries are provided with a 2-percent discount for bank loans. In early May, French investment bank Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and the Bank of China joined hands to launch a wealth management company in Lingang. This company is also the first foreign-controlled wealth management company in China.
Zhu Min, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission, said that Lingang has a special role to play in the country's new development pattern which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while allowing domestic and foreign markets to boost each other.
He noted that Lingang can also help to lead the upgrading of local companies while bridging the domestic and overseas markets.