Chinese individuals in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) may soon be allowed to invest directly in overseas markets for the first time as part of a government test, Reuters said Wednesday.
Jointly proposed by the Shanghai government, China’s central bank and regulators, the Qualified Domestic Individual Investor program, or QDII2, is expected to promote capital account convertibility and greater international use of the yuan.
The FTZ is the first Hong Kong-like free trade area in mainland China. When first announced, Premier Li Keqiang said he wanted to make the zone a snapshot of how China can upgrade its economic structure. The Shanghai FTZ will first span 28.78 square km in the city’s Pudong New Area, including the Waigaoqiao duty-free zone and Yangshan port, according to the South China Morning Post. It may eventually expand to cover the entire Pudong district, which covers 1,210.4 sq km of land.
Sources told Reuters that after two years of preparations the program will be launched in the first half of this year.
Under the plan qualified individuals would be able to invest in overseas markets without foreign exchange restrictions, but regulators may set a combined limit for how much these investors could trade outside China. Individuals would be required to offer certificates of their income to prevent potential money laundering or illegal transfers of assets, the sources told Reuters.
Last month, the Chinese government approved the formation of three more free trade zones — in the city of Tianjin, southeastern Fujian province, and southern Guangdong province.