This undated photo shows an aerial view of the 599-meter Ping An International Finance Centre in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. (WU LUPING / CHINA DAILY)
BEIJING – Despite COVID-19 flare-ups and increasing downward pressures on the economy, multiple global financial institutions have increased their presence or plan to do so in the Chinese market, casting a vote of confidence in the prospects of the world's second-largest economy.
Six asset management companies recently got the green light to join Qualified Foreign Limited Partner or Qualified Domestic Limited Partner, both pilot programs offering easier access to China's fund markets.
After the approval, Hamilton Lane, a leading private market investment firm, will become the first to set up a secondary fund through the QFLP program in Shanghai, and BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, will emerge as the first wholly-foreign-owned public offering fund participating in the QDLP program.
China also remains staunch in opening up. Its renewed efforts range from fully implementing the negative list for foreign investment, expanding the encouraging investment catalog, improving services for investment promotion, to adding more cities to the pilot program of opening the service sector
Hu Ning, managing partner of CDH Investments, a global investment firm also on the list, said the company is optimistic about long-term US dollar fund investment in China and is attracted by Shanghai's high-level opening-up policies.
"Chinese assets can not only achieve steady growth thanks to the domestic real economy but gradually play the role of safe-haven assets in the global markets," Hu said.
Founded in 2002, CDH Investments focuses on long-term investments such as pensions, endowments and insurance funds.
The expanded investment programs in Shanghai signaled an unchanged trend of investing in China, as lingering global uncertainty and volatility further underlined the country's significance to businesses around the world.
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Braving economic headwinds, China's gross domestic product registered a forecast-beating increase of 4.8 percent from a year ago in the first quarter this year, offering precious stability in an unstable world.
The country also remains staunch in opening up. This year, its renewed efforts range from fully implementing the negative list for foreign investment, expanding the encouraging investment catalog, improving services for investment promotion, to adding more cities to the pilot program of opening the service sector.
The stable and open China has lured a number of international businesses to channel more energy to their business here.
Pan Swee-ting, JAFCO Asia's China head, looks forward to evening more opportunities in China's transition to high-quality development in the future after miraculous economic growth over the past four decades. The financial company has recently increased its investment quota under the QFLP program.
"Over the past two years, the pandemic has had a major impact on economic activities around the world. But thanks to effective controls, China has maintained normal production and further strengthened its position in the world's industrial chain," Pan said.
While COVID-19 variants brought new challenges, Pan believes China can strike a balance between epidemic controls and economic development.
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The State Administration of Foreign Exchange confirmed earlier this month that China continued to see cross-border capital net inflows in April, with the supply and demand of the domestic foreign exchange market still balanced.
China has strong economic resilience and great potential and its sound long-term fundamentals will not change, Wang Chunying, the administration's deputy head, said.
A survey conducted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade showed last month that the majority of foreign companies in China still see the country as one of their main strategic markets, despite challenges to their businesses triggered by COVID-19 resurgences. Some 86 percent of the respondents are satisfied with China's policies on stabilizing foreign investment.
With China's unwavering opening-up, global companies will continue to share its development dividends in the future.
BlackRock has operated in China for over 15 years. "We believe in and keep a long-term optimistic attitude to the potential and resilience of the Chinese market," Tony Tang, head of BlackRock's China operations, said.