Shanghai has steadily improved its core functions as a financial center over the past decade, with the financial market and infrastructure systems being optimized step by step.

The total turnover of the city’s financial market rose to 2.511 quadrillion yuan ($352.980 billion) in 2021 from 528 trillion yuan in 2012, according to Xin Yadong, secretary of the Shanghai Financial Labor Party Committee.

Its ability to allocate yuan financial assets continues to grow, with Shanghai’s cross-border yuan trade settlement volume accounting for about half of the national total.

Over the past 10 years, the city’s financial reform and opening up have been pushed further, which has strongly supported the development of the real economy, Xin said.

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and its Lingang New Zone, with their pioneering role in piloting reform policies, have achieved significant results in financial openness innovation.

For example, the free zone has created a system of free trade accounts and launched a pilot reform of foreign exchange management for a higher level of openness in cross-border trade and investment.

In addition, new breakthroughs were made in financial market connectivity, with the smooth operation of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, the Bond Connect and the Shanghai-London Stock Connect.

The scale of direct financing has steadily expanded, with the volume of direct financing in the city’s financial market increasing from 3.9 trillion yuan in 2012 to 18.3 trillion yuan in 2021.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange’s STAR Market, meanwhile, has played its role as a testing ground for innovation and reform.

By the end of September this year, 473 companies were listed on the STAR Market, collectively raising 718.18 billion yuan in funds and displaying a total market value of 5.5 trillion yuan.

Shanghai’s financial institution system has become increasingly sound over the past decade, leading the country in financial openness.

The number of licensed financial institutions in the city had increased to 1,719 at the end of June, from 1,227 at the end of 2012, with foreign institutions accounting for around 30%.

The city has also stepped up efforts to cultivate and attract more international financial talent, with the total number of people employed in Shanghai’s financial sector reaching 470,000.

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