SHANGHAI, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Some 12,000 firms have been established in the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ) since its launch in late September last year, more than the number registered in the past 20 years in a bonded area that now forms part of the FTZ.
The surge in company registrations over the course of a year signals entrepreneurs' enthusiasm to establish a foothold in the 29-square-km zone in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai, lured by promises of free trade, greater financial opening and fewer government controls in business activities.
According to the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce, registered capital for newly founded entities in the Shanghai FTZ as of mid-September has exceeded 340 billion yuan. More than 40 percent of these new firms have a registered capital of no less than 10 million yuan.
A total of 192 foreign firms were founded in August, seven times as many as in the first month after the launch of the FTZ.
Retail firms account for 54 percent of all new firms while the number of financial institutions has risen to 520, including banks, brokerages and investment service firms. The FTZ also boasts 28 commercial factoring firms -- which buy account receivables at a discount from companies seeking to meet immediate cash needs -- and 303 financial leasing companies, 133 of which are foreign founded.
The Shanghai FTZ has streamlined procedures for business registration for both domestic and foreign firms. Officials with the FTZ's administrative committee have advertised that companies can obtain licenses to operate in the zone as fast as four days after applying, compared with an average of 29 days elsewhere in China. Foreign firms are also entitled to the speedy process as long as their business does not fall in the off-limit areas on the FTZ negative list.