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China Eases Limits on Foreign Stakes in Financial Firms

中国放宽对金融机构外资所有权限制

BEIJING — Hours after President Trump left China with a warning about its trade practices, Beijing threw him — and Wall Street — a bone.

北京——特朗普总统离开中国时留下了对中国贸易做法的警告,几小时后,北京给了他和华尔街一点小甜头。

The Chinese government said on Friday that it would relax or remove a broad range of limits on foreign ownership of banks and securities firms. The move could inject a little foreign know-how into a vast financial system that helped fuel China’s economic rise but that in recent years has become burdened with debt, bubbles and inefficiencies.

中国政府上周五表示,将大范围地放宽或取消对外资拥有银行和证券公司所有权的限制。此举可能会给中国庞大的金融系统注入一点外国实际经验,中国的金融系统对推动中国经济崛起有过帮助,但近年来,债务、泡沫和低效率已成为这个系统的沉重负担。

Foreign firms may not rush in right away. Global financial institutions have been cautious about investing in China, partly because they would be required to buy mostly Chinese-made telecommunications equipment for their operations here and to store financial data here as part of the country’s tough new cybersecurity laws.

外国公司可能不会马上涌入。全球金融机构一直对在中国投资持谨慎态度,部分原因是,为了在这里开展业务,这些机构将被要求主要购买中国制造的电信设备,而且需要将金融数据存放在中国,这是中国严格的新网络安全法要求的一部分。

去年,上海金融区。中国政府上周五表示,将放宽或取消对外资拥有银行和证券公司所有权的限制。

Mike Nelson/European Pressphoto Agency

去年,上海金融区。中国政府上周五表示,将放宽或取消对外资拥有银行和证券公司所有权的限制。

Still, the Chinese initiative could help Beijing rally political support from Wall Street banks and securities firms, which have profited from fees on Chinese purchases of American companies but have long been limited in what they could do inside China.

尽管如此,中国的这一举措可能会帮助北京争取到华尔街银行和证券公司政治上的支持,这些银行已从中国并购美国公司的费用上获得利润,但它们长期以来一直在中国境内能做的事情上受限制。

China could use some friendly faces in Washington. In addition to Mr. Trump’s comments about unfair trade during his visit to Beijing this week, Republicans in the House and Senate introduced legislation with strong Trump administration support that would ratchet up considerably the federal government’s scrutiny of Chinese acquisitions of companies in the United States.

中国在华盛顿需要有些持友好态度的人。除了特朗普在上周访问北京期间提到了不公平贸易之外,众议院和参议院的共和党人还在国会提出了可能会加大联邦政府对中国收购美国公司审查的立法议案,得到了特朗普政府的大力支持。

Goldman Sachs Group praised the Chinese move, saying, “We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to playing a greater role in China’s capital markets.”

高盛集团(Goldman Sachs Group)赞扬了中国的举措。高盛表示:“我们欢迎今天的宣布,并期待在中国资本市场发挥更大的作用。”

China keeps tight limits on a number of industries it considers vital, including energy, transportation, the media and financial services. Companies in the United States, Europe and Japan have increasingly complained about being limited in those markets or shut out entirely, even as Chinese companies make their own investments in similar industries outside its borders. In many cases, Beijing’s limits have given rise to Chinese giants who dominate markets at home.

中国对其认为至关重要的一些行业保持着严格的限制,这些行业包括能源、交通、媒体和金融服务。美国、欧洲和日本的企业对它们参与这些市场受到限制、或根本不能参与的抱怨越来越多,与此同时,中国企业却能在境外的类似行业进行投资。在许多情况下,北京对外企的限制已导致几家中国巨头在国内市场上占据了主导地位。

Officials in Beijing had previously said the government would open the financial sector to outside money, but Friday’s move offered the first concrete details.

北京的官员此前曾表示,政府将向外资开放金融行业,但周五的宣布首次提供了有关具体细节。

Zhu Guangyao, China’s vice finance minister, said that his country would start allowing foreign investors to own 51 percent of Chinese securities firms, fund managers and futures companies, and would allow them to own 100 percent three years from now. The current limit on foreign ownership is 25 percent for large, publicly traded securities firms and 49 percent for most other businesses in these categories.

中国财政部副部长朱光耀说,中国将开始允许外国投资者持有中国证券公司、基金管理和期货公司51%的股权,并在三年内允许他们拥有100%的股权。目前,对大型上市证券公司的外资持股上限是25%,对这些行业的其他大多数企业的外资持股上限是49%。

Mr. Zhu said that China would also raise the allowed foreign investment in insurance companies, currently 50 percent for most companies, to 51 percent in three years and 100 percent in five years. China also plans to eliminate its current limit of 25 percent foreign ownership in banks, Mr. Zhu said, but he did not say when it might happen.

朱光耀说,中国还将提高外资对保险公司的投资上限,目前对大多数保险公司的外国投资上限是50%,三年内将提高到51%,五年内提高到100%。朱光耀说,中国还打算取消目前对外资持有的银行股份不超过25%的限制,但他没有说什么时候会取消。

While the moves were announced several hours after Mr. Trump and his advisers flew to Vietnam, Mr. Zhu said that the initiatives were the result of decisions made during the Communist Party’s congress last month. Trump administration officials shied away from making commitments while in Beijing over market access, the sort of horse-trading that marked previous presidential visits. They have also been distracted by domestic issues and other trade issues.

虽然这些措施是在特朗普和他的顾问飞往越南几小时之后宣布的,但朱光耀说,采取这些措施的决定是在上个月的党代会上做出。特朗普政府官员在北京时不愿就市场准入问题做出承诺,而在以往的总统访问时有过这种讨价还价。特朗普政府官员也被国内问题和其他贸易问题分散了注意力。

Some international banking acumen may be welcome in China. The country’s state-controlled banking system has lent heavily to state-owned companies and affiliates of local governments, leading to vast piles of debt accumulated in a short amount of time. Meanwhile, some smaller businesses continue to complain about lack of access to money. Increased competition could spur state-owned banks to improve their lending decisions.

中国可能会欢迎国际银行的一些商业头脑。中国受国家控制的银行体系一直在对国有企业和与地方政府有关的企业大肆放贷,导致在很短的时间内积累了大量债务。与此同时,一些中小的企业却仍在抱怨无法获得资金。竞争的加剧可能会促使国有银行改进其贷款决策。

“Speaking over all, it is a good thing,” said Liu Dongliang, an analyst at China Merchants Bank. “There will be more different kinds of capital involved, and their management ideas and risk control ideas may arouse some reaction.”

“总的来说,这是一件好事,”招商银行分析师刘东亮说。“将会有更多不同种类的资本参与进来,这些资本管理的理念和风险控制理念都可能会引起一些反应。”

American financial institutions cautiously welcomed the Chinese move. Citibank said that its existing operations in China were already growing, with more than $1 billion a year in China-related revenue, and that it wanted to study the details of the new regulations when they were released.

美国金融机构对中国此举表示谨慎欢迎。花旗银行(Citibank)说,其在中国的现有业务已在增长,每年已有超过10亿美元的营收与中国业务有关,花旗希望在新规定公布之后对其细节进行研究。

China promised when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 that it would rapidly open up its financial markets to foreign competition. Foreign commercial banks were then disappointed when Chinese regulators set high capital requirements for each foreign bank branch, limiting their ability to expand.

中国在2001年加入世界贸易组织时曾承诺,会迅速将国内金融市场对国外竞争开放。那之后,中国监管机构对外资银行在华开分行设定了很高的资本金要求,限制了它们的扩张能力,这让外国的商业银行感到失望。

But the rise of online banking has reduced the need for bank branches, and so has the rise of electronic payments. Over the past couple of years, Citibank has been gradually closing some of its retail branches in China, as it has done in the United States. According to the bank, 95 percent of its retail banking transactions now take place outside bank branches.

但网上银行的兴起降低了对银行分行的需求,电子支付的兴起也有同样的作用。在过去的几年里,花旗银行已在逐渐关闭其设在中国的零售支行,就像它在美国所做的那样。根据花旗银行的说法,其零售银行业务的95%目前都是在支行以外进行的。

Yet foreign banks hold just 1.5 percent of the assets in China’s credit-swollen banking system. State-owned banks have flooded credit markets with so many loans that finding large, financially stable, creditworthy borrowers has become harder in China, forcing newcomers to enter the treacherous market of providing loans to smaller enterprises at a time when the entire Chinese economy is gradually slowing.

然而,外资银行在中国信贷膨胀的银行体系中仅持有1.5%的资产。国有银行已将如此大量的贷款投放到信贷市场中来,以至于在中国找到大的财务稳定、信誉良好的借款方已变得更加困难,这就迫使新来者在整个中国经济逐渐放缓的时候,步入向中小企业提供贷款的危险市场。

China’s financial markets have a reputation for fraud and manipulation, particularly the stock market. Increasing the role of foreign firms in these markets could help introduce overseas practices that might limit misconduct.

中国的金融市场有欺诈和操纵的恶名,尤其是股市。增加外国公司在这些市场中的作用,有助于引入可能限制不当行为的海外做法。

Asset management companies have already been expanding their role in China, and the new rules announced by Mr. Zhu could speed that process. Peter L. Alexander, the founder and managing director of Z-Ben Advisors, a Shanghai financial consulting firm, said that because Chinese investors tended to have large holdings in relatively simple money market funds and had not yet shown much interest in purchasing exchange-traded funds, “there’s an opportunity for active managers.”

资产管理公司已经在扩大它们在中国的作用,朱光耀宣布的新规则可能会加快这个进程。上海金融咨询商泽奔商务咨询有限公司(Z-Ben Advisors)创始人兼常务董事张磊德(Peter l. Alexander)说,由于中国投资者在相对简单的货币市场基金中持有大量资产,但还没对在交易所交易的基金表现出购买兴趣,“中国对主动基金的管理者来说是一个机会。”

Mr. Zhu also repeated on Friday a Chinese pledge made late Thursday to ease joint-venture requirements for electric cars and other so-called new energy vehicles that may be built in China’s free-trade zones. Unlike any other large car manufacturing nation, China requires either that all cars sold within its borders be assembled in a 50-50 joint venture with a local partner or that an import tax of at least 25 percent be paid, plus a range of other taxes.

朱光耀上周五还重申了中国政府周四晚间做出的一项承诺,即放宽对可能在中国的自由贸易区制造电动汽车和其他所谓新能源汽车的合资企业的要求。与其他汽车制造大国不同的是,中国要求在其境内销售的所有汽车都必须由至少是当地合作伙伴与外商各持股50%的合资企业制造,否则这些汽车需交付至少25%的进口税以及一系列的其他税。

Tesla has sought and apparently obtained permission to have a wholly owned factory in a free-trade zone in Shanghai, and is still working out other details, like whether cars made in the zone will qualify for electric car subsidies that China currently provides only to domestically produced cars.

特斯拉(Tesla)一直在上海自由贸易区寻求拥有自己的独资工厂,并显然已得到了许可,但相关的细节仍有待解决,比如在自贸区生产的汽车是否符合电动汽车补贴的要求,中国目前只给国内生产的电动汽车提供补贴。

欢迎在Twitter关注本文作者Keith Bradsher:@KeithBradsher

Ailin Tang对本文有研究贡献。

翻译:Cindy Hao

点击查看本文英文版。

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