APAC / Issue 1 2018 27 Chinese Bank Goes Global Proving Region’s Solid Financial Credentials As We Move into 2018 g provides a solid foundation with a lot of headroom for the development of the life insurance business. The transparent, well-thought-out and practical service policies put in place by the Qingdao municipal government provide strong support and meaningful guarantees for the development of foreign-invested companies here. Qingdao’s earlier period under German rule gave the citizenry a grounding in and a respect for German quality that lives on to this day, establishing the terrain for the smooth entry of the insurer into the Qingdao market. Qingdao leads the way in terms of financial development HSBC and Japan’s Yamaguchi Bank each set up a branch in Qingdao as early as 1992, becoming two of the earliest banks to enter the market. Three foreign-invested banks, including DBS and ANZ Bank, established operations in the city in 2015 following the city’s receiving of approval from the Chinese government in 2014 to establish the Wealth Management Financial Comprehensive Reform Pilot Area. As the home of the only such pilot area in the whole of China, Qingdao has been committed to providing investment opportunities for and expanding collaborations with international organizations and issued a three-year action plan for deepening cooperation with the world’s top 500 companies and global leaders. To date, 34 foreign-invested financial institutions have set up in Qingdao. In addition, 134 of the world’s top 500 companies have collectively invested in 264 projects in the city and 140 of China’s top 500 companies have 230 investment projects there. These results show that the local government’s efforts in promoting the development of the financial sector have paid off. Further strengthening the momentum that is already in place and building a financial industry chain The encouraging results affirm the local government’s unremitting efforts in attracting foreign investment and creating an ideal investment environment. Over the past few years, Qingdao has launched a series of policies to support regional economic development. Paid-in foreign investment showed a year on year gain of 10.3 per cent during the first three quarters of the year and is expected to reach US$7.7 billion for the year, accounting for 50 per cent of all foreign investment utilized by Shandong province. The city was ranked among the top eight in the overall foreign investment category among the 31 Chinese provinces and five Chinese cities with independent planning. In addition, accumulated value of the agreements signed by the city on outbound investments in 100 countries and regions worldwide stood at US$27.28 billion during the first three quarters of the year and is forecast to increase by another US$6 billion by the end of year, demonstrating the local government’s ongoing commitment to serving the real economy. The inclusive “Qingdao model” is the sum of the bilateral interactions between finance and the real economy that serve as one of the impetuses for the massive growth of the local financial sector. With the local government putting in place policies to boost the development of the financial sector and support the shift from a model that depended on traditional methods to one that embraces the new, the future for Qingdao looks promising in terms of continuing to attract foreign investment. Foreign- invested financial institutions that set up operations in Qingdao have played an important role in enhancing the city’s financial openness as they have helped build a comprehensive financial industry chain while providing strong support for the local real economy.