The Straits Times
Published on Oct 10, 2012

China amends regulations on banking, websites


BEIJING - China removed or amended 314 administrative regulations covering industries from banking to online retailers as the government seeks to increase the ease of doing business in the world's second-biggest economy.

The changes announced by the State Council, China's cabinet, include removing a requirement for branches of foreign banks in the country to seek permission from the China Banking Regulatory Commission to change addresses. Foreign shareholders in Chinese banks also no longer need the approval of China's foreign exchange regulator to remit dividends abroad, according to a statement posted to the central government's website, Bloomberg reported.

The goal of the reforms is for the government to "exit" all areas where individuals and companies are able to make their own decisions, the State Council said in its statement. These latest amendments, part of a campaign that began in 2001 to boost the efficiency of government, comes as economic growth in China was the slowest in three years in the second quarter.

"It's a long-running battle for the Chinese government to cut red-tape," said Mao Shoulong, a public policy and politics professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing. "It's getting harder because those easy-to-reform items have been reformed, but it also means the serious reforms are coming to bring real benefits to individuals and companies."