Hong Kong continues to remain an important source of investment for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.[Special coverage]
Investors from the city have set up more businesses there than any other region or country, according to Li Wei, deputy general manager of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Group Co Ltd, developer and operator of the FTZ.
"Hong Kong tops the rankings of the number of enterprises established in the FTZ by investors from regions or foreign countries since its inauguration in 2013," Li said at a forum on June 8.
By the end of last year, figures showed that nearly 3,200 enterprises had been set up by Hong Kong investors since the FTZ was rolled out nearly four years ago. Taiwan province was a distant second with 456 enterprises while the United States was third with 419.
"Registered capital from Hong Kong was more than 0 billion by the end of last year, which was also the highest," Li said at a forum held by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in the run up to the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China on July 1.
"Japan was second in the rankings with .32 billion and Singapore was third with .28 billion," he added.
Hong Kong and Shanghai are vibrant financial centers and have close ties when it comes to services and trade.
Li pointed out that many collaborations go back more than a decade.
Links with the Hong Kong Standards and Testing Centre, which was established in 1963, were established in 2005 when a Shanghai branch was set up in the Waigaoqiao bonded zone.
This later became part of the free trade zone and now the HKSTC is one of the largest institutions in Shanghai to carry out testing in various industries, such as food, toys, digital products, fabrics and furniture.
"Since Shanghai FTZ increasingly uses testing results from third-party institutions, it (HKSTC) will continue to develop here," Li said.
Statistics from the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Group also showed that Hong Kong is a preferred destination for Chinese mainland investors.
There were 369 investment opportunities penciled in for Hong Kong on file with the Shanghai FTZ by the end of last year or one in three of all projects.
"The U.S. came second in that category with 18 percent," Li said.