Shanghai ranked No. 6 in the 22th Global Financial Centres Index, up from 13th last time, and a report ranked the the city's insurance industry as No. 1 in the world for the first time.
The 22th Global Financial Centres Index report, newly released by Z/Yen Group, a British commercial think-tank and the China Development Institute, revealed that Shanghai ranked in the top 10 global financial centers for the first time.
"Generally speaking, Shanghai has made great efforts in building a global financial center, especially with huge improvements in the financial infrastructure construction and regulatory environments," said Mark Yeandle, lead writer of the GFCI report and vice president of Z/Yen.
The report showed that the overall scores of all the top 20 financial centers, including Shanghai, fell from six months ago. However, international financial experts were positive about the development of Shanghai as a financial center, which narrowed the gulf between Shanghai and the top 5 centers.
"Hong Kong and Singapore were the best global international centers in the Asia-Pacific region for several years before, way better than Shanghai," Yeandle said, adding that "with the constant opening of Chinese financial services, Shanghai is closing the gap rapidly."
Shanghai is narrowing the gap with Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo in developing a global financial center but Shanghai trails the other three cities in areas of business environment and reputation, the report said.
In fact the report recommended that Shanghai should persist in improving the business environment because research showed that the business environment is the most valued factor in professionals' evaluation of financial centers.
The report also highlighted Shanghai's insurance industry as No. 1 globally for the first time.
"This ranking represents the evaluation for Shanghai as a financial center from the experts of related industries, which means that specialists in the insurance industry are particularly positive about Shanghai," Yeandle said.
The report also suggested that Shanghai needs to promote the city globally that it has the capabilities to be a leading international financial center and publicize its progress as it transforms itself into one.
Also, Shanghai needs to provide various channels for capital and flow of high quality financial talents. The report also recommended that Shanghai continue to develop a transparent rule of law, timely information and an excellent business environment to reduce uncertainties in financial trading and thereby trim transaction costs.
"Shanghai has to follow the national strategies such as the yuan internationalization and the One Belt One Road initiative, (and) further strengthen collaboration with developed global financial centers," Yu Peng, senior researcher of the China Development Institute, said.
Yu also said that efforts should be made to open the finance industry wider to enhance the influence of Shanghai as a global financial hub.