Chinese passengers pose for photographs at London's Heathrow Airport, after the direct air route opened on Monday between Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and London.
China's deepening reform and ongoing opening-up is set to generate new opportunities for the shared development of China and the United Kingdom, and for the wider world, China's ambassador to the UK said on Tuesday.
Addressing British and Chinese representatives from business and media enterprises at a convention in Bloomberg's European headquarters, Liu Xiaoming reaffirmed China's commitment to further open up its economy to foreign investors, and to ease restrictions on entities doing business with China.
Underlining the pivotal role of China's reform and opening-up policy, which was adopted 40 years ago, Liu said the policy has enabled China to embrace the rest of the world with open arms. GDP has rocketed, from 5 billion in 1977 to trillion in 2017, registering a 68-fold increase at an average annual growth rate of 9.5 percent.
China's share of the world's GDP has also increased from 2 percent in 1977 to 15 percent in 2017.
Meanwhile, a total of 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, thanks to the reform policies that have now entered what the ambassador called the "deep water zone".
He said China's economic development has been achieved in an open market, and its future development requires an even greater openness of markets, so China will open even wider to the outside world.
He said more open-market access and more import facilities will further benefit foreign businesses enjoying opportunities brought by the Chinese market and by the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
"We will implement the opening-up measures in banking, securities, insurance and other parts of the service sector," he said, adding that the Chinese government will also raise the limit on foreign ownership of joint-venture companies in the automobile, shipbuilding, and aircraft sectors.
The Shanghai-London Stock Connect will be launched by the end of the year, the ambassador said, reiterating China's commitment to further open its financial industry to foreign companies and institutions.
Robust China-UK "golden era" relations have entered a new stage, Liu said, adding that the UK remains China's second-largest trading partner in the European Union.
The fact that China also stands as the UK's second-largest trading partner outside the EU has prompted the ambassador to call for a better dovetailing of both nations' development strategies.
He urged both nations to remain committed to international trading systems and to uphold globalization, while opposing protectionism. Both Beijing and London need to work together for steady and sustainable China-UK relations, he said.
Liu also suggested the UK's industries better harness their expertise and talent in finance, banking, fintech and other areas to tap into the "huge potential in economy and trade between China and the UK".