China to allow foreign firms to fully-own e-commerce ventures in Shanghai’s FTZ

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China is loosening regulations in a pilot scheme allowing foreign investors to fully own e-commerce companies in Shanghai’s free trade zone.

Previous to these changes, foreign investors were required to have a Chinese joint-venture partner in order to operate an e-commerce firm in the area.

The pilot scheme could make it simpler for overseas companies to enter this highly competitive market, where foreign firms continue to struggle against the likes of Alibaba and JD.com. eBay pulled out of China in 2006, losing a long battle with Alibaba, and Amazon still only holds a sliver of the market.

Telecommunications authorities in Shanghai will regulate the scheme and the foreign investors, Reuters reported, citing a report from China’s Xinhua news agency.

China has been relaxing regulations and implementing reforms in the free trade zone since its launch in 2013 in an attempt to boost China’s e-commerce industry

Amazon announced plans to set up shop in the Shanghai free trade zone in August, where it hopes to benefit from less stringent trade regulations to sell a wider range of products in the country.

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