Shanghai has set its sights on becoming a globally competitive fintech hub in five years, according to a new action plan released by the municipal financial regulator on Wednesday, including initiatives to ramp up research and development of technologies like blockchain and 5G.

Why it matters: In a bid to compete with global financial centers such as New York and London, China has been promoting the development of fintech applications like mobile payments, internet financial services, and a digital fiat currency in Shanghai and other major cities.

  • In October, the country’s central bank introduced a series of new measures to promote fintech development in Shanghai and the surrounding Yangtze River Delta region.

Details: Shanghai Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau announced an action plan on Wednesday to become an international financial tech hub in five years.

  • The five-year plan laid out 25 major tasks covering five key areas including ramping up research, pushing for regulatory schemes and subsidies, and introducing preferential financial and tax policies to attract financial services and tech companies.
  • One of the five key tasks is to promote Shanghai as a global hub for financial technology, for which the government is partnering Chinese tech giants like Ant Financial and Alibaba.
  • The Shanghai government also pledged to foster 20 fintech startups in the next five years and incubate 50 fintech projects.

Context: Shanghai has long been regarded as the financial hub of China and is home to fintech unicorns including Ping An-backed online lender Lufax and peer-to-peer platform Dianrong.

  • A recent survey on global financial centers named Shanghai and Beijing at the top of a the list of cities ranked best for fostering a fintech industry in a study of global financial centers, Four of the top five are in China.

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email:

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