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China allows higher foreign stakes in securities firms

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BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- China's securities watchdog on Tuesday allowed overseas investors to hold higher stakes in the country's securities firms, its latest effort to relax controls on foreign investment in the financial industry.

Overseas investors can now hold stakes as high as 49 percent in joint-venture securities firms, compared with an investment cap of a third of those companies' equities previously imposed, according to a statement issued by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

At least one domestic investor should own a stake of no lower than 49 percent in such joint venture securities firms, but the restriction does not apply to listed securities firms, the CSRC said.

The policy change took effect on Tuesday and came after other steps taken by China to further open its financial markets and ease restrictions on foreign investors.

In July, the country lowered its threshold for qualified foreign institutional investors and allowed them to hold up to a 30-percent stake in a listed company, up from the previous 20-percent stake cap.

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