(Yicai Global) July 18 -- The annual China (Qingdao) Wealth Forum has become a bellwether for China's wealth management industry since it was first held in 2014, and more than 1,400 representatives, including government officials, business leaders, and academics, participated in the fourth China (Qingdao) Wealth Forum held in Qingdao on June 17 and 18.
During the two-day forum, participants discussed a wide range of topics including financial innovation and risk management, financial technology and new ways of wealth management, how the financial industry can support the development of the manufacturing industry and the impact of newly released government supervision policies.
"The forum has become an important opening-up platform for the pilot wealth management zone launched by Qingdao," said Gong Zheng, governor of Shandong province. "And it is playing a significant role in supporting the stable and healthy development of Shandong's finance industry."
Qingdao obtained approval from the central government to build China's only national-level financial reform pilot zone focused on wealth management in February 2014. And the city has quickly becoming a rising star in the global financial industry, just three years after it obtained approval.
"Shandong is accelerating reforms in the financial sector," said Wang Luming, deputy mayor of Qingdao. "And Qingdao, a coastal city, is now known for its booming financial industry."
The added value of financial industry accounted for 7.5 percent of Qingdao's gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2017, a new high in the development of the city's financial sector.
The overall added value of the financial industry reached CNY66.88 Billion (USD9.88 Billion) in 2016, an increase of 12.8 percent year-on-year. The growth rate is 4.9 percentage points higher than the growth in Qingdao's gross domestic product in 2016.
The city was listed on the Global Financial Centre Index for the first time in April 2016, and it had risen from No 79 to No 46 by September. The index released in March ranked Qingdao No 38 globally.
"Residents in Shandong are known for being hardworking and frugal. The province's savings ratio is much higher than the global average," said Wang Shujian, deputy governor of Shandong, at the forum. "The demand for wealth management will huge in the coming years."
Wang pointed out four key tasks now Qingdao faces in developing the wealth management sector. More attention needs to be paid to serving local residents' growing wealth management demands, strengthening ties between the financial sector and the real economy, building wealth management brands and preventing risks.
Shandong is making efforts to replace its old economic growth drivers with new ones, and the provincial government hopes the wealth management industry can help its economic transformation process.
"Shandong is a big market for wealth management services," Wang said. "We hope to establish partnerships with wealth management institutions in sectors such as infrastructure, technology, culture, tourism, healthcare and elderlycare."
The Qingdao government is urged to pay more attention to wealth management brand building to maintain long-term growth of the sector.
"The wealth management industry in China is in its initial development stage. There are many areas that need to be explored," Wang said. "The pilot zone should learn from the global market and use its advantages to promote innovation."
Looking ahead, risk prevention will also be a key task of Shandong in wealth management sector.
Wang said Shandong will develop a wealth management supervision mechanism to ensure the stability of financial industry.