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China relaxes foreign ownership legislation

China is easing up foreign ownership laws in seven specific parts of its telecoms sector, among them app stores.

The move is indicative of China’s overall trend towards eventual liberalisation.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has stated that overseas firms will be able to offer five types of service freely, with no shareholding cap. These particular services are app stores, call centres, domestic multi-party communication, home internet access, and store-and-forward.

Foreign firms will also be able to take majority ownership of two other services – dealing analysis services and online data – but their holding must be no more than 55%. Any companies wishing to offer these services are required to register and operate out of the Shanghai free trade zone. There is no limit to where they can offer any of the services except home internet access, which is restricted to the free trade zone.

The MIIT has also approved the issue of MVNO licences in China, paving the way for increased service-level competition.


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