The municipal government approved a plan on April 6 that aims to cluster financial firms for small businesses on on the north riverfront’s Changdi Road (长堤大马路), a street once prosperous like The Bund in Shanghai.
According to Cai Jian, senior official of the government’s financial affairs office, the financial street is set to achieve three goals.
It should be a hub for the city’s high quality private financial firms and individual business sectors of banks; second it should focus on the financial service for small businesses and individuals, developing famous private financial firms; and third it should build a platform to collect and publicize information of these firms, seeking to establish a unified system of setting service charges and interest rates for private financial firms.
"The private financial street will not be limited to Changdi Road, but rather the area will include Yide Road (一德路)," Mayor of Guangzhou Chen Jianhua said. Yide Road is now concentrated of small businesses selling small commodities and dried seafood.
Following the government’s plan, the financial street will operate businesses offering like micro-loans, mortgages, pawn shops, banking, futures and securities, insurance and trading of precious metals and jewelry. It should be a supplement of business districts like Zhujiang New Town which mainly do business with sizeable enterprises.
The government would establish regulations for the financial street, and seeks to set a benchmark for interest rate and service charge levels based on analyzing and releasing the information of the firms, helping to legitimize private finance.
Changdi Road was the commercial center of the city from the 1920s to the 1990s. It gathered many major banks, large department stores and famous restaurants in the old days and it is still the regional headquarter of some banks and banking authorities.
"On the private financial street, pawn shops, mortgage companies and micro-loan companies can open business there, as well as the banks’ small business departments."said Ma Zhaocong, general manager of a micro-loan company. "The street can help private financial firms, which are regulated to do some business underground, become fully legitimate. It is helpful to make private finance more open, vitalized and regulated within the frame of law."
The government of Yuexiu District has founded the management company for the financial street. The company will be the sole agency to handle the maintenance and leasing affairs of the street’s properties. Regarding Changdi Road as one of the city’s historical architecture sites, the authorities have allocate a fund of over RMB 150 million to renovate the buildings and upgrade the infrastructure.
(By Lynus Tan and Stephen Roberts)