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China Sets New Rules for Foreign Banks


China has introduced revised rules for foreign banks and an economic research report says Asia needs to promote cross-border flows of high-skilled professionals.

China's new rules for foreign banks require them to set up locally incorporated operations with capital of at least $127 million if they want to conduct retail business in the local currency, the yuan.

The regulations will take effect December 11, when China has to fully open its banking sector to foreign competition to fulfill its World Trade Organization obligations. Currently, foreign banks can only carry out yuan-denominated business with Chinese companies, not individuals. From next month, they will also be able to offer services to Chinese consumers.

A research report by British bank Standard Chartered says Asia is lagging behind in the global race to attract high-skilled foreign professionals.

Frances Cheung, an economist with the bank's Hong Kong office, says countries in the region mostly import low-cost labor. She says Asia needs to foster cross-border talent flows.

"If you look at the proportion of foreign professionals working for example in Hong Kong, only 10 percent of those foreign workers are professionals," saidn Cheung. "We think that the policy focus should be on attracting talent, especially against the backdrop of an aging population."

Japan's economy expanded faster than expected in the third quarter, growing at an annual pace of two percent. Gross domestic product grew for the seventh straight quarter, expanding half a percent from the previous three months. Growth was mainly boosted by robust corporate investment in factories and equipment.

In other news from Japan, the country's largest instant noodle maker, Nissin, has intervened to prevent smaller rival Myojo Foods from being swallowed up by a U.S. hedge fund [lightly regulated private fund with unconventional investment strategies]. Nissin will buy 33 percent of Myojo Foods to help the company fend off a hostile takeover bid by private equity fund Steel Partners. The hedge fund already holds a 23 percent stake in the noodle company.

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