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China announces plans for Hainan free trade zone, to remove caps on NEV foreigner ownership

On October 16, China revealed the plans on turning the southern island province of Hainan into a free trade zone (FTZ), clearly saying that the caps on foreign ownership in the NEV (new energy vehicle) sector will be removed in the future.

As China’s first province that came up with the plan to ban sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, Hainan has been given a slew of policy supports from Chinese government, who has the resolution to promote NEVs across the country.

Shen Xiaoming, governor of Hainan Province, said at a sub-forum of 2018 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference that Hainan Provincial Government would formulate a plan to popularize clean energy vehicles by 2030 across the island and release the detail planning three months later.

He added that governmental agencies would take the lead on using NEVs that will be further extended to public-use vehicles, such as buses, taxis, and sanitation vehicles and finally private cars.

The State Council of China announced a guideline on April 14, delivering the intention to set up an FTZ in Hainan by 2020 and a free trade port there by 2025. In addition, the guideline also said China is going to explore new development modes of sharing economy on the island by conducting pilot programs in travelling, education and vocational training and gradually phase out the sales of fuel-burning vehicles.

On July 26, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and Hainan Provincial Government signed a strategic cooperation agreement to promote deep and comprehensive reform and opening up, saying both parties will build up a state-level all-region NEV application area and encourage the application of NEVs in the rental services of taxis and mini cars.

The quantity of relevant supporting facilities has been climbing with the development of NEVs. According to Hainan's NEV promotion target of the 13th five-year plan, Hainan targets to deploy more than 30,000 NEVs and build over 28,000 charging piles by the end of 2020. Till the end of 2017, Hainan's NEV population reached more than 15,000 units and the number of charging piles was 2,881 units.