There are 21 free trade zones in China (FTZ). Companies in the FTZ enjoy many profits, like lower corporate tax rates and fast customs clearance. In 2021, China’s 21 FTZs contributed 17.3% of China’s total foreign trade. This article discusses every free trade zone in China up to date.
What is a free trade zone?
Chinese Free Trade Zones, or Special Economic Zones, are a part of Chinese government policy introduced in 2013. They were created to attract foreign direct investment in those areas and boost the economy.
Why should you invest in China’s Free Trade Zone?
- simplified company registration
- streamlined port operations
- fast customs clearance
- no import tax (until goods are moved out of designated warehouse) and no export tax
- lower corporate tax rates
- transportation hub
- no currency exchange rate fee.
Free trade zones in China
Shanghai Free Trade Zone
The very first (pilot) Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) was launched in September 2013. It was a testing ground established to promote international trade and finance operations. It gears towards financial services, advanced manufacturing, technical innovation, and value-added telecom services.
It covers an area of about 240 sq km and is divided into areas:
- Waigaoqiao Free Trade Logistics Park
- Yangshan Free Trade Port Area
- Pudong Airport Comprehensive Free Trade Zone
- Shanghai Jinqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone
- Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park.
Guangdong Free Trade Zone
The Guangdong Free Trade Zone (GFTZ) is a special economic zone covering over 116 sq km of area. It promotes economic integration with Hong Kong and Macau. It focuses on financial services, technology services, advanced manufacturing, science, and education.
The GFTZ consists of three major cities in Guangdong province:
- Guangzhou: Nansha District, New Area and port
- Zhuhai: Hengqin District, New Area
- Shenzhen: Qianhai District, Development Zone.
Tianjin Free Trade Zone
The Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) is a special economic zone covering 120 sq km. It facilitates international trade and investment, especially the offshore financial markets. The TJFTZ is an important gateway for foreign businesses that want to expand in the Chinese market, mostly in aerospace and aviation, equipment manufacturing, cross-border financing and leasing, and IT sectors.
The TJFTZ is divided into:
- Airport Economic Area
- Dongjiang Free Trade Port Zone
- Binhai New Area Central Business District.
Fujian Free Trade Zone
The Fujian Free Trade Zone (FTZ) covers an area of approx. 118 sq km. The FTZ was established to promote international trade and economic development in the area. It serves as a gateway to Southeast Asia & Taiwan. It focuses on advanced manufacturing, financial services, tourism, and aviation logistics.
The Fujian Free Trade Zone (FTZ) is in three cities of Fujian province:
Chongqing Special Economic Zone
The Chongqing Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) is a special economic zone made up of several districts spanning over 120 sq km. It was established as an inland trade hub for BRI and Western Development. It excels in biotechnologies, financial services, advanced manufacturing, and e-commerce.
The CSEZ is located in:
- Liangjiang New Area
- Jiangjin District
- Bishan District.
Sichuan Free Trade Zone
Sichuan Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) is a special economic zone covering an area of 120 sq km. The SFTZ was established to encourage coordination for the opening up of Southwest. It is geared towards trade-related services, advanced manufacturing, medical services, IT, and telecommunications.
The zone is located along the “Belt and Road” initiative and is made up of:
- Chengdu Area
- Suining Area
- Luzhou Area.
Shaanxi Special Economic Zone
The Chinese government established Shaanxi Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) to attract foreign investment and promote regional economic development. The SSEZ covers an area of approximately 120 sq km. It strives to be a gateway to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The encouraged sectors are agriculture technology, advanced manufacturing, financial services, and e-commerce.
The Shaanxi Special Economic Zone spans across four cities:
Henan Free Trade Zone
The Henan Free Trade Zone (HFTZ) covers an area of approx. 120 sq km. The HFTZ is strategically located and aims to be BRI’s modern traffic and logistics hub. The Henan Free Trade Zone sectors include automobiles and robotics, biomedicine, cross-border e-commerce, and financial services.
Henan Free Trade Zone is made up of major cities in Henan province:
Zhejiang Free Trade Zone
The Zhejiang Free Trade Zone (ZFTZ) covers an area of approx. 120 sq km. The Zhejiang Free Trade Zone strives to be the ultimate maritime commerce center and tech innovation hub in the region. The sectors include oil and petrochemicals, e-commerce, intelligent manufacturing, AI, and fintech.
The ZFTZ spans across three cities in Zhejiang province:
Hubei Free Trade Zone
The Hubei Free Trade Zone is a high-tech hub for the Yangtze River Economic Belt. It covers an area of 120 sq km. The Hubei FTZ is geared towards financial services, advanced manufacturing, biomedicine, and new energy vehicles.
The Hubei Free Trade Zone consists of three areas:
Liaoning Special Economic Zone
The Liaoning Special Economic Zone, or Liaoning Free Trade Zone, was designated as a logistics and shipping center in the northeast. It excels in advanced manufacturing, auto vehicles and components, cross-border e-commerce, IT, and new technology.
The LSEZ covers an area of 120 sq km and consists of three sub‑zones:
Hainan Free Trade Zone
Hainan is to become a strategic hub of 21st century Maritime Silk Road. It extends across the whole island, an area of 33,900 sq km. The Hainan Free Trade Zone sectors include financial services, biomedicine and healthcare, clean energy, and education.
Jiangsu Free Trade Zone
The Jiangsu Free Trade Zone is a pioneering zone for a real and open economy. The JSFTZ is geared towards financial services, advanced manufacturing, biomedical science, and cross-border e-commerce.
The JSFTZ consists of three areas totaling almost 120 sq km:
- Nanjing Area
- Suzhou Area
- Lianyungang Area.
Shandong Free Trade Zone
The Shandong Free Trade Zone was established to boost trade with Japan and South Korea. It focuses on marine industries, green tech and biomedicine, financial services, and advanced manufacturing.
The Shandong FTZ spans across three cities and 120 sq km:
- Qingdao Free Trade Port Zone
Hebei Free Trade Zone
The Hebei Free Trade Zone is a new-type industrial base and innovation platform spanning across 120 sq km. The main objectives are equipment manufacturing, life science and biotech, aviation and airport economy, financial leasing, location, and more.
The Hebei FTZ consists of:
- Xiongan Area
- Zhengding Area
- Caofeidian Port Area
- Daxing Airport Area.
Heilongjiang Free Trade Zone
The Heilongjiang FTZ was launched to boost cooperation with Russia and Northeast Asia. It focuses on financial services, high-end equipment, next-generation IT, and biomedicine.
The HLJFTZ consists of three areas totaling 120 sq km:
Guangxi Free Trade Zone
The GXFTZ has an area of 120 sq km. It aims to be an international land and sea trade corridor for ASEAN. The main areas of interest are financial and digital services, new manufacturing, new-energy vehicle parts, and biomedicine.
The GXFTZ is in three cities in Guangxi province:
- Qinzhou port
Yunnan Free Trade Zone
The Yunnan Free Trade Zone was designated to be an opening-up frontier towards South Asia. The main objectives are advanced manufacturing, biomedicine and healthcare, cross-border e-commerce, and headquarters economy.
The YNFTZ consists of three areas totaling 120 sq km:
Beijing Free Trade Zone
The Beijing Free Trade Zone has an area of 120 sq km. It aims to be a world-class innovation hub focusing on financial services, fintech and digital trade, service trade innovation, and biotechnology.
The Beijing FTZ covers three sub‑zones:
- Sci‑Tech Innovation Area
- International Business Services Area
- High‑End Industries Area.
Anhui Free Trade Zone
The Anhui Free Trade Zone (Anhui FTZ) has an area of 120 sq km. The Anhui FTZ aims to develop new institutions to become more internationally competitive and innovative technological pioneer. It specializes in advanced manufacturing, smart cars, appliances financial services, fintech, AI & robotics.
The Anhui FTZ has three areas:
Hunan Free Trade Zone
The Hunan Free Trade Zone has an area of 120 sq km. The Hunan FTZ focuses on advanced manufacturing, new-generation IT, renewable energies, green tech, biomedicine, and agritech. Its objective is to be a cooperation frontier with Africa. Moreover, it takes advantage of the trade corridor that links the Yangtze River economic belt with the Guangdong‑Hong Kong‑Macao Greater Bay Area.
The Hunan FTZ is located in:
Should you invest in China?
The free trade zones are an opportunity to establish new commercial cooperation with Chinese entrepreneurs and deepen existing ones. In addition, there are several incentives offered by the zones to encourage foreigners to enter the Chinese market.
Remember that before you decide to invest in China, you should check if the company you want to cooperate with if it is trustworthy. We encourage you to verify your Chinese partner with the help of ExamineChina.