Chinese Vice Premier Huang Ju on Wednesday promised sustained support for Hong Kong banks in the Chinese mainland in a meeting with a group of HK banking executives in Shanghai.
"The central government will continue to support Hong Kong banks to expand their businesses in the Chinese mainland," said Huang, a high ranking Communist Party official.
"It is essential to enhance the financial cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. This will guarantee the lasting prosperity of Hong Kong's economy," Huang said.
The vice premier told the group, headed by Joseph Yam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, that the mainland will also cooperate more with HK's banking regulatory body to ensure the smooth operation of Hong Kong banks on the mainland.
Huang said the central government would push forward financial reforms and gradually open the financial sector to the outside world.
Under China's commitment to World Trade Organization (WTO), the country will fully open its banking sector to foreign banks by the end of this year.
Last week, China's State Council approved in principle the draft of a set of regulations on the administration of foreign-funded banks.
They are designed to help establish a platform for fair competition between Chinese and foreign banks, experts said.
Foreign banks which choose to incorporate their business locally and set up a subsidiary in China, will be able to provide RMB business services to Chinese individual customers and issue bank cards, the regulations said.