CDFW Insights | Promote the Innovative Development of the Western China Financial Centre with International Experience

Chengdu Finance Week, co-hosted by Chengdu Municipal Local Financial Regulation Bureau and Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone Administrative Committee, and organized by China Innovation Finance Institute, and supported by IFC•IIC Federation, officially kicked off on November 19, 2023, in Chengdu. Guests from government organs, regulatory authorities, embassies and consulates, business associations, financial institutions, international organizations, and research think tanks in China, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain attended the opening ceremony.

With the theme of “Finance Empowers Sustainable Innovation, Investment Advances Inclusive Growth,” this year’s Chengdu Finance Week focused on the construction of the Western China Financial Centre and the improvement of the Belt and Road financial services. This event served as a platform to conduct financial innovation exchanges, international investment promotion, and cross-border investment and financing connection, in order to achieve a large number of significant cross-border investment and financing projects, as well as facilitate practical and in-depth cooperation between Chengdu and other Belt and Road international financial centres in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Moreover, special reports like Rise Beyond Wealth: Global Sovereign Wealth Funds” and “Sustainable Growth: International Financial Centres and the ESG Investment” were also launched during the opening ceremony.



H.E. WANG Qian, Vice Mayor of Chengdu Municipal People’s Government, stated that Chengdu is a “Charming City” with a rich history, an “Open City” with inclusiveness, and a “Dynamic City” with rapid financial development. In recent years, Chengdu has made significant achievements in developing itself into a financial centre. In the first three quarters of 2023, Chengdu achieved the value added by the financial industry of 197.41 billion yuan, accounting for 12.3% of the city’s GDP. According to the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), Chengdu ranks 44th globally and 6th among Chinese mainland cities. The 2022-2023 Financial Reform and Innovation Index for China’s Pilot Free Trade Zones shows that Chengdu ranks 4th nationwide. Vice Mayor Wang extended an invitation to experts, scholars, financial organizations, and enterprises, hoping that they would give more valuable insights into the financial development of Chengdu and that financial organizations and enterprises would share the benefits of urban development together with Chengdu.


H.E. Renat Bekturov, Governor of Astana International Financial Centre, indicated that the partnership between China and Kazakhstan remains unbreakable and sustainable. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and others in Kazakhstan, fostering significant progress in trade, infrastructure construction, and cultural exchange between the two nations. Looking back on this remarkable journey, the western region of China, serving as a vital gateway for the BRI, has become an important hub connecting various countries. The Astana International Financial Centre, located in the heart of Kazakhstan, has also made significant contributions to the development of bilateral relations.


H.E. Barnabás Virág, Deputy Governor of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank, pointed out that the Hungarian government has recognized the enormous potential of the rising Oriental economies. Therefore, the Hungarian government announced its “Eastern Opening” strategy in 2010 and signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Belt and Road Cooperation with China in June 2015, becoming the first European country to establish a working group on the BRI with China. These two measures are closely integrated to facilitate cooperation between countries and regions. Due to the emphasis on cross-continental collaboration, Hungary and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have become a crucial area in 21st-century geopolitics and a significant hub connecting Asia and Europe.

Currently, China is undergoing a transition towards value-added industries, aligning with such global trends as digitalization and sustainable development. It also possesses many technologies crucial for long-term sustainable economic transition, including green clean technologies, electric vehicles, advanced robotics, biotechnology, green finance, and central bank digital currency. China and the European Union (EU) are standing at a crossroads of global economy and diplomacy, which highlights the significance of their relationship. China-EU partnership is not only beneficial bilaterally but also a key factor in maintaining the competitiveness of the EU on the global stage. Hungary, as the intellectual hub of CEE, plays a pivotal role in facilitating the exchange of expertise, ideas, and disruptive technologies.


H.E. Roland Reiland, Ambassador of Luxembourg to China, expressed that Luxembourg, one of the most dynamic and innovative financial centres in the EU, boasts a vigorous and open economic landscape, a rich and diverse culture, an excellent business environment, and top-notch financial services. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Luxembourg is the third-largest global exporter of financial services, following the United Kingdom and the United States, and has extensive practical experience in asset management, banking, capital markets, insurance, and electronic payments. Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE), a world-leading exchange for listed bonds, has collaborated with Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange in the green bond sector. As the first non-Asian founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Luxembourg hosted the first AIIB annual meeting outside of Asia. Ambassador Roland Reiland eagerly looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Chengdu, fully supporting the construction of the Chengdu Financial Centre, and jointly embracing sustainable development and a digital future.


H.E. Dr. Mohamed Ghassan Mohamed Adnan Shaikho, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to China, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has come to an end, marking the beginning of the global economic recovery. The prevailing trends and themes of the current world are characterized by open services, trade cooperation, and inclusive cultural exchange. Nowadays, China and Bahrain have shifted their focus on commercial collaboration from the “Maritime Silk Road” to the “Digital Silk Road.” In terms of emerging technologies, particularly financial technology and artificial intelligence (AI), both parties have demonstrated a strong willingness for knowledge exchange and collaboration. Some leading Chinese companies, such as Huawei, Chinamex, and Bank of China, have already established offices or facilities in Bahrain, fully capitalizing on Bahrain’s strategic location, regulatory policies, labor market, and the competitive 100% ownership of foreign enterprises. Serving as a gateway to the Middle East, Bahrain attracts global enterprises to operate and expand their businesses at low costs.


H.E. Andreas Glänzel, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance, expressed high expectations for the development of Chengdu Financial Centre and firm confidence in the prospects of bilateral cooperation. He shared the developmental experiences of Frankfurt as a financial centre, and pointed out that Frankfurt, one of the world’s leading financial centres, is renowned not only for its advantageous geographical location and profound commercial history but also for its pioneering spirit in financial innovation and international cooperation. With the introduction of the Euro, strategic adjustments in response to Brexit, and the successful bid for the headquarters of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), Frankfurt has demonstrated its vitality and prospectiveness as a financial hub. The success of Frankfurt not only showcases the diverse pathways for the development of financial centres but also enlightens the rise of the Chengdu Financial Centre. Chengdu, as the financial centre of Western China, is rapidly growing into a new focus for domestic and international investors with its unique geographical advantages and burgeoning financial market. Since its inclusion into the GFCI for the first time six years ago, Chengdu has leaped to 44th place, indicating its significant position and potential for development in the international financial arena. In conclusion, he expected that Chengdu and Frankfurt would conduct more cooperation in the future to jointly open a new chapter in the financial development of both sides and embrace the future of the financial industry.


Julie Becker, CEO of the LuxSE and Founder of the Luxembourg Green Exchange(LGX), mentioned that finance-enabled sustainable innovation and investment is of significance to promote inclusive growth. She highlighted the essential role of cross-border cooperation in driving sustainable development and inclusive growth, especially in the financial sector, against the backdrop of globalization. Since the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 1972, China and Luxembourg have achieved significant results in promoting economic and cultural exchanges and investing in sustainable projects. And in terms of financial market cooperation, the two countries have successfully expanded and internationalized China’s capital market. Through collaboration with Chinese stock exchanges, the LuxSE has provided international investors with information on Chinese green bonds in English, enhancing market transparency and accessibility. As the Western China Financial Centre, Chengdu has demonstrated its commitment to sustainable development through corporate issuers on the LGX to the international market. Furthermore, LGX Assistance services provided by LuxSE aim to facilitate the entry of new sustainable bond issuers into international capital markets and promote the development of sustainable financial products. In her concluding remarks, she cited a Chinese proverb, “Slow progress is better than no progress,” underscoring the financial industry’s ongoing commitment to fostering sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Achievements Release

Achievements Release


To accelerate the construction of the Western China Financial Centre and enhance the Belt and Road financial services, the Cross-Border Investment & Financing Digital Platform (CIDP) integrates the professional capabilities of domestic and foreign financial institutions, industrial and commercial enterprises, and intermediary service organizations to create a comprehensive cross-border investment and financing platform that facilitates information sharing, investment due diligence, financing connectivity, and equity investment integration. The platform aims to enhance the multilateral investment cooperation in the Western China Financial Centre by focusing on the three major strategic regions of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa, covering over 300 projects in more than twenty key industries such as advanced manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, digital finance, and smart cities. CIDP connects hundreds of well-known domestic and foreign financial and industrial institutions, boosting cross-border innovative finance, innovative investment, and innovative economic growth. In this era of globalization, CIDP not only represents the development and exploration of financial technology but also embodies an innovative attempt to foster global collaboration between industry and finance.


X-Nexus (An Empowerment Platform for Stock Exchanges to China) is committed to helping world-leading exchanges expand their businesses and enhance their influence in Western China, acting as a bridge for cross-border investment and financing cooperation between global exchanges and Chinese companies and a service provider of overseas investment and financing for enterprises in Western China. X-Nexus will facilitate the interconnectivity between capital markets and deeply support for exchanges in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to enter the Chinese market. The Centre, based in Chengdu, focuses on Western China and serves clients worldwide.

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Strategic Cooperation MOU Signing Ceremony


Three strategic cooperation memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed between Chengdu Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau and Astana International Financial Centre Authority, between Chengdu Municipal Local Financial Regulation Bureau, Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone Administration Committee and Astana International Exchange (AIX), between Frankfurt Main Finance and China Innovation Finance Institute, respectively. These MOUs will effectively promote international cooperation of the Western China Financial Centre to a higher level and bring more opportunities for common development and mutual benefits for all parties.

Chengdu Finance Week Report Series Launched

The reports “Rise Beyond Wealth: Global Sovereign Wealth Funds” and “Sustainable Growth: International Financial Centres and The ESG Investment” were also launched during the opening ceremony.


Calvin Chenggang FU, Chairman of the China Innovation Finance Institute, shared one of the Chengdu Finance Week flagship reports, Rise Beyond Wealth: Global Sovereign Wealth Funds”. The report studied the world’s top 10 sovereign wealth funds and analyzed the changes and trends of major sovereign funds based on their countries, sectors, and market allocation strategies. The Sovereign Wealth Fund Conference held during Chengdu Finance Week invited representatives of global sovereign wealth funds and domestic experts to engage in closed-door discussions on core issues of sovereign wealth fund development and allocation strategies.

Keynote Speeches and Panel Discussions


Temirlan Mukhanbetzhanov, Chairman of the Management Board of Astana International Financial Centre Authority, elucidated Kazakhstan’s superiority in geography and resources as the world’s ninth largest country, including its vast territory, abundant natural resources, and the potential of its human resources. He highlighted the significant progress made by Kazakhstan’s economy and financial market in recent years, particularly positive advances in wages, financial ratings, and investment ratings. Additionally, Temirlan Mukhanbetzhanov underscored Kazakhstan’s pivotal role in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), especially its close trade and investment relationships with China and several other countries. He also detailed the key role and objectives of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), including its positioning as a green investment platform, its independent judiciary system, and its direct connection with global financial hubs such as Dubai and the Global Financial Centre (GFC). AIFC is committed to fostering the development of financial technology, supporting financial innovation through regulatory sandboxes, and facilitating the compliance of cryptocurrency exchanges through specific legal frameworks. He also mentioned the significance of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s BRI for Kazakhstan’s development and highlighted AIFC’s positive contributions to enhancing regional financial cooperation and improving economic transparency and compliance. In conclusion, he forecasted Kazakhstan’s potential as a financial hub in the Eurasian region, emphasizing the extensive prospects and profound impacts of financial cooperation between Kazakhstan and China and showcasing Kazakhstan’s growing position and role within the global financial system.


Ayidh Alyami, Representative of the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia in China, highlighted the important progress made by Saudi Arabia in diversifying its economy and upgrading its position in the global economy, in particular the advancement of the “Saudi Vision 2030.” The program aims to transform the Saudi economy into a private sector-led one and reduce its dependence on oil through a vibrant society, a prosperous economy, and an ambitious nation. Ayidh Alyami detailed the key strategies Saudi Arabia has adopted to attract FDI and partners, including enhancing economic competitiveness, developing diverse industries, and improving the attractiveness of the domestic market. He further elaborated on seven reasons to invest in Saudi Arabia, such as young labor forces, huge investment in education, a well-developed financial system, and its position as a leading economy in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, Alyami envisaged the new opportunities for Saudi Arabia brought by the “Saudi Vision 2030,” particularly the huge investment potential in the industrial, energy, mining, and logistics sectors. He confirmed that the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia will give full support to global investors from market entry to investment aftercare and ensure that investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia are fully leveraged, so as to achieve economic diversification and development goals.

A roundtable discussion on “In Response to Global Uncertainty: Macro-economic Challenges, Cross-Border Investment and Financing, and the Belt and Road Financial Services was also conducted at the opening ceremony of Chengdu Finance Week.


During a financial roundtable discussion presided over by Calvin Chenggang FU, Chairman of the China Innovation Finance Institute, key speakers shared their insights on financial sectors. LIU Ligang, Managing Director and Head of APAC Economic Analysis at Citi Private Bank, highlighted Hong Kong’s solid status as a global financial hub, suggesting a further expansion of investment sources, particularly from the Middle East. He also mentioned Hong Kong’s close relationship with the Chinese Mainland and its potential in global financial centres. Birzhan Astayev, Chief Markets and Products Officer of AIX, shared the development experience of AIX and emphasized its crucial role in the BRI. He mentioned how AIX attracts international investors and emphasized the importance of collaboration with China and other countries. XIE Zhujun (King), Director of China Market at Banque Internationale à Luxembourg and Chairman of China-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, shared the advantages of the Luxembourg financial centre and the services it offers in cross-border finance and green finance. She specifically highlighted the support provided by the Luxembourg financial centre for the internationalization of Chinese enterprises and proposed the establishment of financial offices in Luxembourg to promote financial cooperation between China and Luxembourg. Finally, Chairman Fu underlined Chengdu’s significance as a Western China Financial Centre, advocated for broader cooperation with global financial centres for future development, and expressed positive prospects for the future.


H.E. LIU Ligang, Managing Director and Head of APAC Economic Analysis at Citi Private Bank, pointed out that, Hong Kong, as the world’s third-largest financial centre, plays a crucial role in China’s “dual circulation” economic strategy. The exchange rate system in Hong Kong will not impact the development of its capital market, and its steadfast position as a global financial centre will remain unchanged in the future. He believed that Hong Kong needs to diversify its investment sources, strengthen its close ties with the Chinese Mainland, and support China’s innovation and the BRI with its advantages in the financial sector. Meanwhile, the collaboration between Chengdu and Hong Kong, the two financial centres, is a matter to be carefully considered.


Birzhan Astayev, Chief Markets and Products Officer of AIX, stated that since its establishment in 2017, AIX has built an integrated infrastructure and successfully carried out IPO projects with several trading partners. Kazakhstan is the first nation to champion the BRI. Moreover, AIX has supported some stock exchanges and capital markets in the Belt and Road market since 2019, supported the financing business and industrial development of the BRICS countries, and conducted cooperation in several research fields. In 2022, China Construction Bank was listed on Kazakhstan’s stock exchange and issued its first overseas bond. AIX looks forward to further strengthening cooperation with Chinese investors in the future. AIX will continue to develop various infrastructures and explore more possibilities for cooperation with the Gulf countries. At the same time, Kazakhstan, as one of the world’s largest producers of gold and silver, welcomes global mining organizations to list on AIX to attract more international clients.


H.E. XIE Zhujun (King), Director of China Market at Banque Internationale à Luxembourg and Chairman of China-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, indicated that Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, the oldest bank in Luxembourg, specializes in cross-border financing services, including asset management, project financing, structured financing, and fund management. In September 2021, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg collaborated with the United Nations Environment Programme to formulate sustainable principles for the banking industry, aiming to promote sustainable finance and global economic transition through green financial services. To meet the diverse needs of clients, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg also offers cross-border green financial services, such as green funds, green bonds, and green loans. She emphasized that Luxembourg is a member of the BRI and plays a pivotal role in the development of Chinese enterprises in Europe and the world, as a leading international financial centre.

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Julie Becker: Prioritising Innovation-Sustainable Investment at LGX

As the premier listing venue for international bonds, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange has been working very closely with Chinese issuers for several years to facilitate their access to international capital markets and investors. And this cooperation with China has naturally expanded into the field of sustainable finance. Many successful joint initiatives with the Chinese partners have been developed in recent years, notably in the fields of information dissemination and indexes, etc. And these opportunities all capture the power that the finance industry has to propel innovative sustainable investment opportunities that improve inclusive growth.

H.E. Mr. WU Jianli: Implementing the New Development Concept to Foster a Sustainable Investment Landscape

In line with China’s current economic development stage, sustainable investment is an investment approach and concept that integrates environmental protection, social responsibility, and corporate governance. It emphasizes economic and social benefits and is a practical manifestation of the new development concept “innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing” in investment practices. Sustainable investment is a powerful tool for promoting economic transformation and upgrading to achieve high-quality development and has broad development prospects.

H.E. Mervyn King: Global Inflation and Resources Redistribution under Radical Uncertainty

We live in a world of radical uncertainty. We hope that governments and central banks can rise to the challenge, ensuring prosperity in the years ahead. Many of these challenges will require greater understanding and cooperation between countries. Despite the rising tensions between the United States and China, the future of the world depends on greater collaboration between them to ensure the growth of prosperity of all countries in the world. The responsibilities of the United States and China are both great, but the rewards are greater still.

H.E. Mr. LOU Jiwei: Innovative Exploration for the Development of Sovereign Wealth Funds in China

China Investment Corporation (CIC) is recognized as a sovereign wealth fund that conforms to international norms. Over the past 15 years, the CIC has been following mechanisms: to diversify investment centered on asset allocation; to adhere to financial investment and responsible investment; to establish a transparent and standardized management system, and a investment decision-making and risk management mechanism; and to implement a long-term investment philosophy. The CIC aims to fulfil its duty as a SWF that seeks higher returns over a longer period and takes higher risks. On the international front, CIC actively implements the governance in transparency and standards.