China is expected to launch the much-talked-about Shanghai free-trade zone this weekend, which has been lauded as a "testing ground" for major liberalization policies needed to propel the economy over the next few decades.
"The free-trade zone [will] play an important role in China's next round of reforms and opening up, the success of which will be crucial to invigorating the economy and unleashing its growth potential," said Jian Chang, China economist at Barclays.
(Read more: Is Shanghai's free trade zone really a game changer?)
The initiative, located in a 29-square-kilometer area in an eastern suburb of the city, is set to commence on September 29 and is seen as a strong testament to the new leadership's commitment to pushing ahead with reforms.
The successful policies – which will include financial, trade and investment reforms – will ultimately be rolled out nationwide, but likely after several years, say analysts.