China announces major steps to open its financial sector

Chinese bank staff member counting stacks of 100-yuan notes at a bank in Huaibei, China.
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China will lift the ceiling on foreign equity ownership in joint-venture firms involved in the futures, securities and funds markets to 51 percent, a vice finance minister said on Friday.

No specific timetable was given for lifting the equity ownership limit to 51 percent from the current 49 percent.

China will remove all equity ownership limits in many financial sectors after three years, Vice Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao told a news conference.

China will relax controls on foreign ownership in Chinese banks, insurance companies, and asset management firms, the official said.

Zhu said the time is right for China to step up the liberalization of its financial sector.

—CNBC contributed to this report.