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An employee loads cars onto a transporter at Tianjin Port. [Photo/China Daily]
Dongjiang Free Trade Port Zone of Tianjin, the world's second-largest airplane leasing market following Ireland, completed its first automobile exports via financial leasing late May.
"The move is part of the zone's efforts to enrich its business portfolio in the leasing sector, which has seen a number of pioneering projects in China," the free trade zone said in a news release.
Up to 80 percent of the country's airplanes, vessels and offshore engineering facilities' leasing businesses were inked in Dongjiang.
The first batch of 35 tractors manufactured by Sinotruk Qingdao Heavy Industries Co Ltd was exported to Mongolia via financial leasing by Jiahe International Financial Leasing (Tianjin) Co Ltd, which is a freight forwarding company headquartered in Dongjiang.
In the online automobile export license registration system under the Ministry of Commerce, there was no option for "international leasing" when the company began to register the business this January.
"There was no way for the operator to 'click' on the computer," when the company tried to register the business in a bid to get the nod from the ministry, said a business applicant who did not want to be named.
"After coordination among multiple levels of authorities, the new option was added in the system, and the ministry issued the permit to the company," he said.
The coordinated efforts among authorities were based on the State Council's instruction to boost the development of Tianjin Free Trade Zone area, which includes the proposal to accelerate Dongjiang's cross-border financial leasing sector, building it into a model innovation zone for business in the country, he said.
Statistics show that from 2009 to date, the zone has innovated 40 methods of leasing and has taken the lead in the country in financial leasing.
According to Shen Lei, director of the administrative committee of the zone, Dongjiang has seen leasing business prosper since 2009. The aircraft and heavy industry leasing sector in the zone is expected to see total assets top 1 trillion yuan ($144.9 billion) in 2019.
As of March, the zone had seen 3,249 leasing companies registered there with a combined registered capital of up to 544.7 billion yuan. It had leased 1,463 airplanes, 110 engines, 158 vessels and 15 oil drilling platforms.
Liu Enzhuan, executive director of the research institute of the Tianjin Free Trade Pilot Zone, said Dongjiang, located in the zone, has accumulated a number of innovation experiences that could be learned by other free trade zones.
"Dongjiang's innovative leasing businesses could significantly slash the costs for domestic companies and help break foreign monopoly," Liu said.