A man walks at the entrance of the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone in Pudong district, Shanghai
A man walks at the entrance of the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone in Pudong district, Shanghai Reuters

A total of 21 pilot measures tested in the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ) have been applied across the nation since the zone was established a year ago.

The measures are related to areas such as business registration, cross-border financing and investment, and customs clearance, according to the official Xinhua News agency.

The country is assessing more than 30 other measures, it added.

"The FTZ is a testing ground for all of China, not our private plot," Han Zheng, secretary of the Shanghai branch of the Communist Party of China, said during an interview with Xinhua.

"New measures here should be applicable elsewhere."

The FTZ does not offer much by way of taxes or land, but it provides broadened access to the service sector, financial reforms and streamlined administrative procedures.

What is tested in the FTZ reflects the demands of China to continue opening up and deepening reform, according to the news agency.

China launched the Shanghai FTZ in September 2013 to test a broad range of economic reforms, especially in the financial sector. If the tests become successful, the country would apply the reforms in other parts of the world's second largest economy.

Since then, more than 12,000 companies have been established their offices in the zone, including 1,677 foreign-funded firms, the administration made it easier for both domestic and foreign companies to set up businesses there.

In the FTZ, foreign companies no longer have to go through time-consuming government review and approval of a proposed venture, as long as their line of business does not appear on the negative list of off-limits activities.

The items on the negative list have been cut down to 139 from 190 by June.

"The negative list is a move in the right direction. It has broadened foreign companies' access to China's service sector," Lewis Lu, a partner at accounting firm KPMG's Shanghai office, told Xinhua.

"Foreign companies would love to see the list grow shorter and they'd love to see it updated more frequently."