In a mooted move, France's capital city has reportedly received Rmb80 billion in quota under China's reminbi qualified institutional investor (RQFII) scheme, during president Xi Jinping’s European tour.
This will make Paris the second European city through which investors can access China's capital markets using offshore RMB. The RQFII scheme was expanded to London and Singapore last year, which received Rmb80 billion ($13 billion) and Rmb50 billion in quota, respectively, in October.
Moreover, Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding with China in June under the two countries' Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which incorporates a view on RQFII.
But Taiwan does not yet have quota under the scheme, which is a concern among fund houses there, especially as it was expected that the country would receive quota ahead of other markets, after Hong Kong.
That said, student-driven demonstrations have been reported in Taiwan since March 18 over a trade pact, with protestors arguing that the ECFA could cede business to China. As a result, ECFA discussions are apparently on hold, and it is unclear when they will resume.
Elsewhere, it has been suggested that London lacks the volume of RMB deposits to make it immediately viable as a hub for RQFII investment, although that could change if and when the Chinese currency becomes fully convertible.
Meanwhile, public opinion suggests Singapore will develop as an RMB investment and trading hub. For example, some European fund houses are applying for RQFII licences in Singapore, with France's BNP Paribas Investment Partners likely to do so.
But there are those who question whether the city-state will play a significant role in the RQFII scheme. (See the April 2014 of AsianInvestor for an article on this.)