The two-day Lujiazui Forum has wrapped up in Shanghai. With the theme “Challenges for Global Economic Growth and Financial Reform”, top officials from China’s financial regulators, senior executives from the financial sector and prominent academics discussed how the financial sector can boost growth of the real economy, as well as how to further up China’s financial market.

At the top forum for China’s financial sector, a variety of issues were discussed, including how to strike a balance between financial innovation and regulation. How to mitigate risks in China’s fast-expanding internet finance sector? And how finance can support China’s massive campaign to boost entrepreneurship and innovation.

But most importantly, how to further open up China’s financial sector, and encourage more financial institutions to expand.

The opening up of China’s financial sector has entered a new stage… thanks to bold experiments like the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, the continued progress of the Belt and Road Initiative, the launch of the Silk Road Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the New Development Bank. So what are the new opportunities and challenges facing China’s financial institutions?

Hu Xiaolian, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China, says the policy bank has benefited greatly from the “Belt and Road” initiative.

“In 2015, we issued 500 billion yuan worth of loans among countries along the One Belt and One Road. This was a 45% year-on-year growth on the previous year. We’ve also signed nearly 400 agreements that were signed under the “Belt and Road” initiative. The number of new projects signed in 2015 was two-and-a-half times greater than that of 2014,” Hu said.

Hu also says the “Belt and Road” initiative provides immense opportunities for the Chinese currency Renminbi.

Zhu Xian, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the New Development Bank, says the bank will greatly support the financing activities through the currencies of its member countries.

The New Development Bank, formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“We are actively preparing the launch of our first bond. We’ll issue a Renminbi bond in China. We are also making preparations for the “Belt and Road” strategy in order to play a greater role as a development bank,” Zhu said.

To further internationalize the renminbi and open up China’s financial market, Hong Kong is still pivotal.

KC Chan, Secretary of Hong Kong’s financial services and the treasury bureau, says with the successful operation of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, they are working to launch one between Shenzhen and Hong Kong as soon as possible.

He says Hong Kong would also join the “Belt and Road” campaign.

“Hong Kong has established a platform for different financial institutions and industries to seek cooperation. We also encourage financial institutions in Hong Kong to invest in the “belt and road” initiative. Besides financing, we’ll also combine Hong Kong’s experiences in risk management, as well as our finance professionals, to support the project,” he said.

The forum also saw the release of the IFF China Report 2016, which covers how China has transformed its growth model; how it will reform its financial system, as well as the internationalization of the renminbi and its impact on the monetary system.