Shanghai, China's commercial and financial capital and the spearhead for its economy, intends to increase its international clout as a strategic location for multinationals, and almost 400 firms have already transferred their headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region here.

Traditionally, MNCs have located their regional HQs in Hong Kong, Tokyo or Singapore.

But according to figures from the municipal trade commission published Monday in the Shanghai Daily, 393 MNCs already have their main Asia offices in this metropolis of more than 24 million people.

The commission says that 25.4 percent of the MNCs are European, 32.6 percent are American and 23.7 percent are Japanese.

China has set a goal of transforming Shanghai into one of the world's main commercial, financial and logistical centers by 2020, operating in all these sectors according to international standards and acquiring a global influence comparable to that enjoyed by New York, London or Hong Kong.

Among the new measures the government is implementing to achieve that goal will be a subsidy of 8 million yuan ($1.27 million) over three years to help foreign MNCs set up their regional headquarters here, as well as tax incentives for opening R&D centers. EFE