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Currently, there are 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China excluding Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, and Taiwan. Chongqing Municipality, with a population of 30.4 million, is the most populated city in China. Beijing-the Capital, Shanghai-the commercial center, and Tianjin are the other three municipalities. The State Council is the highest administrative authority in China. It administers all other ministries and departments at central government level, and provinces at local level. All foreign-funded projects with a total investment of U.S. $30 million or less must receive approval from relevant local authorities or municipal working committees in charge of foreign investment. Investment projects valued at U.S. $30 million and above, need to be reported to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) for approval after being reviewed by the local authorities. An approval from the State Council is required if the investment is on the state-owned land and the assignment involves more than 1,000 mu (67 hectares) of cultivated land or more than 2,000 mu (133 hectares) of other land.
Where there is foreign investment in tract land development, the municipal or county government shall prepare the proposal, a preliminary feasibility report. If the project involves less than 1,000 mu (67 hectares) of cultivated land or less than 2,000 mu (133 hectares) of other land, and its total investment is under U.S. $30 million, the proposal shall be submitted to the government of the related province directly under the Central Government or special economic zone for approval. If the involved investment exceeds the above limit, the proposal shall be submitted by the provincial-level government to the State Development Planning Commission for examination before being submitted to the State Council for final approval.
Registration of assignment, transfer, lease, mortgage and termination of right to use land is processed at local land and housing administrative departments in accordance with land and pertinent regulations of the State Council. The following relevant government agencies and committees are usually involved in real estate development projects:
Land and housing departments;
Planning committees and bureaus;
Environmental protection departments;
Public bidding departments;
Industry and commerce departments;
Public security and fire departments;
Foreign exchange departments;
Cultural relics departments;
Power supply bureaus;