TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping leave a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.
Donald Trump urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to work "hard" and act fast to help resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, during their meeting in Beijing on November 9, warning that "time is quickly running out". / AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI        (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping leave a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017. Donald Trump urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to work "hard" and act fast to help resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, during their meeting in Beijing on November 9, warning that "time is quickly running out". / AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:43
US delays raising tariffs on Chinese goods
BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 25: People walk by the flagship store of clothing brand H&M at a shopping area on March 25, 2021 in Beijing, China. Many on Chinese social networking platforms called for boycotts of major Western brands, including H&M, after statements made by the companies in the past about Xinjiang cotton resurfaced online. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 25: People walk by the flagship store of clothing brand H&M at a shopping area on March 25, 2021 in Beijing, China. Many on Chinese social networking platforms called for boycotts of major Western brands, including H&M, after statements made by the companies in the past about Xinjiang cotton resurfaced online. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:25
Western brands slammed in China over Xinjiang stance
HONG KONG, CHINA - DECEMBER 12: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder and owner of Apple Daily newspaper is seen handcuffed and escorted by the guards leaving Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre on December 12, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Lai is accused of collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
Keith Tsuji/Getty Images
HONG KONG, CHINA - DECEMBER 12: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder and owner of Apple Daily newspaper is seen handcuffed and escorted by the guards leaving Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre on December 12, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Lai is accused of collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:28
Hong Kong media tycoon's long battle for freedom
TOPSHOT - A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colours of the flag of East Turkestan and a hand bearing the colours of the Chinese flag attends a protest of supporters of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and Turkish nationalists to denounce China's treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims during a deadly riot in July 2009 in Urumqi, in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on July 5, 2018. - Nearly 200 people died during a series of violent riots that broke out on July 5, 2009 over several days in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in northwestern China, between Uyghurs and Han people. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
OZAN KOSE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - A demonstrator wearing a mask painted with the colours of the flag of East Turkestan and a hand bearing the colours of the Chinese flag attends a protest of supporters of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and Turkish nationalists to denounce China's treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims during a deadly riot in July 2009 in Urumqi, in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on July 5, 2018. - Nearly 200 people died during a series of violent riots that broke out on July 5, 2009 over several days in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in northwestern China, between Uyghurs and Han people. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:16
Facebook: Chinese hackers targeted Uyghurs living in US
screengrab australia wine
CNN
screengrab australia wine
Now playing
02:44
Australia's wine industry battered as relations with China sour
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: General View of BBC Broadcasting House on January 29, 2020 in London, England.
Peter Summers/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: General View of BBC Broadcasting House on January 29, 2020 in London, England.
Now playing
03:22
China bans BBC News after UK pulls CGTN's license
Biden US China tech war Wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00010025.png
Biden US China tech war Wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00010025.png
Now playing
02:37
US-China tech rivalry will likely continue under Biden presidency. Here's why
Jack Ma makes his first public appearance since late October in a new video published on January 20 by Tianmu News, a subsidiary of the Zhejiang government's official newspaper.
Tianmu News
Jack Ma makes his first public appearance since late October in a new video published on January 20 by Tianmu News, a subsidiary of the Zhejiang government's official newspaper.
Now playing
02:20
See Jack Ma's first public appearance in months
In this photo taken on September 5, 2020, people wearing face masks walk in a shopping mall in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province. - China is recasting Wuhan as a heroic coronavirus victim and trying to throw doubt on the pandemic's origin story as it aims to seize the narrative at a time of growing global distrust of Beijing. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY HEALTH-VIRUS-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-WUHAN,FOCUS BY DAN MARTIN (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo taken on September 5, 2020, people wearing face masks walk in a shopping mall in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province. - China is recasting Wuhan as a heroic coronavirus victim and trying to throw doubt on the pandemic's origin story as it aims to seize the narrative at a time of growing global distrust of Beijing. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY HEALTH-VIRUS-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-WUHAN,FOCUS BY DAN MARTIN (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:32
China's economy grows 2.3% in 2020
A split of Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump.
Getty Images
A split of Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump.
Now playing
02:06
Trump administration dials up US-China tech tensions
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 24, 2020 in New York City. As investor's fear of an election crisis eases, the DowJones Industrial Average passed the 30,000 milestone for the first time on Tuesday morning.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 24, 2020 in New York City. As investor's fear of an election crisis eases, the DowJones Industrial Average passed the 30,000 milestone for the first time on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:20
Chinese firms face delisting threat
HONG KONG - 2019/04/06: In this photo illustration a Chinese online payment platform owned by Alibaba Group, Alipay, logo is seen on an Android mobile device with People's Republic of China flag in the background. (Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images/LightRocket/LightRocket via Getty Images
HONG KONG - 2019/04/06: In this photo illustration a Chinese online payment platform owned by Alibaba Group, Alipay, logo is seen on an Android mobile device with People's Republic of China flag in the background. (Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:40
How China's Ant Group built a $17 trillion payments machine
A pedestrians walks past HSBC signage in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on July 31, 2017.
HSBC said on July 31 pre-tax profit for the first half of 2017 had risen five percent to 10.2 billion USD compared with the same period last year, in what it called an "excellent" result following a turbulent 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ISAAC LAWRENCE        (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images)
Issac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images
A pedestrians walks past HSBC signage in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on July 31, 2017. HSBC said on July 31 pre-tax profit for the first half of 2017 had risen five percent to 10.2 billion USD compared with the same period last year, in what it called an "excellent" result following a turbulent 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ISAAC LAWRENCE (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:31
HSBC may have to choose between China and the West
BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 27: A Chinese soldier stands guard in front of Tiananmen Gate outside the Forbidden City on October 27, 2014 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 27: A Chinese soldier stands guard in front of Tiananmen Gate outside the Forbidden City on October 27, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:56
China censors a lot, from Winnie the Pooh to the NBA
SHANGHAI, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 17: Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma speaks during the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference at West Bund on September 17, 2018 in Shanghai, China. The 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference is held on September 17-19 in Shanghai. (Photo by Zhao Yun/VCG via Getty Images)
Zhao Yun/VCG via Getty Images
SHANGHAI, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 17: Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma speaks during the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference at West Bund on September 17, 2018 in Shanghai, China. The 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference is held on September 17-19 in Shanghai. (Photo by Zhao Yun/VCG via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:02
How Jack Ma changed China
Yum China
Now playing
01:43
Why American fast food chains will do anything to win in China
(CNN Business) —  

UBS has gained an edge on its Wall Street competitors in China by becoming the first foreign bank to be allowed to take control of its business there.

The Swiss bank said it had received approval from Chinese authorities to increase its stake in its securities joint venture in the country to 51% from just under 25%.

The announcement late Friday marks a watershed moment for China’s vast financial markets. Before Beijing changed the rules earlier this year, overseas banks were only allowed to hold minority stakes of up to 49% in their Chinese securities businesses — a restriction that drew complaints from top US firms.

Other foreign banks are seeking to follow UBS (UBS). JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Japan’s Nomura (NMR) are still waiting for the green light from Chinese regulators.

Expanding in China is a “key element” of UBS’ strategy, CEO Sergio Ermotti said in a statement.

The Swiss bank set up its China joint venture, UBS Securities, in Beijing a decade ago. Its operations include a stock brokerage, an investment banking unit and asset management services.

UBS will overtake state-owned Beijing Guoxiang Asset Management as the biggest shareholder in the business.

A tantalizing market

China pledged in November 2017 to allow foreign companies to own Chinese banks and investment firms for the first time.

The enormous size and rapid growth of China’s economy make it a huge and tantalizing opportunity for Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C) and other Wall Street firms. But experts have warned that despite the change in ownership rules, international banks could still face challenges navigating Chinese regulations and competing with well established local players.

HSBC (HSBC), which traces its roots to Hong Kong, has leveraged its special position in the territory to build a presence in mainland China. It owns 51% of a Chinese securities joint venture that opened for business a year ago. HSBC was able to take advantage of a rule that allowed Hong Kong-funded banks to own a majority stake before other foreign financial firms.

International banks have long hoped to gain better access to the Chinese market in order to cash in on its growing wealth.

In October, Britain’s Standard Chartered (SCBFF) became the first foreign lender to receive permission to hold and safeguard the assets of local investors in China following a separate approval process.