China has launched three new free trade zones (FTZ) in the country, despite widespread doubts as to the efficacy of the first.

Beijing finally confirmed the three new FTZs in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian which will be run on the same model as the maiden zone in Shanghai, launched in September 2013.

The government hopes that the move will help boost economic growth, as it looks for ways to meet its growth targets, amid fears of a prolonged slowdown. Banks and companies based in the Shanghai FTZ have been permitted some levels of cross-border lending and renminbi sweeping – initiatives which China hoped would help increase the international usage of the currency.

However a recent survey showed that the majority of US companies working in the zone have yet to experience any material benefit from doing so. The report, authored by the US Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, found that 73% of companies surveyed reported “no tangible benefits” for business.

Critics have pointed to the fact that some of the crucial objectives of the FTZ, such as the free-floating of the Rmb and its full convertibility, as well as free interest rates, have yet to be met. Local authorities have voiced intentions to continue to move towards these goals, but ultimately, the buck stops with Beijing.

Others have urged patience. “Things are beginning to move. As clients get more involved, we will also get more involved. It’s something which is extremely welcome. It has increased our business but also presents new trade finance opportunities,” a senior figure at Citi tells GTR.

The sites for the three new zones have ostensibly been chosen for geographical reasons. The Guangdong region, which borders Hong Kong and Macau, is China’s biggest by GDP and already hosts three special economic zones at Shenzhen, Zuhai and Shantou. The FTZ here will be 931 square km, much bigger than Shanghai’s 29 square km version.

Fujian is the Chinese province across the water from Taiwan and the pair are very closely related, economically. The zone here will ostensibly increase bilateral trade with Taiwan. “The provincial government is currently focusing on the construction of a modern transport system by developing expressways, railways and ports. It is expected that by the end of 2015, Fujian’s coastal ports will be capable of handling 500 million tonnes of cargo and the length of its roads and expressways will exceed 5,000km,” reads research from China Briefing.

Tianjin is the world’s fourth-busiest port and China’s oil and gas hub. Experts say the FTZ here will facilitate trade in high-end manufacturing and financial leasing, as well as the existing energy trade.