Tuesday, October 16, 2007

China wants state firms to launch Hong Kong IPOs

BEIJING - The Chinese government wants more of the nation's state-owned enterprises to list on the Hong Kong market, official media reported, citing the chief official in charge of state assets.

"(We) encourage state-owned enterprises to list in Hong Kong," said Li Rongrong, the head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, according to a Xinhua news agency report late Monday.

"But the actual concrete decision on listing must be made by the companies themselves."

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted Li as saying the Hong Kong Stock Exchange should do more to make it easier for Chinese companies to list.

"(Hong Kong's) financial market should also make some improvements before (listings) can go further," said Li, according to the report.

Li's remarks come at a time when Chinese enterprises seem keen to raise funds at home, rather than in Hong Kong, which previously was a much-coveted venue for mainland initial public offerings.

As of last week, Chinese firms had raised a record 56.7 billion dollars on the nation's bourse since early 2007.

That figure beats the 56.5 billion dollars raised on China's markets in the four years from 2002 to 2006, said Xinhua news agency, in a remarkable turnaround of investor confidence.

China's stock market, long in the doldrums, rose 130 percent last year, and has soared another 120 percent in 2007. - AFP/ir

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