No timetable for listing of foreign companies in China: official

A retail investor watches share prices. Photo: Xinhua

China is studying the feasibility of allowing foreign companies to list their shares in the country's local stock market, but it has no specific timeframe, a senior official said on Sunday.

Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), made the remarks at a press conference in Beijing.

Fang said that the related departments of the CSRC are considering the launch of an international board where foreign-registered firms can raise capital by selling shares, but adding that problems on technical issues and market regulatory rules need to be solved first.

"Take accounting standards for instance. Some foreign companies registered overseas follow the accounting standards set by the United States, some follow the accounting standards set by the European Union, while some stick to other international accounting criteria. These (foreign accounting) standards need to be adjusted (to apply to Chinese rules)," Fang said.

Besides, the rules for information disclosure of the listed companies adopted overseas are totally different from those used in China, the vice chairman noted.

"In a word, we are studying this issue, but we don't have a timetable."

Beijing has long maintained a tight grip on its capital market and is reluctant to give foreign companies access to its stock market partly due to fears over drastic fluctuations in the foreign exchange market.

Fang also talked about the inclusion of China's A-shares into the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) indexes. "Without China's A-shares, the MSCI indexes will be incomplete ... (But) no matter whether the MSCI indexes will accept China's A-shares this year, the Chinese capital market will stick to the path of marketization, legalization and internationalization," Fang said.

Further more, Fang talked about foreign investors' concerns over the trading suspension system, which blocked the sell of shares whose trading is suspended.

"The problem needs to be paid attention to and solved," he said.

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