The launch of an international board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, originally slated for 2010, has been delayed again. While there is no official timeline for its introduction, it is the centerpiece of China’s plans to turn Shanghai into a global financial centre by 2020. CSj takes a look at what is on the drawing board.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange is set to launch a new international board, although no timetable for the launch has been set.
What is the Shanghai International Board?
The Shanghai International Board would allow certain overseas companies to sell shares in mainland China, and denominated in renminbi, for the first time.
China currently does not allow foreign companies to list on the mainland. The new international board will allow foreign firms to sell shares to mainland investors, thus tapping the mainland market.
It is reported that a number of foreign companies with extensive operations in China including HSBC and Coca Cola, Hong Kong blue-chip firms such as Bank of East Asia, and red-chip enterprises (Chinese enterprises incorporated outside the mainland and listed in Hong Kong) like China Mobile and China National Offshore Oil Corp, have shown interest in listing on the board.
The prospect of listing on an international board in China is attractive. A Chinese listing would allow foreign firms to diversify their shareholder bases and boost public awareness, adding individual investors who may be willing to pay a premium for global brands. Once listed, it would be easier for these firms to seek additional stock sales to finance future growth. They might even be able to sell stakes to mainland strategic investors.
If successfully implemented, the international board could mark a major step forward in the development of China’s financial sector and attract companies to move their headquarters to a new regional business hub.
New opportunities will be provided for multinational firms to carry out multiple listings and tap into China’s huge pool of domestic savings. Significant business opportunities will be created for financial services firms, including securities companies, accountancy firms and law firms, to support listings of foreign companies. Shanghai will be made a regional financial hub in Asia and a credible competitor to London and New York over the long term.
Development of the International Board
The idea of establishing an international board in Shanghai first emerged in a study of the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2007. It was not until two years later that the proposal was brought up in plans at the national level.
In a State Council document promulgated in April 2009 on promoting the development of Shanghai into an international financial and shipping centre, China explicitly defined the positioning of the national strategy of developing Shanghai into an international financial centre. One of the key targets set for Shanghai in the document is, ‘by 2020, to have basically completed the establishment of an international financial centre commensurate with the economic strength of China and the international status of RMB’. The proposal to establish the Shanghai International Board is at the centre of this strategic agenda.
Shortly after the release of the document, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Shanghai Stock Exchange set up working groups to draft and revise laws relating to IPOs and rules for listing and trading.
On 30 January 2012, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Shanghai Municipal Government jointly issued the Plan for Establishing Shanghai as an International Financial Centre during the 12th Five Year Plan Period. The plan aims to make Shanghai a centre for innovation, trading, pricing and clearing of RMB-denominated financial products by 2015.
To facilitate these goals, the plan seeks to enhance the development of fundamental and derivative financial products, encourage foreign financial institutions to establish regional and global headquarters in Shanghai, and improve the infrastructure of the financial system, especially relating to RMB settlement. According to the plan, Shanghai will accelerate the launch of an international board in Shanghai to support the issuance of RMB-denominated stocks by qualified overseas enterprises.
In the past few years, good progress has been made in strengthening the financial infrastructure of Shanghai. There has been significant growth in the size of the market, the variety of financial products available, and the number of financial institutions. The market is gradually opening up, with increasing participation of foreign financial institutions. The regulatory framework has been enhanced, and support services have become increasingly comprehensive. The groundwork has been laid for further developments in the financial market.
As the rules relating to the operation of the Shanghai International Board have been under development since 2009, it is expected that the international bourse will be ready for launch soon, pending a decision on the right timing.
上海證券交易所原擬於2010年推出國際板，現又再延期。 國際板目前並無正式的實施時間表，然而中國計劃在2020 年把上海建設為國際金融中心，成立上海國際板是當中的 重要舉措。本刊今期探討有關國際板的構思。
目前，中國並不容許境外公司在內地上 市。新設的國際板將容許境外公司向內 地投資者發行股份，從而開發內地市 場。
有報道指，一些在中國有廣泛業務的境 外公司如滙豐銀行和可口可樂、香港藍 籌公司如東亞銀行，以及紅籌企業（在 中國以外註冊並在香港上市的中國企 業）如中國移動和中國海洋石油等，均 顯示有興趣在國際板上市。
有機會在中國國際板上市，對境外公司 來說相當有吸引力。在中國上市後，境 外公司可廣泛吸收不同的股東，增加公 眾對自己的認識，吸納一些願意為國際 品牌支付溢價的個人投資者。上市後， 這些公司較容易再發行新股，為未來的 發展提供資金；更有可能可以向內地的 戰略投資者出售部分股權。
國際板若能成功推行，將是中國金融業發 展史上的重要一步，可吸引公司把總部遷 往上海這新興的地區商業中心。跨國公司 將有新機會在多處同時上市，吸納中國龐 大的國內儲蓄。國際板可為金融服務機構 如證券公司、會計師行和律師行創造大量 業務機會，輔助海外公司上市。上海將成 為亞洲地區的金融中心，長遠而言足以與 倫敦和紐約爭高低。
2009年4月，國務院頒布有關推進上海 建設國際金融中心和國際航運中心的文 件，明確說明把上海發展為國際金融中 心的國家戰略。文件內確立的其中一項 主要目標，是「2020年上海基本建成與 我國經濟實力以及人民幣國際地位相適 應的國際金融中心」。在這策略計劃 中，成立上海國際板是重要的建議。
文件頒布後不久，中國證券監督管理委 員會和上海證券交易所分別成立工作小 組，草擬並修訂有關新股上市的法律， 和有關上市和交易的規則。
2012年1月30日，國家發展改革委員會及 上海市政府聯合頒布《十二五時期上海 國際金融中心建設規劃》，力爭到2015 年基本確立上海的全球性人民幣產品創 新、交易、定價和清算中心地位。
為達到這些目標，《規劃》建議推動發 展基礎性金融產品和金融衍生產品，鼓 勵外資金融機構將區域性乃至全球性總 部設在上海，並以建設人民幣跨境支付 清算中心為重點，加快建設金融基礎設 施體系。《規劃》提出推進上海證券市 場國際板建設，支持符合條件的境外企 業發行人民幣股票。
過去數年來，加強上海金融基礎設施的 工作有良好進展。市場規模大幅增長， 金融產品日趨多樣化，金融機構的數目 也有所增加。市場逐漸開放，外資金融 機構的參與日增。規管架構已然加強， 支援服務也日益完善。當地已經為進一 步發展金融市場奠定基礎。
有關上海國際板運作的規則，自 2 0 0 9 年起已經開始制訂；預計當局議定適 當時機後，上海國際板不久以後便可 推行。