Singapore SGX opens first office in China

BEIJING, April 18 - The Singapore Exchange (SGX) opened its first overseas office in Beijing on Friday, to serve its large and growing customer base in China.

Of 290 foreign companies listed on the exchange, 141 are Chinese and many are private firms, a sector SGX -- Asia's second-largest listed bourse -- will continue to target.

"That 38 figure will continue to grow," Hsieh Fu Hua, the chief executive of SGX, told reporters, referring to the percentage of foreign companies listed on the exchange.

"SGX groups the largest number of listed private Chinese companies outside of the mainland," said Lloyd Loh, the head of the new office. "Our strategy is to continue focusing on the private sector."

The move comes after the London Stock Exchange opened a Beijing office this year while the New York Stock Exchange -- a unit of NYSE Euronext -- and Nasdaq Stock Market Inc moved in last year.

The global interest in Chinese companies' initial public offerings was prompted by a series of record-breaking share issues and a surge in local stock markets in 2006 and 2007.

Investors are still keen on mainland companies, but listings have been cooled by a 49 percent plunge in the benchmark Shanghai index .SSEC from its October peak.

"There is still a pipeline of Chinese IPOs," said Lawrence Wong, head of SGX's listing unit. "But global markets are all down now."


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