Accessibility links

Foreigners Gaining More Access to Chinese Security Markets - 2002-11-11

Beijing will allow selected foreign investors to buy shares and bonds that once were available only to domestic investors. The move essentially ends China's closed-door policy toward foreign investors, who for more than a decade, were barred from buying what are called A shares. Analysts say the new openness may mean that more money flows into China's two domestic stock markets.

Peter So, the head of China research at investment bank ING Asia, says "the quality of A shares vary a lot. By introducing foreigners it will improve the overall investment knowledge because [they] can help identify underdeveloped companies and this kind of knowledge can pass onto the rest of investors."

Still, only a small number of foreign institutional investors will have access to the market.

The Hong Kong stock exchange has rejected proposals requiring companies to report quarterly earnings and to increase the number of independent directors on their boards. The exchange, however, will encourage companies to report earnings every three months. The proposals had met stiff resistance from some of Hong Kong's most prominent companies, which complained they would be costly. Investor advocates, however, say the exchange is not dedicated to improving corporate governance.

David Webb, an investor and advocate for shareholders' rights, says "I think it shows the stock exchange has a giant conflict of interest by pandering to the whims of its clients, which are listed companies."

The world's biggest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, announced that sales in October rose 47 percent compared with the same month last year. Company executives say October shipments rose because of seasonal demand in the run-up to Christmas.

While sales in past 10 months jumped 31 percent from the previous year, the company's third-quarter net profit of $3 billion was half what analysts expected.