By Li Dapeng
Express staff

  Scheduled for September 8 to 11 in Xiamen, Fujian Province, the 8th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) has attracted lots of attention from around the world, and the preparatory work is going smoothly.
  The number of participants is expected to exceed that of the last fair, said Lin Shuxi, deputy secretary-general of Xiamen municipal government.
  In a promotional meeting for the 8th CIFIT recently held in Guangzhou, Huang Heming, director of the Xiamen subcouncil of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, which is one of the organizers of the fair, said the 8th CIFIT will have some new highlights.
  The fair will arrange a series of activities focusing on the revitalization of Northeast China's traditional industrial bases, property rights transfer and CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement).
Many representatives with domestic and international industrial and commercial enterprises have shown great interest in the activities.
They have also said they intend to attend the investment match-up symposium and other forums to be held at the fair.
  The investment symposium will surely be more effective and attract more overseas investment than the previous sessions, said sources with the organizing committee of the fair.
  This year's match-up symposium will give priority to helping Chinese businesses go global and strengthening the co-operation between domestic enterprises.
  Lots of foreign governments and investment promotion institutions are extremely interested in Chinese enterprises' "go global" drive. They expect to hold face-to-face talks with Chinese businesses intending to invest abroad.
  In addition, government officials and investment promotion institution representatives from various countries will introduce their favorable investment policies at the fair, aiming to attract more Chinese investment and boost bilateral economic exchanges.
  The organizing committee of the 8th CIFIT has also held promotions abroad.
  With the help of Chinese embassies and consulates, the promotion teams from CIFIT visited dozens of local economic regulatory bodies and commercial associations in Southeast Asia and North Europe, making CIFIT better known among business communities in these regions.
  Many commercial associations in these regions have promised to send delegations to attend the fair and said that they will make full use of CIFIT as a platform for international economic and trade co-operation.
  To date, 88 overseas commercial associations have confirmed that they will attend the upcoming fair.
  In addition, the organizing committee of CIFIT has received statements of intention to participate from another 118 foreign commercial associations.
  At the same time, promotion of State Pavilion Day - an activity to promote a country's business environment as a whole - has made great headway. A number of countries, including Sweden, Canada and France, have expressed their intention to hold State Pavilion Days at the fair.
Also, governments from about 30 countries and regions confirmed that they will organize delegations to participate, including Britain, France, Sweden, Australia, South Korea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
  Delegations from Finland, Bulgaria, Mexico, Cuba, Yemen and Sweden will be headed by minister-level officials.
  Governments of another 45 countries and regions have also showed interest in the fair.
  The work of inviting investors and collecting investment project information has been going well.
  The organizing committee has already collected information on about 2,700 investment projects.
  The design for an on-line registration system for investment information has been completed and will soon be tested, according to authorities with the fair's organizing committee.

By Duan Ruolan
Express staff

  Hong Kong witnessed an increasing number of mainland companies going public on its stock market last year.
  Propelled by several State-owned enterprises (SOEs) which issued H-shares, Hong Kong Stock Market raised more funds in 2003 than the previous year.
  The first mainland company went public in Hong Kong 10 years ago.
The extremely excellent performances of domestic companies greatly contribute to the stability of the Hong Kong Stock Market.
  On June 17 last year, when Hang Seng Index broke the 10,000 points, three of the top 10 biggest equity transactions are offerings from mainland firms.
  Analysts predicted that the rising trend is expected to maintain, and they expected that about 70 per cent of the capital the market raised comes from large-sized companies from the Chinese mainland this year.
H shares refer to offerings from mainland-registered companies listed in Hong Kong.
  Institutional investors and fund managers are the driving engine to power the purchase and appreciation of H shares in 2003.
  For instance, US investor Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway Inc took in 1.168 billion H shares from PetroChina Co Ltd in April 2003.
  There are three reasons contributing to the good performances mainland companies' offerings.
First, mainland firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, mostly in the manufacturing industry and with a huge domestic market, are relatively less affected by the outer factors such as the Iraqi War.
  Second, mainland's dynamic economy is a locomotive to push the Hong Kong stock market.
  Third, investors have greater expectations on regrouped and reformed domestic enterprises.
  Due to its well-established legal system and market rules, Hong Kong is building its status as a risk management platform for international investors attracted by China's equity market.
  Shang Fulin, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), said that Hong Kong stock market has become a main overseas market when mainland firms go public to raise funds on a seminar concerning domestic companies' listed in Hong Kong held last November.
  Shang pointed out that along with the implementation of CEPA, Hong Kong and the mainland will be closer in trade and investment, which asks for more securities co-operations.
  CSRC will redouble its communication with its Hong Kong counterparts, according to Shang.
  Having set up the Hang Seng H-share Index, a great amount of capital favoured in low-risk investment, including pension funds, entered the market.
  Moreover, the Non-Deliverable Forwards (NDF) assured overseas investors who were allured by the Chinese market but were concerned of possible appreciation of Renminbi.
  NDF is also a good choice for domestic institutional investors in seeking low-risk investment channels on the overseas markets.
  Hong Kong-based institutional investors are among the first batch benefited as domestic equity market becomes internationalized.
  The State Council has issued a notice to support implementation of qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII) system this year.
  The government set stricter requirements for the applicants when QFII was first introduced into the country last year. At that time, except for the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, all other QFIIs were from Europe or North America.
  As the country lowered requirements on market entry, more Hong Kong-based institutions will join in the QFII group.
  Hong Kong and the mainland are expected to strengthen co-operation in improving management and supervision on financial system as links between them are becoming even tighter.
  The two sides should set up a co-ordinated information network to supervise transactions of H shares conducted by mainlanders through underground channels because they greatly challenge the normal and legal capital flows and transactions.
  Moreover, the two sides should join hands in managing and supervising intermediate agencies.
  Hong Kong has a more matured stock market, in which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has a very limited role in the equity market.
  Otherwise, lacking knowledge of the Hong Kong market, domestic firms may encounter illegal intermediate agencies and could face unnecessarily enlarged risks.