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China unveils draft regulations for Nasdaq-style technology board

[SHANGHAI] China has published draft rules for a Nasdaq-style start-up board in Shanghai, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on Wednesday, potentially competing with Hong Kong and New York for listings of tech firms.

The so-called technology innovation board will mainly host companies in technology and emerging sectors, such as high-tech equipment manufacturing, new energy, biotechnology, big data and cloud computing, the regulator said.

"This will enable the capital markets to support the development of China's core technologies and innovative capabilities," the regulator said in a statement posted on its website.

"It will also help Shanghai become an international financial centre as well as a hub for technology innovation."

Plans for the board were announced by President Xi Jinping in November and are expected to help counter US curbs on China's technology development.

It will not be the first time that China has come up with a new listing avenue in the hope of creating tech companies as successful as US giants, such as Google and Inc.

Shenzhen's tech-heavy ChiNext board became a hotbed of speculation and soared to dizzying heights after its 2010 launch, but has had a lacklustre performance since 2015. Beijing's New Third Board, an over-the-counter market for start-ups, also suffered a similar fate.

With the new board, China aims to set some regulations to ensure the listing process is smoother.

The board will be paired with a registration-based system for initial public offerings and will be less stringent in its listing criteria, such as allowing companies that have yet to make a profit and start-ups with weighted voting rights, to list.

In a separate document issued by the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the exchange said it would widen daily trading limits of the new board by allowing stocks to rise or fall by 20 per cent each day before trading was halted.

There will also be no daily limits for the first five trading days of newly listed stocks on the new board, to allow for more trading flexibility.