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China said to mull Shenzhen-Hong Kong link approval before July

[BEIJING] Chinese officials may announce the approval of the anticipated stock-trading connection between Shenzhen and Hong Kong exchanges in the next two months, according to people familiar with the matter.

Official approval and a starting date for the connect, which would be the second link between the mainland and the city, may be unveiled before July, said the people, possibly to coincide with one of several events taking place in the coming months.

One such event is the May visit to Hong Kong of Zhang Dejiang, a member of the seven-person politburo standing committee, according to the people.

The connection of Shenzhen to Hong Kong would come after the Shanghai-Hong Kong link, and will let offshore investors access many of China's technology and high-growth shares.

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Premier Li Keqiang said in March that the country will seek to start the link this year.

An announcement before MSCI's review on whether to include Chinese companies in its emerging markets indexes is another option, as is granting approval and revealing the date before the July 1 anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty, said the people.

An official approval of the link may not include a commencement date, said the people, who added that the timings may change.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission didn't immediately respond to a fax seeking comment. A Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd spokesman, who asked to not be named citing company policy, declined to comment, but said the exchange expects that a preparatory period of three to four months will be needed following the announcement of regulatory approval.