70 years on
Editor’s note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.
On Jan 15, 1992, Shanghai Vacuum Electron Devices Co issued China’s first B-share certificate, and one month later the shares were listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. At the time, B shares were only issued to overseas investors.
The issue and trading of B shares marked the entry of the local securities industry into the world market.
B shares were limited to foreign investors until February 2001, when authorities began permitting the exchange of B shares to domestic citizens via the secondary market.
In Shanghai, B shares are traded in dollars.
An item from China Daily on Feb 27, 2001, showed investors in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, filling in forms to open B-share accounts at a branch of Bank of China.
In recent years, authorities have made it much easier for investors to gain exposure to shares on China’s stock market.
The government opened the Chinese mainland market through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect in 2014 and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect in 2016.
Last year, global index compiler MSCI included China large-cap A shares on its MSCI Emerging Markets Index, marking another step forward for China’s assimilation into the global financial marketplace.
In September, FTSE Russell, an index in London, announced that it would add the Chinese mainland’s yuan-denominated A shares to its global equity benchmarks in phases, starting in June this year.
The long-awaited ShanghaiLondon Stock Connect is expected to be launched this year.
Under the link, Chinese companies listed in the A-share market will be able to raise money in London, while Chinese investors will be able to purchase shares in British companies, but the investors will not be able to raise fresh funds.