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Asset reform eyes overseas capital
( 2003-08-16 08:50) (China Daily)

Foreign capital will play an increasingly active role in Shanghai's property transaction market as the accelerated process of reshuffling State-owned assets provides more and more opportunities, sources at the ongoing Shanghai International Corporate Finance Expo 2003 revealed.

Foreign-funded enterprises, despite SARS, clinched a total of 34 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) through the Shanghai Assets and Equity Exchange during the first five months of this year, nearly twice the figure for the same period last year, involving a total of 113.2 million yuan (US$13.7 million), according to statistics released at the three-day non-official exposition.

"There are many more opportunities ahead for overseas investors in China's property transaction market, especially in re-organizing State-owned assets," said Xu Zhigang, board director of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

Currently, overseas capital transactions at the exchange are still mainly connected with foreign enterprises' expansion into China's market.

Xu noted in his keynote speech at the expo Friday that Chinese authorities, by establishing specialized State asset management institutions, are stimulating the acceleration of the reshuffling of the country's massive State-owned assets.

"It will be a key segment of the country's capital market in the coming years and the Chinese Government has begun to encourage private and overseas capital to join in the process," he said.

China's State assets, propelled by the country's robust economy, promise great growth potential under proper management, he said.

"As Chinese authorities continue to loosen policy restrictions, more foreign capital is expected to enter the country's State-owned banking and industrial sectors," said Xu.

And the ratio of non-performing assets in China's State banks is also expected to be reduced in the coming years.

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