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QFII scheme to be finetuned
( 2003-10-25 10:17) (China Daily)

China will improve the qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII) scheme to attract more foreign players as the country's capital market opens wider, an official with the country's foreign exchange authorities said on Thursday.

The authorities would gradually adjust the eligibility criteria, investment quotas and foreign exchange controls, based on the condition of the stock market and opening-up of the capital market, said Zheng Yang, deputy director of the department of capital account management of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

Foreign institutions have responded well to the QFII scheme, which was introduced at the end of last year. The smooth operation of the scheme has provided valuable experience for the overall opening-up of the capital market and the reform to realize convertibility of the renminbi, said Zheng, who was attending an international seminar on the fund industry in Beijing.

Nine foreign companies have acquired licences and eight of them have got a combined US$975 million investment quota to buy A shares, bonds and mutual funds.

And five to six more overseas institutions have applied for the QFII licence, according to Zheng.

At least two of the nine who have been given quotas have applied for an increase - UBS and HSBC Holdings.

UBS said it has used up its US$300 million limit and is applying to SAFE for a quota of up to US$500 million, according to Nicole Yuen, head of China equities at UBS Securities Asia.

UBS made its maiden investment three months ago, ordering shares in telecom company ZTE Corp, Baoshan Iron and Steel, Shanghai Port Container and Sinotrans Air.

Yuen said the decline of China's stock market had not dampened foreign investors' enthusiasm for A shares; instead, they are waiting for the opportunity to reap big profits since the shares are comparatively much cheaper than before.

HSBC Holdings has applied to increase its investment quota, the bank said yesterday. "I can confirm that we have made an application to increase our quota," an HSBC spokesman in Hong Kong said.

He declined to say how much HSBC had applied for and whether the bank had used up the US$50 million quota it had already been allowed.

HSBC was initially granted a smaller-than-expected quota.

A QFII can apply for foreign-exchange quota to be used for securities investment ranging from US$50 million to US$800 million.

It has to find a custodian bank and a domestic securities company to handle the investment.

Zheng said the implementation of QFII lays a solid foundation for the launch of the qualified domestic institutional investor (QDII) scheme, which would allow mainland institutions to invest in overseas capital market. He added, however, that there is no timetable for its introduction yet.

Agencies contributed to this story

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