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Opinion

Beijing bourse: China’s busy bureaucrats

From Beijing’s plans to overhaul its small-business stock exchange to Shanghai’s push to be a global financial services leader, legislators never seem to rest in China.

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China’s army of financial bureaucrats must rank high on the list of the busiest people on the planet.

Rarely does a month go by without some rule change making the news. Most are mere tweaks to existing legislation, but a few represent real change and often come as a genuine surprise.

This was the case on September 3. Speaking at a trade conference in Beijing, president Xi Jinping revealed plans for a new stock exchange, to be based in the capital, with the aim of serving small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Within minutes, the securities regulator issued a statement describing the leadership as “excited” about the potential for funding the future financial needs of SMEs.

Three immediate thoughts come to mind.

It makes you wonder how many bourses the country really needs

First, the announcement caught almost everyone on the hop. “It came out of the blue,” says Harry Handley, a data analytics associate at Shanghai-based financial consultancy Z-Ben Advisors, who spends a good amount of the week trying to foresee this kind of thing.

Second, it’s a stark reminder of how little is known about the ruling party’s inner workings.



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