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GEB May Launch in October

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The country's long-awaited NASDAQ-style second board could start around October with 40 listed firms, it was suggested on Sunday.

The opening of the second board, or growth enterprise board (GEB), has been timed to coincide with the completion of the initial public offering reform on the main board.

New listings were suspended in September last year because of excessive pricing abuse and the China Securities Regulatory Commission is drafting new rules to plug loopholes.

"We expect the new market regulations to be completed in August, when we will begin explaining the requirements to intermediaries, corporations and investors," Wang Wenli, a member of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SSE), said.

The SSE released the draft listing regulations for the GEB on Friday and has started soliciting public opinion.

"It will take two weeks to solicit opinion, then the formal regulations can come out. The transaction regulations for the GEB can be expected in two weeks, which will specify the capital threshold for investors," said Wang, who denied rumors the threshold could be as high as 300,000 yuan (US$44,000).

"Based on research on the small and medium-sized enterprises board, investors that are actively speculating usually have less than 30,0000 yuan in capital. The 50,000-yuan threshold might be high enough to avoid over-speculation."

Outstanding issues also include whether companies listed can transfer to the main board or other markets when they meet requirements.

Professionals who joined a forum to discuss the proposals welcomed the efficient delisting scheme of the GEB and also suggested shortening the lock-up period for shareholders to avoid speculation and introducing a market-maker system to enhance the quality of information disclosure.

(China Daily May 11, 2009)