Stock market regulators have approved new rules allowing foreign brokerages with representative offices established in China for at least a year to apply for special membership of China's stock exchanges, Reuters reported. The new rule, which would give overseas brokers non-voting rights, took effect at the end of July. At the same time the Shanghai Stock Exchange announced that foreign brokerages could apply for floor seats to trade hard-currency B-shares, at an initial price of US$75,000 a seat. The Shenzhen market published similar rules in June.
Industry sources said that the change was largely symbolic. Although the previous rules had restricted foreign brokers to running representative offices and trading through domestic intermediaries, in practice the exchanges had been flexible in their interpretation of the rules and were already permitting many to trade from the floor.