China, HK exchanges discussing adding hot STAR shares to Stock Connect

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Stock exchanges in mainland China and Hong Kong are discussing adding the Nasdaq-style STAR Market to a scheme connecting the two markets, the Chinese securities watchdog said on Friday, which would give foreign investors access to some of the country’s hottest shares.

The inclusion of shares listed on the tech-focused STAR Market would help promote the stable development of the board, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a regular Friday news briefing.

The Shanghai exchange launched the STAR Market in July last year as Beijing seeks to boost its self-sufficiency in technology amid continued U.S. restrictions on its tech firms.

As of Thursday, 186 companies were listed on the board, with a combined market value of nearly 3 trillion yuan ($449.71 billion).

The SSE STAR50 index, a benchmark index tracking the STAR Board, has gained more than 30% so far this year despite the coronavirus outbreak as investors bet on more government support for the sector.

The Stock Connect linking Hong Kong and mainland exchanges allows foreign investors access to the A-share market.

There is still a lot of room for foreign investors to boost their holdings in China’s onshore equities, said Fu Yanping, an analyst with China Galaxy Securities.

Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill