The Chinese yuan, also known as the renminbi, is already convertible under the current account - the broadest measure of trade in goods and services. However, the capital account, which covers portfolio investment and borrowing, is still closely managed by Beijing because of worries about abrupt capital flows.
Diversified Chongqing General plans listing
Chongqing General Trading (Group), the largest merchandise distribution company in western China, is considering a listing on Hong Kong's stock market, according to the city's mayor.
Speaking at a press conference hosted by the State Council on Chongqing's 10th anniversary as a municipality directly answerable to Beijing, mayor Wang Hongju said the group was among three companies aiming to list their entire assets in Hong Kong.
The other two are Chongqing Commercial Bank and Chongqing Machinery & Electronics Holding (Group), which had been reported by Hong Kong and mainland media earlier.
Mr Wang did not indicate any time frame or fund-raising target for Chongqing General's proposed listings.
Chongqing General Trading runs department, convenience and speciality stores as well as hotels. The company also is involved in property development and chemical production.
With total assets of 6.5 billion yuan, 191 sales points and 60,000 staff, it aims to more than double turnover to 40 billion yuan in 2010 from 15 billion yuan in 2005, according to its website.
Its unlisted flagship Chongqing New Century Department Store recorded a profit of 120 million yuan in 2005 on sales of 6.5 billion yuan. It did not specify whether it was pre- or after-tax profit.
The conglomerate also has a 32.1 per cent stake in Chongqing's only listed department store, Chongqing Department Store, which posted an audited 29.5 per cent year-on-year jump in net profit to 67.59 million yuan in the first three quarters of last year.
Turnover grew 35.6 per cent to 3.56 billion yuan.
Chongqing General has a wholly owned auto-trading unit that reported sales of more than two billion yuan last year, as well as a wholly owned electrical appliances distribution unit with annual turnover of more than one billion yuan.