THE Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is playing a role in upgrading the country's links with China, but Australian financial institutions remain cautious about mainland companies, says an ASX official. Rory Collins, national director of marketing for the ASX, yesterday said the Australian exchange had now listed 10 China concept companies and was keen to list more even though their trading volume was still minimal. 'It's in the form of dipping a toe into the water,' he said. 'We are asking to increase the number of Chinese companies listed, but it's dependent on whether the institutions take them up and are interested in them. 'At the moment everybody is on a wait and see basis.' He said Australian financiers were concerned about disclosures of Chinese companies and it would take time until they were confident that they were up to the standard taken for granted by firms in Australia. 'It's a matter of perception. It's like anything. You start in a small way and hope it will grow,' Mr Collins said. Mr Collins is in Hong Kong to attend the 1995 Asia-Pacific Exchange Technology conference and exhibition. He said the listings were tangible evidence of the ASX's determination to enhance Australia's links with China and the rest of the region. The Melbourne Exchange building hosted an Asian open day last month to promote regional links, and the event drew a great deal of interest. 'You have to realise an enormous number of people from the region now live in Australia, very respected business people, and a lot of people in the region were educated in Australia.' Mr Collins said another factor drawing Australia closer to the rest of the region was the technological advances in regional stock exchanges. 'Technology delivers access and reach. It provides access to the markets for other participants and extends the reach of stock exchanges. 'Australians now want to know what Asian stock markets are doing. 'We see the information on television every night. It used to be cricket.' He foresaw a time when the region's stock exchanges would be combined as part of a global financial network. The conference and exhibition at the Sheraton Hotel discusses the impact of technology on the operations of the securities and derivatives exchanges. It ends tomorrow.