COMPANY secretaries have been busy establishing a growing presence in China as the push for corporate governance on the mainland gathers momentum. The Hong Kong Institute of Company Secretaries has been devoting a growing amount of resources to the furthering of issues concerning the profession in China. And with good reason. While there is an improving corporate governance culture on the mainland, the rapid change that has defined the Chinese corporate sector since the mid-to-late 1980s has led to equally rapid development in company reporting requirements. It is also apparent that the concept of good corporate governance on the mainland is not one which has fully taken hold. The institute has this year signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. It has also established a representative office in Beijing - in a bid to bring corporate secretaries on the mainland into line with their counterparts in Hong Kong. It is a move the institute is clearly putting extensive resources into. The institute has been wasting no time in making sure it uses its new-found status on the mainland to establish a number of key initiatives. In May and July, training programmes for A-share and B-share company secretaries in Shanghai were run - with institute representatives addressing participants on the role, function and duties of company secretaries. A point driven home in these seminars, again, was the crucial importance of good corporate governance. Also in June, the China committee jointly organised a training programme for B-share company secretaries in Shenzhen. On that occasion, company secretaries were trained in their role, function and duties and introduced to the corporate governance concept. They were also briefed on Hong Kong's financial system and regulatory framework for securities trading - including listing rules. For their part, Chinese authorities have been starting to respond positively to the institute's initiatives. Both the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges published provisional bylaws for companies - requiring corporate secretaries to fulfil requirements of training programmes in which the institute participates. The institute China committee has also jointly arranged training programmes for A-share company secretaries with the Shanghai Exchange. In Shenzhen, the exchange has invited the institute to provide seminars on functions and practice of company secretaries for joint-stock companies preparing for listing in the region. Furthermore, a collaborative training programme for H-share companies is currently being considered in Hong Kong by the institute and City University. It all adds up to a quickly evolving presence for issues involving the institute on the Chinese corporate scene. The challenge for the local corporate secretaries' representative body is to continue to infiltrate the Chinese corporate culture - at least partly by broadening its mainland presence into other Chinese regions.