The first batch of nine H-share companies listed overseas will keep their 15 per cent corporate tax rate for last year and this year. The nine companies - including Shanghai Petrochemical and Tsingtao Brewery - will continue to enjoy the tax perks under a notice issued by the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation, according to a report in the Shanghai Securities News yesterday. 'The news is positive for the companies and its investors. But questions remain as to whether the policy will remain after this year,' said Stephen Lee, a tax partner at Ernst & Young. There has been concern the tax privileges granted to the nine companies would be cancelled, as Beijing intends to unify corporate tax rates. Mainland enterprises now pay 33 per cent corporate tax, but foreign enterprises in special economic zones are charged 15 per cent tax on profits and 24 per cent in coastal cities. To boost share sales, the nine companies picked for overseas listings were granted a special corporate tax rate of 15 per cent, from 1993. The first batch also includes Kunming Machine Tool, Beiren Printing Machinery, Maanshan Iron & Steel, Guangzhou Shipyard, Yizheng Chemial Fibre, Dongfeng Electrical Machinery and Tianjin Bohai Chemical.