The Shenzhen Stock Exchange hopes to move into the 34-storey Shum Yip Centre in Luohu district, where it is the anchor tenant owning 18 storeys, as early as this year. Exchange officials said renovation work had begun following the completion of the prime office tower three weeks ago. The centre was built by red chip Shum Yip Investment, the listed arm of the Shenzhen municipal government in Hong Kong. Property consultants have put the exchange's cost for the property at 15,000 yuan (about HK$13,935) per square metre, or about 551 million yuan for half of the building's 73,542 square metres of gross floor area. The exchange's move comes as it faces an acute shortage of space at its six-storey headquarters in the industrial Futian district. The building could no longer meet its rapid expansion. The exchange has more than 20 departments and a workforce of about 400. The move is also part of plans to centralise all operations under one roof. These were spread out due to space constraints. One exchange official said: 'With share settlement at the Great Theatre [at Hongling Zhong Road in the city], clearing company at another office in [Hongling Zhong Road] and the main office [in Futian], too much time has been spent on running around liaising.' Property consultants said the location was ideal for the exchange because the concentration of high-rises in the newly zoned commercial district could serve as a draw to financial institutions. Several securities houses are understood to have signed up as tenants of Shum Yip Centre. Officials said the exchange's office in the fast-emerging Futian would be used for back-up purposes such as the displacement of computer systems and for training programmes. They said the trading hall would be kept to serve a minority of geographically remote places where scripless trading was not allowed through electronic systems. Screen-based share trade is the main form of trading in Shenzhen, and officials say floor traders account for less than 1 per cent of the shares traded. Great Theatre, which houses the exchange's first trading hall and the settlement division, would no longer be rented after the move, the officials said. They said there would be no trading hall in Shum Yip Centre. In Shanghai, the stock exchange is about to move into the Shanghai Securities Building in Pudong, across the Huangpu river, after consistent delays dating back to last year.