THE exchanges in Shenzhen and Shanghai have applied for seats on the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs (FIBV) to upgrade their profile among world stock markets. Membership of the Paris-based federation of stock exchanges would boost international recognition of the fledgling markets. A spokesman for the Shenzhen exchange yesterday confirmed that initial contact has been made between Shenzhen and FIBV officials. He believed that being a member of the federation constituted an important step to better market development. He said the application had been lodged for only a short time and had no idea of when membership would be granted. Aside from its annual general assembly, FIBV holds workshops every year to allow members a chance to exchange ideas on subjects including settlement systems and stock market regulation. It also provides a forum for exchanges to share information and data regarding market development. A Hongkong stock exchange official said the two mainland exchanges probably would apply for associate membership first before graduating to full membership in two years' time. Founded in 1933, FIBV has developed from a club-type body in Europe into an organisation with more than 40 exchange members from around the world. The Hongkong stock exchange became a full member of the organisation in 1987. Efforts have been made by the two mainland exchanges to develop better, internationally recognised trading systems since early last year when they were first opened to foreign investors.