A ZHUHAI medicines manufacturer plans to list on the Shenzhen stock exchange - despite the flat market. A successful listing will see Zhuhai Special Economic Zone Lizhu Pharmaceutical Group become the first medicines firm to be quoted in China. Zhuhai SEZ Lizhu will also become the first joint-stock company in Zhuhai, southwest of Shenzhen, to go public. Company president Xu Xiaoxian said the firm had been approved to issue both A and B shares. He said he expected the B shares to be issued this year, with the A share issues coming later. Peregrine Capital has been named international lead manager for the B share issue. Mr Xu dismissed suggestion that the lacklustre Shenzhen market would affect the issue, saying the company's unique nature would attract investors. ''The demand for medicinal products in China is on the increase,'' he said. ''The total market of over-the-counter medicinal products in China is worth more than 60 billion yuan [about $81.4 billion at official rates].'' Mr Xu said the funds raised would be used to expand the company. Founded in 1985, Zhuhai SEZ Lizhu produces medicinal products on a 80,000 square metre site, including a 20,000 sq m production area, with a workforce of about 1,000. It is a state-owned enterprise with the majority shareholder being Macau Nanyue - the commercial arm of Guangdong in Macau - with a 25 per cent interest. It has joint ventures in Shanghai and Guangdong, and representative offices in the United States and Hongkong. It produces four main categories of medicine: chemical products, diagnostic reagents, health products, and bio-chemical and bio-engineering products. Products are sold through distributors throughout China and direct to hospitals and pharmacies. Mr Xu said the company intended to put more emphasis on the manufacture of medicinal products through the transfer of new product formulas from other countries. It will also focus on the development of bio-chemical and bio-engineering products and antibiotics. The company also plans to invest in property development. Mr Xu said a site of 100,000 sq m beside the Zhuhai factory site had been secured for the construction of an office tower and medicine plant to international standards. Last year, the company recorded unaudited sales of about 700 million yuan, with total output amounting to 270 million yuan.