Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is in talks with nine major exchanges to forge a global equity market with a capitalisation of more than US$20 trillion. The market - to be called the Global Equity Market - would be aimed at providing investors around the world with a transparent, 24-hour trading environment for global companies, the exchanges said in joint news release yesterday. Investors would be able to access the new market through their domestic stock exchanges, the statement said. 'The agreement we are formulating will strengthen and globalise our markets throughout the Americas and between time zones,' said Richard Grasso, chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which is leading the discussions to set up the market. 'We are excited by the challenge this great opportunity presents.' Other exchanges involved in the talks are: Tokyo Stock Exchange, Australian Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange, Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, Bolsa de Valores de Sao Paulo, and Euronext - which groups the Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris bourses. The exchanges have held explorative talks on the feasibility of the Global Equity Market, which would provide investors around the world with a transparent, 24-hour trading mechanism. However, the exchanges gave no schedule for when the combined market would be formed. 'Investors will be able to access the Global Equity Market through their domestic stock exchanges, which will keep their brands and individual standing while participating in a virtual global pool of liquidity,' the exchanges said in their joint statement. The venture would be the world's largest alliance of exchanges in terms of market capitalisation. Notably absent from the alliance are the London Stock Exchange - Europe's largest - the New York Stock Exchange's domestic rival Nasdaq and the SAR's major rival the Singapore Stock Exchange. This would put the world's equity markets into two camps - the NYSE alliance and the Nasdaq grouping. The Nasdaq recently announced that it was forming a joint venture with the London and Frankfurt exchanges to bring trading of United States technology stocks to Europe. Last month, London and Frankfurt announced plans to create a European giant called iX, or International Exchanges, with stocks worth about 4.8 trillion euros (about HK$33.76 trillion). The Nasdaq has also formed a venture with Asia's largest Internet Investment company Softbank - Nasdaq Japan - which is expected to open on June 19. The venture expects to list 120 companies by next summer and to capture as much as 60 per cent of the initial public offerings in Japan during the next year. Both the NYSE and the Nasdaq have been competing beyond their domestic market by reaching out to form alliance with other exchanges. Hong Kong is the only exchange to have a foot in both camps. Last week it combined with the Nasdaq under a pilot scheme of cross-exchange trading involving seven Nasdaq companies - including Microsoft and Starbucks - being traded in Hong Kong. Charles Lee Yeh-kwong, chairman of the SAR exchange said: 'Hong Kong is committed to the concept of a 24-hour global market linking the three main time zones and is in close co-operation with international exchanges to achieve this.' He said nothing of the potentially conflicting situation that the Hong Kong market could face by being in both alliances. However the prospective new alliance does not worry London. A London Stock Exchange official told the AFX news agency: 'Liquidity will be with us and it will be up to others to take that from us. Interesting developments are part of the consolidation of markets on a global basis. We recognise the trend towards consolidation and expect it to continue.'