The mainland's long-delayed plan to launch a second board for high-technology firms has not been scrapped, according to a top mainland securities regulator. China Securities Regulatory Commission chairman Zhou Xiaochuan said yesterday that the central government was committed to launching a market for tech firms but it did not know when it would do so. Mr Zhou said the regulatory authorities needed to revise the law for the second board to ensure it was prepared to cope with the sharp decline in the value of tech-related stocks. 'We are closer . . . to the second board's launch but even the [commission] does not know the timetable . . . we need to make revisions in response to the changes.' He said the second board was vital to the country's future economic development, which would rely on the hi-tech sector. The top regulator spoke on the sidelines of the Third China Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen, in an attempt to soothe public concerns about the delay in the second board's launch. Beijing was earlier reported to have put on hold the launch of the second board, regarded as central to Shenzhen's aspiration to become a regional hi-tech hub. Mr Zhou said the authorities would raise the requirements for prospective second-board listing candidates higher than originally planned. These would include requiring companies to have good corporate governance and disclosure. The authorities would also try to work out a mechanism to protect investor interests better, as well as grant the commission better defined and strengthened powers to investigate and prosecute violating companies. However, Mr Zhou cautioned that people should be prepared for possible flaws in the mechanism when the second board was launched and that improvements would be made through revisions. Mr Zhou also cited figures to defend the overall performance of the mainland's listed companies.