More than 100 foreign invested companies have shown interest in listing shares on a mainland stock market and the first offer is expected next year, according to the Liberation Daily. The newspaper did not give a source for its tally of the number of interested companies or say which firm would be the first to sell A shares to domestic investors. But it attributed the timing to an unnamed official of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the stock market watchdog. The paper said Shanghai authorities had received written expressions of interest from 14 companies with operations in the city. Foreign-owned or foreign-invested companies have offered B shares, which were initially designed for foreign investors, but so far the A-share market has been off limits to foreign corporations. While a number of corporations said they were interested in making an A-share offering, the newspaper report said there was more extensive interest and speedier clearance of regulatory hurdles than had been expected. Unilever has long been eager to list its shares on the Shanghai stock market, while Taiwan-based bicycle maker Giant, the Bank of East Asia and HSBC talked of the possibility of offering shares. The Shanghai paper said other interested companies included Kodak and Michelin - which has a joint venture with Shanghai Tyre and Rubber - as well as Cimic, a Taiwan-invested maker of ceramic tiles. Taiwan-backed Grace, which is building a semiconductor plant in Shanghai, wanted to list some of its non-semiconductor units. Regulators had said they wanted to see multinationals added to local exchanges to enhance the quality of listed companies. Most of the 1,100 companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets are state owned and many have produced dismal profit records. Market regulators also said, however, that foreign-invested companies would have to wait their turn and some would have to reorganise as shareholding firms.