Shenzhen vice-mayor Guo Rongjun yesterday dismissed rumours that Beijing might soon allow the city's stock exchange to resume A-share initial public offerings (IPOs). Speaking on the conference sidelines, he said months of lobbying 'could not change the central government's decision'. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has barred yuan-denominated A-share IPOs from the Shenzhen exchange since September 2000. The ban was part of Beijing's plan to merge the Shanghai and Shenzhen main boards into one board in Shanghai. Shenzhen would, instead, house a Nasdaq-style second board. The second board was initially scheduled to launch late 2000. But it has been delayed by the bursting of the global technology bubble and concerns about regulatory maturity. Shenzhen officials said last October they would lobby the CSRC to lift the ban due to the second board's delayed launch. CSRC chairman Zhou Xiaochuan was later quoted as saying: 'The chances of resuming A-share listings in Shenzhen now are slim.' However, market rumours in Shenzhen's favour have appeared periodically. The latest was spread by the mainland newspaper International Finance News, which said listings might resume in Shenzhen as early as September. 'It is understandable for the city to harbour such wishes,' Mr Guo said yesterday. '[But] the central government has not changed its position.' Shenzhen has some sympathetic ears. Cheng Siwei, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, argued last year that China did not possess enough high-technology firms to warrant a separate technology board. He advocated instead the setting up of a hi-tech sector on the Shenzhen stock exchange. 'We very much hope Mr Cheng Siwei would pitch that idea more vigorously to the central government,' Mr Guo said. The ban has broken a carefully maintained balance between the two exchanges, with more listings diverted to Shanghai. Shenzhen has 489 A-share stocks against Shanghai's 667. 'Before the second board's launch, we will actively encourage Shenzhen hi-tech companies to seek listings in Hong Kong,' Mr Guo said.