Mainlanders could be allowed to invest in Hong Kong stocks under the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) scheme as early as this year, according to China's central bank chief. Preparations for QDII have been ongoing since plans were unveiled by former People's Bank of China (PBOC) governor Dai Xianglong last year. Under the scheme, mainlanders will be allowed to invest some of their trillions of yuan in savings in overseas-quoted stocks under a government-controlled registration system. Yesterday, Mr Dai's successor at the PBOC, Zhou Xiaochuan, said: 'The chances are there that [QDII] could be in place this year. 'The central bank has taken a very pro-active approach towards this development. We will try our best [to make it happen]. 'In principle, the scheme allows qualified domestic institutions to invest overseas. That, of course, includes Hong Kong stocks,' he said on the sidelines of the National People's Congress. Last year's news that mainland funds might be allowed to flow into Hong Kong prompted frenetic buying of mainland-backed red chips and H shares. Those mainland-backed stocks have since lost value after few details were forthcoming. 'Various government departments are now co-ordinating this issue,' Mr Zhou said. 'But I don't want to put pressure on other departments [to speed up their work].' He said the size of the pilot scheme might be limited. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) is playing a key role in implementing the QDII scheme. SAFE chief Guo Shuqing last week listed QDII as one of several initiatives for the liberalisation of China's capital account. While seeing QDII as a good development, Mr Zhou said comprehensive preparation was needed before it could be introduced. He also believed QDII could form part of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Hong Kong and the mainland, details of which will be revealed later this year.