Province hopes more will follow as exchanges compete to attract share issues Three private firms from Zhejiang have opted to list their shares on Singapore's stock market rather than in Hong Kong and the province hopes that they will be the first of dozens to list in the city state. The three are Zhejiang 8Telecom, a telecommunications company with assets of 200 million yuan (HK$188 million), Hangzhou Youkang Group, whose principal business is the manufacture of cold drinks, frozen food and dairy products, and Shaoxing Jishan Group, with assets of 450 million yuan, which manufactures and dyes textiles. Competition is intensifying between London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore to attract Chinese companies that cannot obtain a listing on a domestic market. The Hong Kong stock exchange opened an office in Beijing last week and the London exchange plans to open one shortly. While New York and London want big-cap state companies, Hong Kong and Singapore are also competing for medium-sized firms, whether state- or foreign-owned or private. The three will be the first private firms from Zhejiang, one of the richest provinces in China, to conduct initial public offerings in Singapore. In October last year Hangzhou Jinyi Food, a private firm from Zhejiang, bought 31.54 per cent of a listed firm in Singapore to obtain a listing. A spokesman for 8Telecom said that originally the company considered the market, environment and procedures in Hong Kong better but a visit to Singapore led to a change of plan. 'We do not need the approval of the China Securities Regulatory Commission [CSRC]. All we have to do is meet the listing conditions. We will use the money raised for investment,' he said. The earliest date for the listing will be March. Ding Mingzhe, director of Zhejiang province's listing office, said that it had picked the three firms, from different sectors, as model companies. 'Many private companies in Zhejiang want to list. We hope that the listing of these three will serve as a model case for others to follow in Singapore.' Private firms have complained that the CSRC gives preference to state companies and that they have difficulty in gaining access to the markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen, unless they acquire firms already listed.