Denied access to the domestic stock markets, private companies in northeast China are eager to list on the Hong Kong and Singapore markets. 'Shortage of capital is a major bottleneck for the development of many private companies in Liaoning,' said Wang Zengjie, director of the Shenyang City Private Company Development and Service Centre. 'Now is the best time for private companies to list abroad. They are very keen to take this opportunity.' He said 40 Chinese companies had listed in Singapore while mainland firms accounted for 88 per cent of money raised in Hong Kong last year. A delegation of Hong Kong tycoons visiting the northeast was yesterday scheduled to meet representatives from two companies that are seeking a Hong Kong listing - Changchun Dazheng Pharmaceutical and Tonghua Steel Group. The two are among more than 60 projects that were to be presented to the delegation during its two days in Changchun, capital of Jilin province and the third stop on the tycoons' northeast tour. Businessmen in Shenyang said it was hard for private companies to gain loans from state banks, unless they were wealthy and well-established. The authorities are considering the establishment of the Northeast Revival Bank, which should improve the provision of capital to private companies. Officials in the region said that the China Banking Regulatory Commission had not made its final decision on how large it should be, its shareholders or where it would be established. 'My guess is that most of the money will come from the central government, with local companies or banks only having a minority stake,' said one Changchun official. 'It would not make sense to form the bank by merging existing city commercial banks. Whether Hong Kong or foreign institutions could take a share is not clear here.' The northeast's four main cities - Dalian, Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin - are fighting to secure the headquarters of the bank.