LISTING foreign companies in China will benefit the companies more than the country's securities markets, according to mainland securities officials. A senior official of the Shanghai Securities Administration Office, who asked not to be named, said yesterday that, although foreign firms had said their listings could be advantageous to China, they had not said what benefits they expected to offer. But she agreed that the moves could raise the profile of China's stock markets worldwide and give foreign investors more knowledge about the emerging markets. Germany's biggest carmaker, Daimler-Benz, and one of Hong Kong's largest banks, Bank of East Asia, have both been vocal about their plans to seek secondary listings in Shanghai. And ''many others'' were preparing to list in China, particularly on the Shanghai exchange, the official said. ''In fact, the companies will be the major beneficiaries of the listings instead of China's securities market,'' she said. She added: ''As the companies are registered and are being run overseas, they do not have the required track record as ordinary listings in China.'' The main reason that the firms were planning mainland listings was to build up their reputation on the mainland, the official said. ''The possibility that the companies want to raise cash in China is slim, as the country is still in the process of attracting foreign capital,'' she added. She said that a listing could be the most convenient way for a company to establish its presence and to sell its products in a new market. ''It's just like Sony of Japan which has sought an (American depository receipt) listing in the US. ''Sony's example compares with Japan's Toshiba, which has been spending lots of money to advertise its products,'' she said. Daimler-Benz has reportedly said it has got the go-ahead from the Chinese authorities, and it would list, in the form of Chinese depository receipts (CDR), by the second half of this year. However, a spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said no approval had been granted so far to any company. ''We are still in the process of studying these proposals, and no approvals have been granted to any companies so far,'' the spokesman said. ''The ways for foreign firms to be listed in China are still being explored. Before we come to any solutions, the possibility of these plans [being successful] is 50:50,'' he said. Although he said the listings were welcome in principle, many issues had to be sorted out before a firm could be listed. The most feasible way for the companies to list would be through depository receipts (DR), the official said. There were two difficulties with DRs, she said. ''We can have DRs traded in foreign currencies as with B shares, but that will be meaningless because the local investors cannot officially buy foreign currencies, which means they cannot participate,'' she said. ''What's the use of creating DRs, intended to provide a convenient way for investors in the DR listing venue to buy the underlying stocks of the companies issuing DRs, when local investors cannot take part?'' ''We can also have DRs traded in yuan for domestic Chinese investors, but we don't want local money to be drawn away,'' she said. The official said that there were many technical difficulties at the moment, and they were looking closely at the possible ways of listing foreign firms.