NOMURA International (Hong Kong), a latecomer to Hong Kong's equity market, is seeking to become a key player in public offerings for both local and mainland enterprises. Nomura (Hong Kong) has come a long way in brokerage business as four years ago a major part of of its profit came from Japanese-related business. Last year, it was the underwriter for 12 public offering, ranking number five in Hong Kong. ''The group's strategy is to establish itself as an Asian rather than a Japanese financial house. In marketing the Hong Kong equities, the company has recently recruited a number of top local stock traders and analysts,'' Nomura (Hong Kong) president Haruyuki Kanda said. He said that Nomura has approached a number of mainland enterprises for a potential role in the H shares underwriting. It has also secured the job of being sponsor and lead underwriter for the coming Dong Fang Electrical Machinery listing, one of the first batch of H shares. Apart from being heavily involved in the listings of Japanese firms like Yaohan and lately Jusco, Mr Kanda stressed that Nomura was also keen on bringing Asian companies to the Hong Kong stock exchange. On the back of the sparkling performances of southeast Asian stock markets and their closer relationship, he expected to see more cross-border listing activities in the region. ''For instance, Malaysia's Rothmans is looking for a Hong Kong listing while the Bank of East Asia is considering going to the Shanghai Stock Exchange,'' Nomura syndicate section chief manager Tatsuro Higashi said. During the latest bull run in the Asian markets, Nomura has emerged as a major promoter of Japan's newly discovered neighbours in terms of equity markets. Since the last quarter of last year, about HK$15 billion was estimated to have gone into the region beyond Japan through Nomura's own network. As at the end of last year, total investment through Nomura in the region stood at about $46.5 billion. Dismissing the current volatility as healthy correction, Mr Kanda said that Nomura was already considering increasing the size of the Asian Growth Fund which targeted Japanese retail investors and was launched late last year. ''The long term adjustment in the Japanese economy would continue to affect investors' outlook on the Asian stocks which provide new outlets for investment,'' he said. On the convertible bond front, Nomura was the third largest underwriter in Asia last year, after Morgan Stanley and Jardine Fleming. Mr Higashi said the company had arranged the first Swiss franc and deutschmark denominated convertible bonds for Hong Kong companies last year. Mr Kanda expected to see an increase in the number and volume of convertible bonds to be issued by companies in Asia this year. ''Hong Kong may see less issuance. But the enterprises in the Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand as well as China, are expected to rely on this cheap financing tool,'' he said. Diversification in nature of the issuing companies, issuance markets, and structure of the new issues was also expected, he added. Tapping into the mainland market, Nomura recently established a consultancy with CITIC which aided Japanese enterprises identifying investment opportunities in China. As to direct investment, Nomura has built a hotel in Shanghai and set up a joint leasing company with Chinese government units, including the People's Construction Bank of China.