THE China securities industry is buzzing with talk that Liu Hongru will resign as chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, a post he has held since the national securities watchdog was set up in 1992. Although no official announcement has been made on his imminent departure, talk of it has been circulating in the mainland securities industry for months. Speculation of his departure recently spread to Hong Kong. His successor is said to be Hong Hu, 54, the Vice-Minister of the State Commission for Restructuring the Economy. Mr Liu carried out his post-graduate studies at the Economics Department of Moscow University from 1955 to 1957, and later graduated from the Moscow Finance College with a doctorate in money and banking. Respected by many for his reformist beliefs, the 64-year-old Mr Liu is the architect of the historic move to list mainland companies overseas. To pave the way for listing by mainland companies in Hong Kong, he initiated the signing of an H share memorandum of understanding last year. China has so far chosen 31 companies to list overseas in two batches. The first batch of nine former state-owned enterprises were floated in Hong Kong, helping to raise HK$11.3 billion. All have been listed, except for Dongfang Electrical Machinery Co whose share offer closed on Tuesday. Among the second batch of 22 companies, 17 are slated to list in Hong Kong and five in New York. Hong Kong analysts expect these companies to raise a total of US$6 billion.