SHARES of China's state-owned enterprises listed in Hong Kong have proved their resilience in a falling stock market, with the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (CEI) jumping two per cent on its launch yesterday. ''The performance of the index verifies that H shares are independent of the Hong Kong stock market,'' said Richard Wong, investment manager at HSBC Asset Management. The CEI finished ahead 26.44 points at 1,323.71, compared with a drop of 64.34 points, or 0.67 per cent, for the blue-chip Hang Seng Index. However, it closed substantially down from the session's peak of 1,365.48 points. The main feature of yesterday's trading on the CEI was the performance of Maanshan Iron and Steel (Magang) and Shanghai Petrochemical, which between them accounted for more than half of the weighting of the index, which comprises 10 H share counters. Magang advanced 13 cents, or 4.6 per cent, to $2.93, while Shanghai Petrochemical put on six cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $2.36. Nelson Li, a broker at MeesPierson Securities (Asia), compared the two stocks with Hongkong Telecom and HSBC Holdings, which were the Hang Seng's most heavily weighted stocks. Critics claim that the CEI's performance could be easily be manipulated by moving these two dominant counters. Of the other H share counters, Kunming Machine, which represents only a 1.32 per cent weighting of the index, jumped 15 cents, or 4.1 per cent, to $43.65. Luoyang Glass edged up four cents to $3.55, and Yizheng was steady at $2.38. Mr Li said players that practised arbitrage buying were taking up H shares in anticipation of the introduction of derivatives on the stocks after more had been included in the CEI. He added that there had been some follow-through buying interest from retail investors. Mr Wong said the release of positive economic statistics for Hong Kong had also encouraged investors to buy H shares. He pointed to the easing of the problem of triangle debts, the steady inflation rate and the trade surplus in June. He said H shares were now a bargain at 15 times prospective 1994 earnings, compared with 23 times at the end of last year. As an official benchmark, Mr Wong said the CEI would raise the profile of H shares and attract more interest from overseas investors. However, Simon Li, of SHK Fund Management, is not convinced by the improving economic scenario in the mainland. He believes the Chinese Government is having difficulty implementing its policies. He said the demand for H shares was a rather artificial, as some China fund managers might buy into the two main counters in a bid to move in line with the performance of the index. In a related development, Qingling Motors Co said its public offering of 100 million shares in Hong Kong was subscribed 22.5 times, locking $4.9 billion into the interbank market. Its international placement of 400 million shares was also well received. Qingling, the latest H share offering on the Hong Kong stock market, will begin trading next Wednesday. The light duty truck maker set a record by pricing its shares at the nine times earnings, the lowest ever to be offered by a mainland state-owned enterprise.