Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hong Kong has kick-started a number of talked-about initiatives to internationalise the yuan - an ambitious task as the mainland becomes a major economic powerhouse. Li outlined measures during his city tour last week offering Hong Kong and overseas businesses new ways to invest in the mainland. Some of these ideas had long been discussed and speculated in the industry but few put into practice. Yesterday Shanghai Securities News and Xinhua reported that China could introduce regulations for a scheme allowing foreign and Hong Kong investors to use yuan to buy mainland stocks as early as next month. Li, who is expected to take over from Premier Wen Jiabao, received a warm response from the securities industry after announcing there would be an investment quota of 20 billion yuan (HK$24.4 billion) for Hong Kong companies or institutions to invest in mainland stocks. Official consultation was launched this week by China's Ministry of Commerce in relation to foreign direct investments on the mainland by Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau investors. The ministry is seeking comments from the financial industry about draft proposals on using yuan in cross-border trade settlements, and offshore yuan bond and equity issuances. Raymond Yeung, a senior economist with ANZ Research, said it took a high-powered top-level leader to co-ordinate different ministries, departments and bourses on the mainland and Hong Kong to push forward the long-awaited policies to promote the use of yuan. '[Li's visit signals] that he can be the next premier and this is to show that he has the power of execution,' said Yeung. The Shanghai Securities News said yesterday that the China Securities Regulatory Commission was to meet firms in Hong Kong to discuss the yuan-denominated qualified foreign institutional investors scheme, known as RQFII, citing unnamed sources from the securities regulator. Mainland securities firms are expected to be among the first to get approval to launch RQFII products. Yim Fung, president of Guotai Junan Securities, said last week that he believed the development of RQFII would be similar to the US dollar-denominated programme, which was launched in 2003.