Xi says China will set up 3rd stock exchange in Beijing

BEIJING (AP) — China will set up its third mainland stock exchange to serve private companies in its capital, Beijing, President Xi Jinping said Thursday, expanding official support for entrepreneurs in the state-dominated economy.

The announcement comes as China’s companies face mounting hurdles to raising money on Wall Street or in other Western markets, where some of its biggest enterprises have raised billions of dollars.

China will “establish the Beijing stock exchange and create a service-innovation-oriented main position for small and medium-size enterprises,” Xi said at a trade fair, using the ruling Communist Party’s term for private companies.

Xi gave no details of the planned exchange or when it might open.

The first mainland stock exchange since the 1949 communist revolution opened in Shanghai in 1990 to raise money for state-owned companies. A second exchange opened in the southern city of Shenzhen, adjacent to Hong Kong, in 1991.

They have gradually added some private enterprises but still are dominated by state-owned companies. Private companies including e-commerce giant Alibaba Group have turned to Western exchanges and Hong Kong to raise money.

Shenzhen added a separate trading board in 2004 for private enterprises. Shanghai added a board for technology companies in 2019.

China’s leaders have repeatedly promised to improve access to financing for entrepreneurs who generate new jobs and wealth. But the state-run financial industry still lends mostly to government industry.

The government has launched data security and other crackdowns against Chinese internet companies since late last year, prompting warnings it will be harder to obtain permission to join foreign stock exchanges.

The crackdowns have fueled investor unease, wiping hundreds of billions of dollars off the stock market value of Chinese companies.