Xinhua Finance undeterred by obstacles in first year

TOKYO: Xinhua Finance Ltd, the first foreign company to list its shares solely in Tokyo, said it has encountered many unexpected obstacles during its first year of trading, but it plans to stay the course. 

Hong Kong-based Xinhua, a five-year-old financial information service provider that focuses on China, made its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers market for start-ups last October. But various rules imposed on foreign firms restrict trading in its shares, Jae Lie, the company's chief operating officer, said yesterday. 

“A pioneer gets pierced by an arrow,” Lie said. “There are a lot of investors that want to buy our stock but can't ... due to a lot of regulatory or systems issues.” 

Xinhua's listing, the first for a Chinese company in Japan, was a major victory for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Asia's biggest, which has been courting Asian firms to strengthen its position among bourses in the region. The outreach effort follows moves by many Western companies to leave the bourse because of high costs and low trading volumes. 

But the Tokyo exchange bans margin trading in foreign companies' stocks, while many brokerages bar their shares from cheap and easy online trading, which now accounts for a fourth of Japan's domestic stock deals. 

A cumbersome settlement system for foreign investors also limits those investors' dealings in Xinhua's shares, he said. 

“The system, the practice and the regulations ... that's why Japan has not been able to internationalise previously,” he said. 

Xinhua, an affiliate and partner of China's state news agency, aims to provide comprehensive China-related financial services to investors market indexes, ratings, news wires and investor relations as China gradually opens up its heavily regulated capital markets. – Reuters  

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