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China to Launch Nasdaq-Style Exchange in 2008

China is expected to set up a long-delayed Nasdaq-style stock exchange next year, an industry official was quoted on Monday as saying.

The exchange will be launched formally in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in 2008, Wang Shouren, vice chairman of Shenzhen-based Venture Capital Association, was quoted by official Chinese newspapers as saying.

The application to set up the exchange to fund start-ups is being processed by China's cabinet, the Shanghai Securities News cited Wang as saying at a domestic financial forum.

China has long considered such an exchange, where listing thresholds are much lower than main boards. But the plan was delayed partly because of the burst of the Internet bubble in 2000.

But calls among domestic financial industry officials for setting up such an exchange have been growing over the past year, as foreign bourses step up their efforts woo Chinese listings.

Such an exchange will provide an exit route for private equity investors, who have poured billions of dollars into the world's fastest-growing major economy.

The China Securities Journal carried a similar report on Monday. It also said more than 1,000 domestic enterprises were hoping to list on the proposed Nasdaq-style board.

China launched its main stock exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen in the 1990s, where most of the more than 1,400 listed companies are state-controlled firms. It opened a second board in Shenzhen especially for small and medium-sized firms in 2004.

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