Singapore and Hong Kong exchanges to collaborate on yuan

HKex, SGX tie-up on yuan internationalization

The Singapore Exchange and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on Wednesday signed a deal to co-operate on a number of areas that include promoting the internationalization of the Chinese yuan.

The move reflects the growing importance of the , also known as the renminbi, in international trade and finance.

(Read more: Yuan now second most used currency in trade finance)

In a statement, the two exchanges said the co-operation would also focus on collaborating on technology development and regulatory issues.

Charles Li, CEO of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx), and Singapore Exchange CEO Magnus Böcker signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the collaboration in Singapore earlier on Wednesday, according to the statement.

"This is an MOU focusing on product development, technology collaboration and regulatory collaboration. It makes a lot of sense for us to do something together as the two leading Asian independent exchanges with an internationalized market," Li told CNBC.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg| Getty Images

Speaking about what opportunities the two exchanges see in the futures and derivatives business, Li said the overall focus would be on renminbi internationalization.

"As the primary offshore center for the renminbi, I've always believed strongly that we're talking about renminbi internationalization not hong-kongization," Li said. "We have to make sure that there are other international centers whether that's London, Singapore or New York."

In October, China said it would allow Singapore-based investors to buy securities denominated in the Chinese yuan. That moved followed a similar agreement in London to pave the way there for renminbi trading.

(Read more: China agrees renminbi accord with Singapore)

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) said that the yuan has overtaken the as the second most used currency international trade finance.

"Our collaboration with HKEx, through new products and services available on both exchanges, is yet another example how the Asian Gateway enables easier access to Chinese capital markets," Böcker said in a statement.

—By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC