Chinese shares were lower as the long-awaited Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect launched today, which will give mainland investors access to Hong Kong-listed stocks, and allow international investors to trade Shenzhen-listed stocks.
The Shenzhen composite slipped 0.783 percent or 16.32 points at 2,068.17, but technology stocks bucked the trend to trade higher. Dongxu Optoelectronic Technology was up 3.62 percent at 13.47 yuan per share, while Shenzhen O-film Tech was up 6.45 percent at 37.49 yuan a share.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 0.75 percent by mid-afternoon.
The Shanghai composite shed 1.2 percent or 38.9 points at 3,204.95 after China securities regulator chairman Liu Shiyu called company buy-outs by some asset managers "barbaric" on Saturday.
Taiwan's benchmark Taiex closed down 0.31 percent or 28.83 points at 9,160.66. The east Asian country generated headlines over the weekend after Donald Trump tweeted that the Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen had given him a congratulatory phone call.
The conversation might have been viewed by China as a change in U.S. foreign policy, as it considers Taiwan a breakaway province. As well on Sunday, Trump has lashed out again at China, accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency, unfairly taxing U.S. products and militarizing the South China Sea.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.82 percent or 151.09 points at 18,274.99 while South Korea's Kospi ended down 0.37 percent 7.25 points at 1,963.36.
On the European news front, Renzi said Monday Asian time that Italian voters had shown a clear rejection of legislative reform and that he would meet with his cabinet on Monday and then hand in his resignation to the President Sergio Mattarella.
"The risks by Italy's 'no' vote was about the potential for political instability and the possibility of an election in Italy rather than with any missed opportunity for long term constitutional reform," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note on Monday.
"The real concern for markets is whether this situation may ultimately lead to election of the 5-Star Movement whose policy is to hold a referendum on whether Italy should remain in the euro zone. While it is unclear whether Italy can actually leave, the potential for a referendum like this would see significant risk premium built in to markets," he added.