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September 22, 2009

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Barclays' ETF arm aims for mainland

THE world's biggest provider of exchange-traded funds said it's in talks with Chinese regulators about launching such products on the mainland.

IShares, which runs an ETF arm under Barclays Global Investors, said yesterday that it's particularly interested in the upcoming launches of two new boards in China.

"We have a wide range of choices, such as the growth enterprise board in Shenzhen and the international board in Shanghai," said Larry Lee, chief representative of Barclays Global Investor China.

"The China market is poised to embark on a robust path of ETF growth," he said. "There are only six ETFs listed on the mainland now, compared with 706 in the United States and 753 in Europe."

The company hasn't given a timetable or other details about its ETF plans. Lee said it will take time before it can begin offering the products on the mainland.

ETFs are open-ended index tracking funds listed and traded on stock exchanges. IShares offers more than 390 ETFs around the world, including seven in Hong Kong, with global assets under management of US$414 billion.

The company, which opened an office in Beijing earlier this year and launched its new Chinese name yesterday, said its key business on the mainland is serving institutions allowed to buy offshore investments under China's Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor program.

The turnover of ETFs listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen from January to July exceeded total turnover in 2008.


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