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New Australian bourse eyes on Chinese firms, investors of long-term growth

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CANBERRA, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Asia Pacific Stock Exchange (APX) , a renewed Australian stock exchange backed by Chinese Australian businessman George Wang, is set to launch early next year after given final approval by the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

"We are now ready to open an attractive alternative to the ( main bourse) ASX for companies and investors wanting to have more exposure to the remarkable Asian economic growth," Wang told Xinhua on Monday when announcing the news of final ASIC approval.

"In response to market feedback, we want APX to be a market attractive to both corporations and genuine medium- to long-term investors," APX Chief Operating Officer David Lawrence said on Monday.

"It gives Australian investors the opportunity to access the Chinese economy with the reassurance that the same strict regulatory standards apply to the Chinese companies listed as those which are on our local bourse," Lawrence said.

"For instance there will be no short selling allowed on APX and no encouragement of high-frequency traders."

Wang's AIMS Financial Group, a diversified financial services and investment group, acquired the stock exchange license after the collapse of the Austock Group in 2008 and had been working to obtain regulatory approval to launch APX since then.

The exchange initially will target listings of companies from mainland China and others in the region, Wang said. The approach distinguishes the business from other ASX-rival, Chi-X which heavily relies on the business of High-Frequency Trading (HFT).

So far, stockbrokers CMC Markets and BBY, Australia's biggest independent broker, have both signed up to the new exchange as approved brokers and 13 sponsors are working to bring companies to the market.

Andy Rogers, head of CMC Markets Stockbroking, said that the new exchange would also benefit local investors.

Glenn Rosewall, BBY executive chairman, said accessing Asian capital was essential for growth.

"Many opportunities are being unlocked through greater access to the Asia Pacific marketplace, and we are keen to get involved with any companies interested in listing on the APX," Rosewell said in a statement.

Wang told Xinhua that the exchange has established representations in Shenzen and Shanghai and said it was a committed future tenant of China's Qianhai special economic zone for financial services being established in Shenzen.

Wang said AIMS is now working on developing an online trading system for the exchange, which it hopes to make available to investors in Australia and mainland China.

Wang said the signing of the broker participants clears the last hurdle for the exchange to begin trading in the new year. Its market integrity and business rules were approved in late April by Bill Shorten, then financial services minister.

APX has held a market operator license since 2004 and attracted listings including the Sydney Futures Exchange but was largely dormant by the time AIMS bought it in 2008.

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