Shanghai-London Stock Connect: A symbol of UK-China cooperation
Richard Fairchild

Editor's note: Richard Fairchild is an associate professor at the Finance of School of Management at the University of Bath. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Since September 2015 when China and the UK launched a feasibility study, both countries have been working towards establishing the Shanghai-London Stock Connect. After many barriers and problems, the great news is that the Stock Connect has opened on June 17, 2019.

The idea behind this program is that companies in China and UK will be able to cross-list on each other's stock markets, opening up both markets to each others' companies. This has potential economic benefits for firms and investors alike. For firms, it expands their investor base, enabling an enlarged access to capital and liquidity. For investors in each of the countries, it expands their investment opportunities, with greater promise of returns, and diversification opportunities.

Following work by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, China published the rules for the program in October 2018. However, the first planned launch in early December 2018 was pushed back to January 2019, and then further postponed, due to continual uncertainty over the timings and outcomes of the Brexit vote in the House of Commons in London.

A view of Shanghai. /VCG Photo

A view of Shanghai. /VCG Photo

All barriers have now been removed thanks to the joint efforts by both sides. UK Chancellor Philip Hammond launched the Shanghai-London Stock Connect on Monday. The launch was preceded by a visit to London by Chinese Vice Premier, Hu Chunhua, for talks with Hammond. At the launch event, agreement was made on wider market access for British beef and pork in China, as well as a one-billion-pound (around 1.25 billion U.S. dollars) fund to help UK firms expand in Chinese markets.

The Shanghai-London Stock Connect initiative allows companies from China and the UK to sell shares through dual listings on each others' exchanges, allowing companies from each country to raise capital from investors in the other country. As Hammond said: "Stock Connect is a ground-breaking initiative, which will deepen our global connectivity, as we look outwards to new opportunities in Asia." He added, "London is a global financial center like no other, and today's launch is a strong vote of confidence in the UK market."

Rather than direct shares, the system enables investors in either country to hold global depository receipts in shares of the foreign company without the associated risks of foreign investing, such as differences in currency and accounting practices. The UK is seeking to thrive in China's growing market. China is expected to have more than 17 trillion U.S. dollars in assets-under-management (AUM) by 2030, compared to 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars AUM in 2016. Shanghai listed Huatai Securities has used the Stock Connect initiative to make its debut on the London Stock Market.

A view of London. /VCG Photo

A view of London. /VCG Photo

Cooperation between the UK and China has overcome a number of barriers and problems launching this scheme. As the great U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt once said: "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty."

Beyond the economic benefits, we would argue that the behavioral, psychological and cultural benefits are enormous. The scheme may be considered as a symbol of China-UK increased integration, understanding and cooperation at a time when the UK is severing its links with Europe and looking to expand its cooperation with other parts of the world.

Indeed, from the Chinese viewpoint, it has been argued that China is pushing on with the program partially as a response to the U.S. trade war and barriers to free trade being imposed by U.S. President Trump's increasingly protectionist stance. If the scheme promotes financial and economic integration between the UK and China, this must be of enormous mutual satisfaction and benefit!

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at