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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The New York Stock Exchange is focusing on the Far East. It wants to attract more companies from that region, especially China. This week NYSE Chief John Thain is visiting China to pick up some new listings from companies. Thain told the state-run People's Daily that the New York Stock Exchange had applied for permission to set up a Beijing office. Here's Ruth Kirchner from the Chinese capital.


RUTH KIRCHNER: Currently only 18 companies from mainland China are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and while its CEO John Thain wants to attract more, consultant Andy Rothman in Shanghai says it could be a tough sell.


ANDY ROTHMAN: Well the traditional argument had been made that if you needed to tap into global liquidity you needed to go to New York, and that's clearly no longer the case. Now it's very clear that an increasing number of mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds are coming out here to where the action is.

And the action has been in Hong Kong rather than New York for another very good reason.

ROTHMAN: The regulatory and supervisory hurdles are significantly lower in Hong Kong and I'm certainly not saying that's a good thing, but it's what the companies consider.

He says the NYSE will have to convince Chinese firms that stricter rules in the U.S. on financial disclosure and corporate governance could boost credibility and attract investors.

In Beijing, I'm Ruth Kirchner for Marketplace.