Shanghai Technology Exchange to open Hong Kong branch as China boosts digital economy

Shanghai Technology Exchange (STEX), China’s first permanent market for trading intellectual property rights to technologies, plans to open a Hong Kong branch, as the nation searches for ways to help domestic companies access global knowledge.

The outpost is expected to open next year, enabling Chinese firms to buy technologies from overseas entities and raise funds, STEX chairman Xie Jihua told the South China Morning Post during a media briefing in Shanghai on Thursday.

It marks the latest effort by China to facilitate cross-border technology transfer, as part of its ambitious blueprint to develop and transform its digital economy.

Established by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Shanghai municipal government, STEX allows mainland companies to buy technology-related intellectual property rights and those tied to scientific and technological achievements, from owners such as universities and research institutes.

The exchange officially launched its technology trading services in October 2020, after receiving approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the market regulator.

It is currently one of three national-level exchanges in the country that provide technology trading services, along with Beijing-based China Technology Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

So far this year, STEX recorded transactions worth 7.1 billion yuan (US$980 million), raising its accumulative transaction value to 39.6 billion yuan, according to official data.

As part of preparations for the Hong Kong branch, STEX in December signed a collaboration deal with the Hong Kong Digital Asset Exchange (HKbitEX), a cryptocurrency exchange, according to Xie.

The cooperation is intended to provide start-ups and other innovative businesses with easier access to technology trading and financing, through an open, transparent and efficient platform, HKbitEX said in a statement at the time.

STEX is also planning to open a branch in Singapore under its broader initiative to expand overseas, Xie said, without giving a timeline.

Shanghai, a Chinese financial and technology hub, has been doubling down on efforts to turn its digital economy into a new growth engine – a goal laid out by the local government in its 2023-25 digital economy master plan last August.

The city is also home to the Shanghai Data Exchange, which started trading data products in November 2021.

The exchange will be transformed into a larger “national-level data exchange” capable of covering transactions nationwide by next year, when some 5,000 data products are expected to be listed on the bourse, according to the municipal government.

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