Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin. [Photo/IC]

The Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin will visit China from Friday to Saturday in a bid to strengthen links between the capital markets of the two countries following last month’s launch of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect.

Estlin will visit Shanghai, Suzhou in Jiangsu province, and Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, together with Nikhil Rathi, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Plc, and attend several events and meetings with government and industry partners.

Two roundtable meetings will be held on the subject of capital market ties and promoting London as a center for initial public offerings and bond listings.

He will also attend a fintech forum that will feature speeches by the leaders of the Fosun Group and Ant Financial, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

“As China continues to expand and open up its economy, ties between our two countries continue to gather momentum and go from strength to strength, with bilateral trade now nearly 70 billion pounds ($87.2 billion),” Estlin said.

“This was again shown recently through the launch of the hugely ambitious Shanghai-London Stock Connect, an initiative that allows global investors to benefit further from China’s growth through London, while UK-listed companies can access Chinese investors directly.

“My visit to Shanghai will look at how we can ensure this innovative mechanism is a success, so that we can further link our capital markets for the benefit of both countries, and indeed the world,” he added.

Estlin serves as an international ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services sector and will visit around 30 key international markets during his year in office. His trip to China will be his third to Asia since taking office.

The long-awaited Shanghai-London Stock Connect was launched in London on June 17 and aims to offer more opportunities for British and Chinese financial institutions to buy each other’s stocks.

It allows global investors to benefit from China’s stable economic growth and ongoing reforms through London, while companies listed on the London Stock Exchange will be able to access Chinese investors directly.

The link offers the first opportunity for foreign companies to list in the Chinese mainland and the first chance for Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed companies to be able to raise capital abroad.

“The Shanghai-London Stock Connect is a significant step toward collaboration of UK and Chinese capital markets,” said Mathew Cheung, chief executive of London-based fintech company ipushpull.

“Both markets are a vital source of capital for fast growing fintechs who have plans to list. The stock connect will further enhance liquidity and opportunities for these companies, as well as Chinese and British investors,” he said.