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China's Unfortunately Named New GEM

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 29, 2009

For a decade, Chinese officials have been talking about launching a Nasdaq-style market catering to small and mid-sized companies. The wait is almost over. Next month - after the week-long holiday marking the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic - the Shenzhen Stock Exchange is going to launch its Growth Enterprise Market, or GEM. Hard to believe that someone didn’t point out to the folks in Shenzhen, though, that the GEM brand is pretty tarnished: Hong Kong has a ten-year-old GEM, also targeted at smaller companies that couldn’t list on the main board. Hong Kong’s GEM got a lot of hype when it first launched - and has languished in obscurity ever since.

It makes you wonder who’s in charge. I sometimes get frustrated in Hong Kong and mainland China with poorly translated signs in airports, train stations and other public places: Here the government has spent a ton of money building really impressive infrastructure, yet nobody thought to spend a tiny bit to get a native English speaker to make sure the translated signs make sense. Not a huge problem, but embarrassing. Shenzhen’s GEM is a bit similar. Here’s a plan that has been in the works for years and years. You would think somebody would have bothered to check if the name GEM was already taken, and if so, what sort of reputation it had. Now Shenzhen’s new Nasdaq-style market is saddled with a lousy name. That’s not a fatal problem, but it will make the already-difficult task of winning investor confidence that much harder.

Reader Comments


September 29, 2009 1:21 PM

Why would China need to have English? Why not English speakers learn Chinese. you don't see NASDAQ and NYSE translated in Chinese do you?


September 29, 2009 2:38 PM

You completely missed the point, Bruce. Not only is it's name unfortunate, but it's performance is going to be miserable too, just like all other stock markets in China. And Shenzhen is no better. It is one of the worst performing stock markets in the world and provides least reliable information about the companies listed. This is very typical of anything is China, so I'm not surprised.

Xiang Yu

September 29, 2009 8:53 PM

Yeah, I agree with Bruce. I think China government should just stick with Chinese, not English.


September 29, 2009 8:59 PM

It makes you wonder who’s in charge. I sometimes get frustrated in New York and the rest of the US with no translated signs in airports, train stations and other public places: Here the country has spent a ton of money building really crappy infrastructure, yet nobody thought to spend a tiny bit to get a native Chinese speaker to make sure the translated signs mean what they intend to mean.


September 29, 2009 9:32 PM

We should not stop our steps even there are might be riks involved. we can learn lessons from our and other market's experieince.
Failure is the mother of success.


September 29, 2009 10:13 PM

The point is that China has launched its own NASDAQ style stock market. Besides, NASDAQ was the epicenter of the boom that went from 5000 to 1500 from 2000 to 2003! Several trillions of dollars were lost to all the investors and speculator alike and the NASDAQ still around. So GEM name you might like, but that is your opinion.
Now about English sign in China is not perfect, then I guess that you can work part time or full time after you lose your job at BusinessWeek after it is sold to India.


September 30, 2009 12:54 AM

Rob, it's ironic that your own English is substandard in that you don't know the difference between "it's" and "its". But I suppose that's the least of your problems in that you don't seem to realize that it is the vaunted US stock market which has turned out to be the most opaque in the world...or are you unfamiliar with Enron, AIG, Bear Stearns, etc?


September 30, 2009 1:49 AM

I never thought I had to say this but...


English is the common language to deal business with. (I can't explain why I had to say the obvious)

Consider this...

September 30, 2009 6:42 PM

MBA programs in China are exclusively taught in English. But, information signs shouldn't be in English?

Is it National Day in China?

Party time!


September 30, 2009 10:10 PM

The reason the Chinese have to learn English is because English will always remain the world's most widely spoken business languange. And that is not because English is the first language in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, but because English is used in India. The scale tips in favor of English (not Chinese) because India speaks English.

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