China’s tech scene was handed a fresh vote of confidence as investors piled into Shanghai’s new Nasdaq-style stock exchange and sent shares skyrocketing up to 500%.

The launch of the Star listing of domestic tech firms is seen as China’s answer to the US’s Nasdaq, and an attempt to sidestep American markets in its long-running trade war with Washington.

It is also considered to be a bold step towards financial market reform, as the Star market features a US-style system for initial public offerings (IPOs).

Inaugural trading on Monday involved an initial batch of 25 companies, including chipmaker Anji Microelectronics Technology, which surged 520% from its IPO price in morning trading. That was despite shares having been suspended twice throughout the day by circuit breakers meant to slow a burst in trading.

Suzhou Harmontronics Automation Technology soared 113% from its listing price, despite falling 30% at the market opening.

Most Chinese stock markets cap the amount that share prices can rise in the first five days of trading at 44%, but the Star market has no such limit. Rules have also been loosened for trading after the initial five-day period, with Star shares allowed to rise or fall by as much as 20% compared with the 10% cap across other lists.

The Shanghai stock exchange confirmed earlier this month that it had received 141 applications from companies eager to list on Star, which is a loose acronym for the Sci-Tech Innovation Board.

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Elsewhere, Shanghai’s composite index fell 1.3% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 1.15% following anti-government protests over the weekend.

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More than 400,000 people joined a pro-democracy march on the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon, amid anger over an extradition bill and violent police tactics aimed at protesters.

The march descended into chaos, with police firing teargas and masked men attacking protesters at a train station after the march.



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