Contrary to conflicting reports, Nasdaq has strengthened its commitment to China and the region at large by appointing Stuart Patterson to a new position as senior managing director, head of Asia-Pacific. To be based in New York, Paterson will be reviewing the scale of Nasdaq's China operations and will be searching for a China director to fill the void left by Harry Huang.

In the new position, Patterson will also assume responsibility for Nasdaq's regional client directors who provide support to over 50 Nasdaq-listed companies. The team Patterson oversees will also take responsibility for developing the exchange's listing business through Asia-Pacific.

Patterson moves to Nasdaq from Fleet Specialist Incorporated, which in April 2004 became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America. In addition to holding several senior positions at Fleet Specialist, Patterson was most recently vice president and global head, business development.

At Nasdaq, he will report to Janet Lewis, vice president corporate client group and will be a frequent traveler to the region.

Nasdaq says it has been receiving increased levels of enquiries from Asian companies and views the Asia-Pacific region as a key growth driver.

Patterson's appointment takes on extra significance in China given that the exchange's former chief representative in the country, Harry Huang, reportedly stated they would exit the mainland market.

"The Asia-Pacific region is home to many of the world's most entrepreneurial growth companies. We are very proud of our links with the region," comments Bruce Aust, executive vice president, Nasdaq corporate client group. "We are presently receiving increased interest in listing on Nasdaq. This is especially the case in China, where several companies have had their IPO on Nasdaq this year."

A trend of Chinese internet company listings began with Sina Corp, Netease.com and Sohu.com joining the boards. In 2004 thus far, three China-based companies have completed listings on the Nasdaq. This year, Tom Online, Linktone and Shanda have brought the total to nine Chinese companies listed on the exchange.