(Bloomberg) -- China’s securities regulator said it will encourage the nation’s companies to list in Hong Kong as it unveiled a package of measures to bolster the city’s position as an international financial hub. 

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said Friday it will support initial public offerings by leading Chinese firms in Hong Kong, as well as loosen rules on stock trading links between the city and mainland exchanges, according to a statement.

Under the measures, the scope of eligible exchange-traded funds via the links will be widened, while real estate investment trusts will be included for the first time. The CSRC also said it will support the inclusion of yuan-denominated stocks for mainland investors buying in Hong Kong, and improve the scheme of mutual recognition of funds.

“The central government fully supports Hong Kong to maintain its unique status and advantages in the long term,” the CSRC said in a statement. The measures will help Hong Kong “consolidate and enhance its status as an international financial center, and jointly promote capital market development,” it said.

Hong Kong saw a collapse in IPOs last year by Chinese companies amid rising overseas financing costs, volatile markets and strained ties between Beijing and Washington. Slumping valuations in Hong Kong’s stock market and tighter regulatory controls have also deterred Chinese firms from listing.

Read more: Hong Kong Bankers Have Lots of Free Time, Anxiety as Deals Slump

The plunge in deals has spurred banks including HSBC Holdings Plc, UBS Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to cut jobs in the city, as well as raised questions about Hong Kong’s future as a finance hub. IPO proceeds in 2023 were the lowest in more than two decades. 

In a separate statement on Friday, the CSRC said it will optimize the domestic IPO environment for tech firms and support the firms listing offshore.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission said in a statement the CSRC’s support for Chinese firms to list in the city will improve the attractiveness of the IPO market and bolster liquidity.

(Updates to add separate statement on tech IPOs in second-last paragraph.)

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