HONG KONG Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd (HKEx) (0388.HK), the world's largest exchange operator by market value, on Thursday dismissed speculation that it was considering an overseas merger.
"I don't believe we are either interested in or capable of managing an overseas exchange," HKEx Chief Executive Charles Li told reporters.
"We have no plan to run another exchange across the ocean," he said, but highlighted the exchange's China focus.
"Whatever we are going to do internationally has to deliver compelling strategic benefit consistent with our China focus," he said. "We have no plan and no capabilities to build an empire, but we want to acquire those capabilities, asset classes and liquidities so that we can connect ourselves to the Greater China market."
However the merger trend was not over yet and HKEx would keep a close eye on developments, Li said.
Following a raft of mergers amid industry consolidation, the Tokyo Stock Exchange indicated the possibility of talks with smaller Japanese rival on a possible merger to fend off competition from other fast-growing Asian bourses.
Shares of HKEx closed Thursday down 1.1 percent and have lost 4.3 percent this year, lagging the Hang Seng Index's 2.5 percent gain during the same period.
(Reporting by Michelle Chen; Editing by Chris Lewis)