B-shares are shares issued domestically by Chinese companies and listed on either the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges. B-shares are reserved for foreign investors. A B-share's value is quoted in renminbi but trade is conducted in foreign currency. The first B-shares were issued in 1991. Although they attracted some interest they were always criticised for lack of liquidity with foreign investors usually preferring to trade in red-chip H-shares, listed in Hong Kong.
The term B share can also be used to describe a share class. Companies can issue different classes of shares that might have different voting rights, for example. See A/B/C share.
In January 2013, an FT writer thought he could see the end in sight for China's "zombie" B-share market. China International Marine Containers became the first to convert its B-shares to H-shares. Deloitte, the consultancy, estimated roughly 40 of the 85 companies with B shares were likely to be potential candidates for conversion.