wei-gu.jpg– Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own —

It is hard to be very optimistic about China’s proposed stock market for start-up companies. After all, similar attempts in other countries have a decidedly mixed track record. Why would China, where small private companies face an uphill battle against state-owned firms, be any exception?

Nevertheless, there are reasons to believe that the start-up market, set to debut in October, offers better potential than previous efforts in Singapore, Germany and Hong Kong.

The country has a big reservoir of fast-growing small companies with real profits. In the past, they have opted for listing on foreign exchanges such as the Nasdaq. Though they were attracted by the prestige of a foreign listing, they also faced a home market that favors size over quality.

Indeed, China, home of internet stars such as Baidu and Sina, is the second-largest foreign supplier of companies to the Nasdaq.