BEIJING, April 19 (Reuters) - China will facilitate Hong Kong listings by leading Chinese companies and expand the Stock Connect cross-border investment scheme to promote Hong Kong's status as a global financial centre, China's securities regulator said on Friday.

The investment link between mainland China and Hong Kong will be broadened to include real estate investment trusts (REITs) and yuan-denominated stocks listed in Hong Kong, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement.

In addition, the bar will be lowered for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) under Stock Connect.

"The Chinese central government fully supports Hong Kong in maintaining its unique status and advantages in the long term," the watchdog said.

A separate statement from the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday said that it had agreed with its Shanghai and Shenzhen counterparts to expand the scope of eligible ETFs under Stock Connect.

The various measures are aimed at "bolstering Hong Kong's financial centre status, and promoting coordinated capital market developments" between China and Hong Kong, the CSRC said.

Hong Kong's stock exchange last year started offering yuan-denominated Chinese stocks in the so-called dual counter scheme. Including such stocks in the Connect scheme would help to promote international use of the yuan, the CSRC added.

In addition, the CSRC said it will expand product sales under Mutual Recognition of Fund - a scheme that allows eligible funds in China and Hong Kong to be sold in each other's markets. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom Editing by David Goodman )