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U.S.-listed Chinese companies need Beijing’s approval for secondary


An investor sits in front of a board showing stock information at a brokerage office in Beijing, China.

Thomas Peter | Reuters

BEIJING — If U.S. regulation forces Chinese companies to delist from New York, new rules from Beijing further complicates their path to raising money in public markets abroad.

Since Tuesday, new rules from the Cyberspace Administration of China require Chinese internet platform companies with personal data of more than 1 million users to get approval before listing overseas.

While the rules do not apply to companies that have already gone public, those pursuing dual or secondary listings overseas must follow the CAC’s new approval process, according to a CNBC translation of a Chinese article published Thursday on the regulator’s website.

It’s yet another consideration for international investors looking at Chinese companies.

“The timetable for companies’ overseas listings has become longer, and uncertainty has increased for listing,” said Ming Liao, founding partner of Beijing-based Prospect Avenue Capital, according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese remarks.

As regulators and businesses figure out how the new measures will be implemented, institutional investors hope to better understand the government’s thinking by seeing some approvals for overseas listings, he said.

Fallout from Chinese ride-hailing app Didi‘s U.S. IPO in late June prompted Beijing to increase regulatory scrutiny on what was a rush of Chinese companies looking to raise money in New York.

Chinese IPOs in the U.S. have essentially dried up in the months since, while existing U.S.-listed Chinese stocks face the threat of delisting in coming years from Washington’s more stringent audit requirements.

Several of these Chinese companies, including Alibaba, have turned to Hong Kong for dual or secondary listings in the last few years. That way investors could swap their U.S. shares for ones in Hong Kong in the event of a delisting.

The Hong Kong option

Only about 80 of 250 U.S.-listed Chinese companies would be eligible for a secondary or dual primary listing in Hong Kong, according to China Renaissance analysis from Bruce Pang and his team in January. That’s due to stringent requirements in Hong Kong for minimum market capitalization and other factors.

The remaining U.S.-listed Chinese companies would likely only have the choice of privatizing, and then attempting a listing in the mainland A share market, the report said. “In practice,” the analysts said, “we think Hong Kong will not be exempted from the cybersecurity process – the door is still open, in our opinion, for Beijing to impose a cybersecurity review on proposed listings in Hong Kong.”

The mainland market is less accessible to foreign investors and is dominated by more sentiment-driven retail investors.

Analysts also point out the Hong Kong stock market doesn’t compare with New York when it comes to trading volume and the price tech companies can get for their shares.

It remains to be seen to what…


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U.S.-listed Chinese companies need Beijing’s approval for secondary