Chinese tech firms sour on U.S. listings

June 5, 2015 1:20 PM (UTC+8)

 

Chinese technology firms are no longer in a New York state of mind.

A number of Chinese firms are looking to drop their U.S. stock listings and relist back home, reports Reuters.

Most Chinese tech executives feel their companies could receive much higher share valuations if they list in China, where the stock market is surging.

Compared with the 30% rise on the Nasdaq OMX China Technology Index, which tracks offshore listed mainland firms, China’s tech-driven ChiNext composite index has rocketed nearly 180% this year.  The average share price of the Nasdaq-listed firms equals 11 times their earnings, while on the ChiNext, multiples are near 133, said Reuters.

Chinese executives blame the discrepancy on U.S. ignorance of China.

“American investors don’t understand the business model of Chinese gaming companies,” the senior executive of a firm planning to leave New York for China told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Wall Street underwriters are never happy at the prospect of losing business. But this could be a big hit to their profits. Last year, Wall Street made more than $300 million in fees on the $25 billion initial public offering of e-commerce giant Alibaba — the world’s largest IPO ever.

Another reason is that Beijing formally outlaws foreign shareholder control of firms in protected tech sectors. For some the move could be a way to avoid legal troubles.

This is a bit ironic considering that originally China wouldn’t let these firms list. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has required companies to be profitable for several years before listing, effectively excluding most Chinese Internet companies.

But, in its aim to make Shanghai a global financial center equal to London, Hong Kong and New York by 2020, Beijing has eased the profitability requirements.

In addition, China wants to help fund the repatriation. “Investment bank China Renaissance has teamed up with Citic Securities to raise funds to help delist and underwrite new listings in China, while Shengjing Management Consulting has launched a fund-of-funds that intends to repatriate about 100 Chinese firms,” reported Reuters.

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