China Will Support Foreign Ipos Of Chinese Firms And Calls For End To Tech Crackdown

On Wednesday, China signalled its support for Chinese companies, following days of fears that the United States will delist them, sending stock prices in New York and Hong Kong down.

Chinese and American regulators are working on a strategy to cooperate on Chinese equities listed in the United States, according to state media, citing a financial stability meeting convened by Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday.

Liu is also the head of the central government’s finance committee and a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s politburo, the country’s second-highest power circle.

“The Chinese government continues to support various kinds of businesses’ overseas listings,” the state media report said in Chinese, translated by CNBC. The article said regulators should “complete as soon as possible” the crackdown on internet platform companies.

Authorities will seek to stabilise Hong Kong’s financial market as well as the troubled real estate sector, according to the minutes of Wednesday’s meeting.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong continued previous gains, rising 9% in the afternoon on Wednesday, rebounding from its lowest finish in six years. Alibaba and Tencent, two of China’s largest tech companies, both increased by more than 20%, while other big Chinese tech stocks also increased.

“China’s top leaders finally broke the silence to respond to the recent market selloff,” Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie, said in a report. “The tone of the meeting is strong, suggesting that policymakers are deeply concerned about the recent market rout.”

Following a revival of Covid-19 and the Ukraine crisis, investors’ anxieties about economic growth were exacerbated by fears of forced Chinese stock delistings from US exchanges. JPMorgan China Internet analysts Alex Yao and a team downgraded 28 of the stocks they cover on Monday, calling the sector “uninvestable” for the next six to twelve months.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States announced last week that five Chinese companies’ securities listed in the United States may be delisted.

It was the first time the SEC has singled out specific stocks for breaking the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. The proposal, which is expected to be passed in 2020, would allow the SEC to delist Chinese businesses from U.S. exchanges if American authorities are unable to review company audits for three years in a row.

Because of Beijing’s concerns about information security, Chinese enterprises have often refused to allow such audits.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement early Friday that it has achieved progress in contact with the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, along with the Ministry of Finance.

“We believe that through joint effort both sides will, as soon as possible, be able to make arrangements for cooperation in line with the two countries’ legal and regulatory requirements,” the Chinese securities regulator’s statement said, according to a CNBC translation.

Outside of business hours, the PCAOB did not respond to a request for comment.

The Chinese government has been cracking down on huge technology businesses for alleged monopolistic tactics, as well as real estate developers’ heavy reliance on debt, in the last two years. Following Beijing’s crackdown on Didi just days after its New York listing in late June, investors began to be concerned about Chinese stocks listed in the United States.

In February, economists predicted that the worst of China’s regulatory crackdown had over, as Beijing shifted its focus to promoting economic growth.

Shen Bing, the director-general of the China Securities Regulatory Agency’s international affairs department, told CNBC in an exclusive interview in late January that the commission anticipated its upcoming amended guidelines will enable Chinese companies to continue their abroad listings.

(Adapted from Bloomberg.com)

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