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December 22, 2021

Chinese TMT companies listed in US will accelerate homecoming plans

By GlobalData Thematic Research

Chinese Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) companies historically chose to list in the US to achieve greater liquidity and to access a broader investor base. Since the beginning of 2018, 86 Chinese companies  listed on the US exchanges. These 86 Chinese companies have raised total proceeds of $31.6 billion in these US listings. In terms of IPO proceeds raised, the biggest three listings of Chinese companies were Didi Chuxing listing in New Yrk ($4.4 billion in 2021), Lufax’s listing in New York ($2.4 billion in 2020), and iQiyi listing on Nasdaq ($2.3 billion in 2018). However, they continue to face regulatory challenges amid the tense geopolitical situation

Amid a tense geopolitical stand-off between the US and China, there have been increasing concerns about the future of some the large Chinese company listings on US stock exchanges. The regulations require companies to establish that they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government and also to allow the US Public Accounting Oversight Board to review the companies financial audits. These regulations impact both Chinese companies already listed in the US or those planning to list in the US.

Many Chinese TMT companies have now listed back in China

Due to the more challenging environment on US exchanges, we have seen many Chinese TMT companies listed in the US opt for for secondary listings in China or Hong Kong.

We have been seeing trend since 2019 and we call this as their “homecomings”. In 2019, Alibaba completed its secondary listing in Hong Kong. In 2020, JD.com and NetEase Games also followed the route back home. 2021 saw secondary listings of Baidu and Bilibili in Hong Kong and China Telecom in Shanghai.

Amid a tense geopolitical stand-off between the US and China, there have been increasing concerns about the future of some large Chinese company listings on US stock exchanges. US regulations are resulting in the delisting of some Chinese companies from the American exchanges.

We expect many more Chinese companies to return to home exchanges

We will see these companies come back to the Hong Kong or Chinese exchanges. China Mobile and Weibo have been delisted from the US and we expect them to complete their secondary listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong respectively.

In addition to delisting, the US puts certain Chinese companies on the entity list which bans the US investors from investing in those firms. As a result, Chinese companies see no advantage from staying in the US. Hence we are are seeing many more Chinese companies planning for secondary listings on their domestic markets. Chinese companies are also cancelling their plans to list in the US.

Recently, Didi Chuxing has announced plans for a secondary listing in Hong Kong after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it was adopting amendments that would require foreign companies to submit to open-book audits if they list in the US. Recently, SenseTime, a Chinese AI unicorn, had to shelve its IPO plan in Hong Kong as it was added to the US entity list. In addition, Ximalaya, LinkDoc, and Lalamove had cancelled their plans in the US and are considering Hong Kong for going public.