Asian stock markets traded mostly higher on Thursday, following reports that China would not ban domestic companies from going public in the US.
According to media sources, China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) Vice Chairman Fang Xinghai said Beijing would continue to allow domestic companies to register IPOs on the US stock market if they meet listing requirements. The official made the comment late Wednesday at an online meeting with representatives of the likes of Goldman Sachs and UBS, as well as some of China’s investment banks, the media reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
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Xinghai reportedly warned that the existing legal structure that covers access to Chinese assets by international investors would have to be reformed if national security concerns arise. The CSRC has not made an official public statement and has not responded to media requests for comment.
The Hang Seng stock market in Hong Kong surged 3% on Thursday, while the Shanghai Composite Index rebounded 1.5% after three days of losses. Chinese social media giant Tencent’s stock jumped 7.2% in Hong Kong, while search giant Baidu gained 5.4%. Shares in China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba also traded higher, gaining 4.8%.
The rally comes after several days of heavy losses on the Chinese markets over fears of stricter regulation. Beijing has recently stepped up its screening of Chinese tech companies and firms listed on the US market. The Chinese State Council, the country’s most senior executive body, said in a recent statement that all businesses with a million or more users would have to gain approval from the country’s cybersecurity regulator if they wanted to list overseas. Prior to that, Beijing also announced plans to amend the rules of the overseas listing system for Chinese firms, as well as to enforce controls on cross-border data flows and security.
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Furthermore, last week, Beijing issued a new policy requiring Chinese after-school tutoring companies to become non-profits, which effectively bans them from raising money through the stock market or having foreign investors. Following the news, the stocks of major Chinese education organizations dropped sharply, both in Hong Kong and in the US, further increasing fears that Beijing is set on blocking foreign capital flows into Chinese assets. According to CNBC sources, however, the new regulation is aimed at lifting parents’ financial burden rather than blocking foreign investment.
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