Caixin
Jun 10, 2021 08:12 PM
FINANCE

We Aren’t Clamping Down on IPOs, China’s Securities Chief Says

China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Yi Huiman speaks at the 13th Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai on June 10. Photo: IC Photo
China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Yi Huiman speaks at the 13th Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai on June 10. Photo: IC Photo

China’s IPO requirements haven’t gotten any tighter, or looser for that matter, the head of the country’s securities watchdog said Thursday, offering a rebuttal to the notion that authorities have increased scrutiny over new listings since the shock suspension of Ant Group Co. Ltd.’s IPO last year.

At a financial forum in Shanghai, China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) Chairman Yi Huiman argued that it is the market that chiefly sets the pace of IPOs. The number of new listings is determined by what investors can afford and the amount of liquidity in the market, Yi said at the 13th Lujiazui Forum (link in Chinese).

A total of 196 companies completed their IPO on Chinese mainland stock markets in the first five months of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 111%, Yi said. They raised more than 150 billion yuan ($23.5 billion), up 37% year-on-year.

Despite the widely held belief that regulators have stepped up scrutiny over applications, Yi, citing the aforementioned figures, pointed out that IPOs are going forward at a normal rate.

Yi said the impression of tougher oversight is partly because the CSRC is following the revised Securities Law, which took effect March 1, 2020. The law requires stricter information disclosure and tougher penalties for market violations.

The CSRC in February asked IPO candidates to disclose more information about their shareholders, Yi said. Since then, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange has tightened supervision over shareholder information disclosure for companies seeking to list on its Nasdaq-style ChiNext board.

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The securities regulator has repeatedly stressed the importance of improving information disclosure during IPOs to protect investor interests and avoid increasing risks to the financial system. Shanghai’s STAR Market and Shenzhen’s ChiNext board use a registration-based IPO system that relies heavily on disclosure to help investors evaluate listed companies.

The CSRC has also intensified supervision over listings on the tech-heavy STAR Market by improving how it evaluates the innovative capabilities (link in Chinese) of tech companies that have applied for IPOs there.

The moves seek to improve the quality of listed companies, and prevent the disorderly expansion of capital, Yi said.

Regarding overseas listings, Yi said Chinese companies can choose where they list based on their own needs, though he asked them to abide by local regulations and called for regulators around the world to cooperate more closely on enforcement.

Yi’s comment comes as a growing number of U.S.-listed Chinese companies are planning secondary listings in Hong Kong, as they face risks of being kicked out from American exchanges due to audit disputes between the world’s two largest economies.

Contact reporter Luo Meihan (meihanluo@caixin.com) and editor Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

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