- Pilot to allow some companies listed overseas to issue CDRs
- Certain start-ups will be eligible for IPOs on the mainland
China took a major step toward seeing Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc. and others list in its domestic market, announcing a trial program that would allow the technology giants to see their shares bought and sold in the world’s most populous country.
The State Council unveiled the plans on Friday, less than a month after the idea was first made public — a surprising move that underscores how keen authorities are to see foreign-listed Chinese companies come home. A pilot of so-called Chinese depositary receipts would apply to companies that went public overseas and have a market value of more than 200 billion yuan ($32 billion). The new system will allow firms to use corporate structures that aren’t permitted on the mainland, and monies raised can be moved offshore. Some private companies will also find it easier to come to market.
While China has been a breeding ground for some of the world’s fastest-growing and highest valued tech businesses, companies such as e-commerce giant Alibaba and search engine firm Baidu have headed offshore, leaving the local market reliant on state-run industries for large new listings. The country’s touchiness about stocks with high valuations or no track record of profits is a deterrent for tech firms, as is the ban on structures such as dual-class shares.
“There’s a strong desire to see local champions, these technology companies, come back onshore — and CDRs is one way of doing this,” said David Smith, Asia head of corporate governance at Aberdeen Standard Investments.
Regulators first mooted the prospect of a CDR program at last month’s meeting of China’s rubber-stamp national legislature. The State Council didn’t say in the…