China will launch a pilot program aimed at luring innovative companies back to the mainland equity market, loosening listing rules for certain firms and offering its own form of depositary receipts.
Companies that meet the following criteria will be eligible for the pilot, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said in a statement posted on its website late Friday:
While China has been a breeding ground for some of the world’s fastest-growing — and highest valued — technology businesses, companies like e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and search engine firm Baidu Inc. have headed overseas to list. That’s left the retail investor-dominated local market reliant on state-run industries for large new listings.
China’s touchiness about listing anything with a high valuation or no track record of profitability is a key deterrent for tech firms, as is bans on structures such as dual-class shares. They’re also able to access a wider range of investors offshore.
Regulators first mooted the prospect of a CDR program at this month’s meeting of China’s rubber-stamp national legislature. The State Council didn’t say in the statement when the trial program would start.
— With assistance by Hui Li