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China says it will support Chinese IPOs abroad, calls for closure on tech crackdown

KEY POINTS
  • Chinese and U.S. regulators are progressing toward a cooperation plan on U.S.-listed Chinese stocks, state media said, citing a financial stability meeting Wednesday chaired by Vice Premier Liu He.
  • Days of worries about U.S. delisting risks, on top of existing concerns about economic growth, had sent Chinese stocks plunging in New York and Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged in Wednesday afternoon trading, after closing Tuesday at fresh lows not seen in more than six years.

BEIJING — China signaled support for Chinese stocks on Wednesday, after days of worries about U.S. delisting risks sent the stocks plunging in New York and Hong Kong.

Chinese and U.S. regulators are progressing toward a cooperation plan on U.S.-listed Chinese stocks, state media said, citing a financial stability meeting Wednesday chaired by Vice Premier Liu He.

Liu also heads the central government’s finance committee and is a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee politburo — the country’s second-highest circle of power.

“The Chinese government continues to support various kinds of businesses’ overseas listings,” the state media report said in Chinese, translated by CNBC. The article said regulators should “complete as soon as possible” the crackdown on internet platform companies.

The report of Wednesday’s meeting also said authorities would work towards stability in Hong Kong’s financial market as well as the struggling real estate sector.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index extended earlier gains, surging 9% Wednesday afternoon, rebounding from its lowest close in six years. Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Tencent soared more than 20%, while other major Chinese tech stocks jumped.

“China’s top leaders finally broke the silence to respond to the recent market selloff,” Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie, said in a report. “The tone of the meeting is strong, suggesting that policymakers are deeply concerned about the recent market rout.”

Worries about forced Chinese stock delistings from U.S. exchanges had added to investors’ concerns about economic growth following a resurgence of Covid-19 and the Ukraine war. On Monday, JPMorgan China Internet analysts Alex Yao and a team said they considered the sector “uninvestable” for the next six to 12 months, and downgraded 28 of the stocks they cover.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said last week that U.S.-listed securities for five Chinese companies are at risk of delisting.

It was the first time the regulator had named specific stocks for failing to adhere to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. Passed in 2020, the act would allow the SEC to delist Chinese companies from U.S. exchanges if American regulators cannot review company audits for three consecutive years.

Beijing’s concerns about information security have generally prevented Chinese companies from allowing such audits.

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Early on Friday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement that, along with the Ministry of Finance, it has made progress in communication with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

“We believe that through joint effort both sides will, as soon as possible, be able to make arrangements for cooperation in line with the two countries’ legal and regulatory requirements,” the Chinese securities regulator’s statement said, according to a CNBC translation.

The PCAOB did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside office hours.

In the last two years, the Chinese government has cracked down on large technology companies over alleged monopolistic practices, and real estate developers’ high reliance on debt. Investors began to worry specifically about U.S.-listed Chinese stocks after Beijing clamped down on Didi just days after its New York listing in late June.

Economists said in February the worst of China’s regulatory crackdown is over as Beijing shifts its focus to supporting economic growth.

In late January, the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s director-general of the international affairs department, Shen Bing, told CNBC in an exclusive interview the commission hoped its forthcoming updated rules would help Chinese companies resume their overseas listings.

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