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China, US drive global tech IPOs

Updated: 2014-12-08 10:29
By JACK FREIFELDER in New York (China Daily USA)

Technology firms have led the charge in initial public offerings (IPO) around the globe in 2014, and the world's two largest economies continue to be the driving force behind the trend, according to experts.

Raman Chitkara, global technology leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a multinational professional services firm, said Chinese and US companies account for the lion's share of listings over the past four years.

From 2010-2014, there were 195 Chinese IPOs from tech companies, versus 138 in the US and 80 in the rest of the world, Chitkara said, all $14 million and above.

PwC started tracking technology IPOs after 2009, and in that time the Internet software and related services sector has accounted for more than 50 percent of new global tech listings, Chitkara said.

"US IPOs are mostly in the software and Internet services business," Chitkara said. "China is slightly different, but still has a sizable number of Internet services and software. That is a reflection of the entrepreneurial culture that exists in China and their focus on technology."

"Most of the cross-border IPOs are coming from China — 38 from China, 29 from the rest of the world and one from US — but the US exchanges are clearly the major recipients (about 85 percent)," he said. "US capital markets remain dominant, but if you just go by the numbers, you clearly see a lot of Chinese IPOs in the technology sector."

Chitkara made his comments on Dec 5 during a panel discussion at New York University (NYU). Kevin Rosier, an analyst with the US-China Economic & Security Review Commission (USCESRC), joined Chitkara for a discussion on IPOs by Chinese tech firms as part of NYU's Center on US-China Relations' 4th Annual Conference on Chinese Capital Markets.

Numbers for Chinese IPOs have rebounded in 2014 following the lifting of China's freeze on IPOs in December 2013. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) put the ban in place in 2013 to "revisit and reform the system", Chitkara said.

"Nothing can be predicted about capital markets, but when you look at the type of companies that are going public, like e-commerce companies, they are going on the basis of the numbers they have produced," he said. "The attraction of US investors is really based on those numbers and the potential for growth. But there's always a level of optimism with all that growth."

Rosier said the trend of technology IPOs by Chinese companies is "the beginning of a larger presence" for Chinese entities on US and other foreign markets.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is following the overall trend of Chinese IPOs quite closely," Rosier said. "The Chinese government would probably prefer to see companies like Alibaba list in Hong Kong rather than New York, but in a sense that's kind of out of their control."


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