US-China agree to boost corporate transparency

Updated: 2013-06-26 10:32


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"The next big meeting is the strategic and economic dialogue meeting between the United States and China which will take place on July 8th in Washington. At that meeting, there will be a breakthrough and a deal will be reached to allow the PCOB to join inspections, and for the SEC to get the working papers that it needs to see," Paul Gillis, Professor of Peking Univ. Guanghua School of Management, said.

Probably the most important aspect of the agreement is... It might reignite the frozen Chinese IPO market.

At least two high-profile Chinese internet companies are expected to plan IPOs in the US this year: Chinese online retailer Jingdong Mall and travel website Qunar.

Gillis said, "We're starting to see some interest in the IPO market, maybe the IPO window will open again, and I think everybody hopes so, because there is an awful amount of money locked up in China right now by investors who need have an IPO in order to exit their investments."

At the headquarters of Baidu, China's largest search engine, in the Haidian District in Beijing. Although the company says it hasn't faced any real risks prior to the agreement, it says it will make transparency and financial disclosure much easier.

The Nasdaq-listed firm also agrees that we are likely to see a pick-up in IPOs, but says that more factors need to be taken into account.

Jennifer Li, Chief Financial Officer of Baidu, said, "This progress definitely lifts one of the overhangs that inhibit some of the potential high quality companies to go to the US market. I believe this development itself is good for investors to get more comfortable with Chinese companies. But the issue of working paper controversy itself is not the sole driver that moves the IPO market in the US. The Chinese companies' specific situation, the competitive landscape of the sectors they operate in, the macro economy as well as the health and the appetite of the US investors, those all come into play when it comes to the full speed of Chinese companies going public in the US."

In the meantime, analysts say the outlook for Chinese firms considering IPOs in the US market still hinges on whether a more concrete deal will be reached at the US China Strategic Economic Dialogue next month.

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