China could be top IPO market in 2016: PwC

January 5, 2016 6:28 am 

BEIJING, Jan. 4 — The number of initial public offerings (IPO) on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses may top the world in 2016, thanks to stock listing reform and the expected launch of a new board, according to a report published Monday.

The number of new IPOs on the Chinese A-share market is expected to hit 400 with 250 billion to 300 billion yuan (USD 38.44 billion to USD 46.13 billion) to be raised, making the Chinese mainland one of the top three largest IPO markets and potentially the number one globally in 2016, said Frank Lyn, China and Hong Kong markets leader at the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

That will be a sharp rise from 219 IPOs in 2015 and 125 in 2014. In 2015, 219 companies raised 158.6 billion yuan (USD 24.39 billion) through IPOs on the Chinese mainland despite market volatility over the summer, which put a number of stock offerings on hold.

"The impact of market fluctuations on IPOs will be limited," said Benson Wong, assurance partner at PwC Hong Kong, who was upbeat over IPO activities on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong as hundreds of companies are lining up to get listed.

IPO activities will continue to pick up in 2016 following registration-based stock listing reform and the expected launch of a new board for innovative Chinese companies, PwC said.

The shift from approval-based IPOs to registration-based will let the market play a bigger role in deciding the value of companies, and will potentially boost the number of IPOs, analysts have predicted.

The launch of a "strategic emerging industry board" in 2016 will also help companies finance through IPOs. Officials have said the board will help meet the financing needs of emerging companies that the NASDAQ-style ChiNext could not satisfy.

Of the 290 emerging companies surveyed by PwC, 80 percent said they were planning to go public in the domestic capital market. The new board will be their top choice.

When selecting which bourse to list on, companies were most concerned with the time required to verify applicants, the transparency of IPO procedures, and the profit requirements for applicants. Stock listing reform and the new board will help alleviate those concerns, the survey showed.

In 2015, Hong Kong surpassed the United States to become the largest market for IPOs, with 215.7 billion yuan (USD 33.17 billion) raised. (PNA/Xinhua)

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