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IC元件电商科通芯城(cogobuy.com)拟香港上市 放弃美国

--New York loses IPO luster as Cogobuy eyes Hong Kong

 

2013-03-21 Doug Young


媒体报道,IC元器件厂商科通芯城董事长康敬伟表示,公司计划登陆香港主板市场。虽然科通芯城规模相对较小,但可能反映中国互联网和其他高科技企业选择香港而非美国上市的趋势。当然,这些企业也可能选择在国内上市,深圳创业板一直努力向中国高增长创业企业递出橄榄枝。

 

在美上市的中国科技企业受到冷遇,很多选择私有化。港交所和纳斯达克正在争夺电子商务巨头阿里巴巴,阿里巴巴计划最快今年上市。阿里巴巴旗下经营B2B业务的阿里巴巴网于2007年在香港上市,去年阿里巴巴将其私有化,因增长放缓导致股价低迷。 报道称,康敬伟表示,公司一直都有盈利。这对赴港上市非常重要,港交所要求申请在香港主板市场上市的企业连续三年获利。达不到该要求的企业可以申请在创业板上市,然后在符合要求后再转到主板市场,但是创业板成交量要小得多。

 

随着中国企业赴美上市的兴趣迅速下降,香港将成为中国企业青睐的上市地点。受财务丑闻拖累,过去两年,美国投资者对中国企业不大感兴趣。很多亏钱的企业股价受到严重冲击,包括优酷土豆(YOKU.N)和人人网(RENN.N)等。投资者兴趣低迷和美国监管机构的严格审查导致一些在美上市中国企业选择私有化。本月早些时候,先声药业(SCR.N)和柯莱特信息系统有限公司(CIS.N)宣布私有化计划。

 

相比之下,中国企业认为香港上市环境更好,尽管在香港上市的科技企业并不多。腾讯(0700.HK)算是个例外,2004年上市以来表现一直非常好。虽然科通芯城只是个案,但中国高科技企业选择香港上市的可能性看起来很大,当然确认这种趋势还需要看到更多科技企业赴港上市。如果今明两年阿里巴巴也选择赴港上市,放弃纽约,我会感到吃惊。

 

科通芯城计划登陆香港主板市场,反映中国科技企业选择赴港而非美国上市的趋势,因过去两年美国投资者对中国企业兴趣不大以及监管更为严格。

 

Cogobuy's plans for an IPO in Hong Kong reflects a growing move by Chinese tech firms away from US listings due to a chilly climate and more regulatory scrutiny over the last two years

An article today about the IPO plans of specialty e-commerce site Cogobuy caught my attention today, but not for the reasons you might think. At first, I almost ignored the report that quoted the chairman of this relatively small Shenzhen-based company talking about his plans for an IPO next year. But then I read through to the end of the article, where Cogobuy Chairman Kang Jingwei said he is planning to take his company public in Hong Kong.

 

Such a move would mark a departure from making an IPO in New York, which has been the location of choice for Chinese Internet and other high-tech firms until recently. Kang's IPO plans could well mark the beginning of a new trend that sees Chinese companies from the high-tech and other emerging fields eschew New York offerings for Hong Kong and possibly even China, where the Nasdaq-style ChiNext board in Shenzhen has been heavily courting listings from Chinese high-growth start-ups.

 

Cogobuy's comments come against a backdrop of a deep freeze for Chinese tech shares in the US, and a growing wave of de-listings by Chinese firms from the New York and Nasdaq stock exchanges. The comments also come as both Hong Kong and the Nasdaq are heavily courting e-commerce leader Alibaba, which is preparing to make a blockbuster multibillion-dollar IPO as soon as this year. Alibaba previously flirted with the stock markets when it listed its B2B e-commerce unit Alibaba.com in Hong Kong in 2007, only to privatise the unit last year after its stock languished amid slowing growth.

 

Hong Kong could well become the preferred place for Chinese firms to list as the US rapidly loses its attraction.

 

Let's look quickly at the reports on Cogobuy. The company specialises in sales of integrated circuits (ICs) used in computing devices. The report I saw details the company's recent sales trends, but the most interesting part for purposes of this commentary are Kang's comments that his company has always been profitable.

 

That's a key element for listings in Hong Kong, which requires that companies be profitable for three years before they can list on its main board. Companies that don't meet that requirement can still list on Hong Kong's smaller enterprise-style board where trading is much lighter, and then later transfer to the main board when they meet the profit requirement.

 

Regardless of the path, Hong Kong could well become the preferred place for Chinese firms to list as the US rapidly loses its attraction. US investors have largely been given shares of Chinese firms the cold shoulder for the last two years, following a series of scandals that highlighted lax accounting standards practiced by many smaller firms.

 

Money-losing companies have been hit especially hard, which includes many of the most recently listed Internet firms like online video site Youku Tudou (NYSE: YOKU) and social networking site Renren (NYSE: RENN). The investor cold shoulder, combined with heavy scrutiny by the US securities regulator, has led to a steady stream of privatisations by US-listed Chinese firms, with Simcere Pharmaceutical (NYSE: SCR) and Camelot Information Systems (NYSE: CIS) becoming the latest to announce such plans earlier this month.

 

By comparison, Hong Kong is considered a more benign place to list for Chinese companies, though the market isn't known for its abundance of high-tech listings. The one big exception to that is Tencent (0700.HK), China's biggest Internet firm, whose shares have performed spectacularly since their 2004 debut in Hong Kong. While Cogobuy is just a single company and certainly we'll need to see where other tech firms choose to list, the emergence of Hong Kong as a new center for Chinese high-tech IPOs certainly seems like a strong possibility. Accordingly, I would be surprised to see even Alibaba choose the city over New York for its highly anticipated IPO either this year or next.

 

Bottom line: Cogobuy's plans for an IPO in Hong Kong reflects a growing move by Chinese tech firms away from US listings due to a chilly climate and more regulatory scrutiny over the last two years.


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