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Will Shanghai's new tech board be home to China’s next BAT?

China · Jun 03, 2019 · By Wang Xiao'e

As China’s new Nasdaq-style board speeds to welcome its first IPOs, here’s a look at what’s changed for Chinese tech firms listing in the mainland, and if it could be pivotal in the emerging tech cold war

As the US-China trade war escalates into a tech cold war, China is launching its new Nasdaq-style board as early as this month, seeking to wean its best tech companies off US capital markets and funding.

This Wednesday, the Shanghai Stock Exchange will announce the application results of the first three companies that filed to list on the new tech board, namely Shenzhen ChipScreen Biosciences, Anji Microelectronics (Shanghai) and Suzhou Tztek Technology.

Preparatory work for the new board has been fast-tracked since President Xi Jinping announced a plan to launch a Nasdaq-style board in November 2018. Since the early 2000s, most of China's high-profile tech companies have gone public outside of the mainland. Baidu and Alibaba shares are listed in New York and Tencent in Hong Kong; the newer generation of Chinese tech giants such as Xiaomi and NIO have also followed suit. 

With the new Shanghai tech board, China aims to keep its tech companies and the financial gains from their IPOs within the country. In 2018, Chinese companies raised US$64.2 billion through IPOs, nearly one-third of the global total. But only US$19.7 billion of that came from the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, while listings in Hong Kong and New York made up nearly 70% of the funds raised. 

The new board is also seen as a necessary countermove in the ongoing trade conflict between China and the US. According to Ying Wenlu, Chairman and Founder of Addor Capital, one of China’s top VCs, the tech board is a forced choice – but a right and necessary one – by China in response to the trade war. 

Edited by Bernice Tang and Wendy Lovinger

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