Chinese cloud service provider seeks dual listing in Hong Kong after New York stock price halves overnight

  • Kingsoft Cloud said a dual listing in Hong Kong would provide shareholders with ‘greater liquidity and protection’ amid an evolving market environment
  • Chinese tech companies are growing increasingly uneasy about the threat of being delisted in the US amid heightened regulatory pressure

A New York-listed Chinese cloud computing company said it is seeking a secondary listing in Hong Kong after its stock price lost 48 per cent on Monday, amid a wider rout for the country’s tech sector as regulatory pressure mounts in the US.

In a statement published on its website on Tuesday, Kingsoft Cloud Holdings said a dual listing in Hong Kong would “provide shareholders with greater liquidity and protection amid an evolving market and regulatory environment”. It added that its plan is “subject to regulatory approvals and market conditions”.

The Beijing-based company’s announcement is the latest sign that Chinese tech companies are growing increasingly uneasy about the threat of being delisted in the US if auditors fail to open accounts for inspection by US watchdogs.

While seeking a secondary listing has been a well-trodden path for Chinese tech stocks – Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group Holding, Baidu and NetEase all have dual listings, among others – making the transition is not always smooth-sailing.

Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant that angered Beijing regulators with its New York listing, said in December that it planned to delist there in favour of a Hong Kong listing. But its plan is still in limbo after its stock price tumbled to US$1.76 on Monday, or about a tenth of its peak last summer.

Kingsoft Cloud, which raised half a billion dollars in a US initial public offering in May 2020, saw its stock price fall to US$2.56 on Monday, down 85 per cent from its IPO price and 96 per cent lower than a peak in February 2021. The company said in its statement that business operations remained normal and uninterrupted.

Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) added five Chinese companies to a provisional list that could lead to delisting by 2024. The targeting of tech company ACM Research, fast-food giant Yum China and biotechnology groups BeiGene, Zai Lab and HutchMed triggered a wider sell-off in Chinese stocks.

According to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which came into effect on December 2020, foreign companies could be delisted if they fail to submit their audit papers to the US accounting oversight body for three consecutive years.

Besides the increasing regulatory uncertainty, a surge in China’s Covid-19 cases and potential economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has deepened a China stock rout. The index of US-traded Chinese stocks, the Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index, has tumbled for three consecutive days and fell another 12 per cent on Monday.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index fell to a six-year low on Tuesday, down 4.1 per cent on the day.

Faced with the potential mass-delisting of US-listed Chinese firms, a local industry group is now lobbying to set up a new platform for mainland Chinese tech companies in the city to tap international capital.

Author: Jiaxing Li, SCMP

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