Nasdaq yesterday became the latest global exchange to open a representative office in Beijing, as the battle to lure fast-growing Chinese companies to list on overseas markets intensifies.
The technology-focused US exchange and the New York Stock Exchange are the first foreign groups to exploit a recent change of rules that permits non-Chinese bourses to establish marketing offices on the mainland.
The office will allow Nasdaq to publicise US capital markets to Chinese companies wishing to enter the “big league”, according to Michael Oxley, the vice-chairman and a former US lawmaker.
In recent years, several hundred Chinese companies have flocked to list in Hong Kong. This year, an increasing number of mainland companies have listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
International exchanges have, by comparison, struggled to attract Chinese issuers, with those in the US in particular hit by perceptions among business executives that their companies would be subject to onerous regulation as well as the country’s litigious environment.
Mr Oxley, co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US in 2002, rebuffed concerns that fears of over-regulation would hurt Nasdaq’s charm offensive.
“You have seen an increase in regulatory standards worldwide since the introduction of Sarbanes-Oxley,” he said. “By listing in the US, companies reach the highest regulatory standards. Good governance is good for business.”
Nasdaq has attracted 19 initial public offerings of Chinese companies this year, double that of last year, raising the total to 52.
It has traditionally at-tracted a significant proportion of mainland technology companies, although investment bankers believe last month’s hugely successful listing in Hong Kong of Alibaba.com, China’s leading business-to-business website, could help the city attract similar IPOs at the expense of the US exchange.