Written by 12:01 Business

Where Have All the Chinese I.P.O.s Gone?

There was a time when a Chinese internet company’s initial public offering was the hottest thing on Wall Street.

As the e-commerce giant Alibaba prepared to go public on the New York Stock Exchange a decade ago, the world’s biggest banks competed fiercely to underwrite the offering. When the opening bell rang on Sept. 19, 2014, stock traders cheered, wearing hoodies in Alibaba’s signature orange over their suits. The I.P.O. raised $25 billion, the biggest listing ever at the time. Scores of other Chinese companies raised billions in the United States over the next few years.

Those days are firmly in the past. Wall Street has not seen anything close to a blockbuster Chinese I.P.O. in three years. In fact, the drought is getting worse. So far this year, Chinese companies have raised about $580 million in U.S. listings, almost all of it last month from one I.P.O. by the electric vehicle maker Zeekr.

As the geopolitical relationship between China and the United States has deteriorated, it has become increasingly difficult for Chinese companies to find a foreign market where a listing might not be jeopardized by political scrutiny.

Things are hardly looking better in China. As part of a push by Beijing to assert greater control over the Chinese market, regulators have made it harder to go public, drastically slowing the pace of domestic listings. Around 40 Chinese companies have gone public at home this year. They have raised less than $3 billion, a fraction of the value typically raised by this point in the year, according to data from Dealogic.

If the current pace continues, this year will bring the fewest Chinese initial public offerings worldwide in more than a decade.


Last modified: 28 June 2024