China Sees Surge of IPOs, But Stability Uncertain

As questions continue to rise about the wisdom of investing in Chinese companies, the nation’s IPO market has begun to pick up.

The Wall Street Journal reports that China has seen a spike in the number of companies looking to conduct initial public offerings after many businesses were forced to delay their plans during the down economy this summer. Reuters reported in September that several IPOs potentially worth as much as $4.5 billion were canceled in one week late in that month.

Now, companies ranging from wind turbine and equipment manufacturer Guodian Technology & Environment Group to Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, along with the country’s fourth-largest insurer and second-largest brokerage, have filed for IPOs potentially worth as much as $7.4 billion.

“A lot of IPOs have been pushed back by the narrowing market window as the European crisis evolves, but we’ve seen more companies eager to tap overseas capital for their expansion,” Fang Fang, vice chairman of Asia investment banking at JP Morgan Chase, told The Wall Street Journal. “This is driven on one hand by the continued urbanization, fixed-asset investment, and domestic consumption, and on the other hand by tight monetary supply in China.”

All told, Bloomberg reports that the Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing has seen nearly 110 companies request permission to conduct an IPO. Though less than half of that number has received approval, it still amounts to 40 companies and a full 20 are expected to complete the process before the end of the year.

The move appears to be an attempt to hop on still-high sentiment toward China as the economy begins to slow down. Reuters reports that the latest purchasing managers’ index from HSBC found continuing slowdown across the Chinese economy, with growth in the services sector dropping from 54.1 on the index in October to 52.5 in November.

Already the country has seen its annualized growth rate fall to 9.1 percent in the third quarter, but the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development suggests that number could decline further to around 8.5 percent.

While the number of Chinese options will be high for the foreseeable future, the declining performance of the country’s economy could combine with the poor showings of several Chinese companies filing in the U.S. Chinese video site Tudou has fallen roughly 50 percent since its IPO over the summer, while its rival Youku has fallen about 50 percent from early trading and more than two-thirds from its peak over the summer.

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