SHANGHAI – A new board will be established at the Shanghai Stock Exchange to list tech companies as part of China’s capital market reform to tend to the financing needs of small but innovative firms, the country’s top securities regulator said on Friday.
Xiao Gang, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), told a forum in Shanghai that the Shanghai Stock Exchange will launch a “strategic emerging board” to complement Shenzhen’s existing ChiNext board, where smaller Chinese firms trade.
“A flexible and effective capital market is also a critical indicator of an economy’s ability to innovate in addition to traditional gauges such as the number of patents and the emergence of new business models,” Xiao said.
Policymakers said last year that they want to reform China’s capital market into a multi-layered system to cater to the financing needs of different types of firms.
China’s securities regulators have also vowed to turn the country’s approval-based IPO system into a registration-based one. Existing rules on companies seeking to list in domestic bourses have made profitability a pre-requisite for an IPO. This has barred many Chinese tech firms from listing in their home market and they have instead floated their shares overseas.
Investing in tech start-ups could be a risky bet for investors, but they hold the potential of driving the Chinese economy toward a tech-intensive and innovation-driven growth model, Xiao said.
China’s existing capital market is inadequate in serving the country’s 15 million small and medium firms, he said, adding that China should promote the development of angel funds, venture capital and private equities to address the funding difficulties facing startups.
China has also developed an over-the-counter market to meet small firms and tech startups’ need for equity financing. Nearly 2,500 firms have been listed on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations, with 77 percent of them tech firms.
High-tech firms account for 90 percent of all companies traded on the ChinNext at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The NASDAQ-style board has surged 118 percent since the beginning of this year, compared with the 40-percent gain of the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index.
However, the ChiNext tumbled nearly 9 percent on Friday, one of the largest corrections on a single day in recent years as regulators seek to squeeze out bubbles in the market fueled by reckless margin trading.