March 16, 2018 / 1:37 AM / a month ago

China depository receipts to be launched soon: Shanghai Securities News

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China is preparing to launch depository receipts that would open the door to some of the country’s top tech firms issuing a form of shares on the mainland, the state-run Shanghai Securities News said on Friday, citing a senior regulatory official.

FILE PHOTO - A sign of Alibaba Group is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China depositary receipts (CDRs) will be launched “very soon”, Yan Qingmin, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission was quoted as saying. Depositary receipts are not technically shares, but allow investors to hold shares listed elsewhere.

The move could give domestic investors a route to Chinese tech firms listed outside mainland China like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N), Baidu Inc (BIDU.O), JD.com Inc (JD.O), and Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK).

Sources have told Reuters that guidelines for CDRs, similar to American depositary receipts, were likely to be finalised in the second half of this year by China’s securities regulator.

The planned move is part of a broader effort by Beijing to bring back home its domestic tech giants, which have traditionally opted to list outside the Chinese mainland in New York or Hong Kong instead of their home market.

Hong Kong is also working on rules that would make it easier for firms like U.S.-listed Alibaba and others to take up a secondary listing in the city.

Alibaba, China’s top e-commerce firm valued at over $500 billion, has said publicly for a number of years that it would consider a listing in China if regulations allowed.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Alibaba was working on a plan for a secondary listing in China, which could happen as soon as this summer.

    Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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