HONG KONG (REUTERS) – Alibaba Group Holding said it would work to maintain its New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listing alongside its Hong Kong listing after the Chinese e-commerce giant was placed on a delisting watchlist by the US authorities.
Alibaba stock was down 4.5 per cent in a near-flat Hong Kong market in early trade on Monday (Aug 1), following its 11.1 per cent drop in New York on Friday.
The company on Friday became the latest of more than 270 firms to be added to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s list of Chinese companies that might be delisted for not meeting auditing requirements.
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act is intended to address a long-running dispute over the auditing compliance of US-listed Chinese firms. It aims to remove foreign companies from US exchanges if they fail to comply with American auditing standards for three consecutive years.
Alibaba on Monday said that being added to the list meant it was now considered to be in its first “non inspection” year.
“Alibaba will continue to monitor market developments, comply with applicable laws and regulations and strive to maintain its listing status on both the NYSE and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange,” it said in a statement to the Hong Kong bourse.
US regulators have been demanding complete access to audit working papers of New York-listed Chinese companies, which are stored in China.
Beijing bars foreign inspection of working papers from local accounting firms.
The US rules give Chinese companies until early 2024 to comply with auditing requirements, though Congress is weighing bipartisan legislation that could accelerate the deadline to 2023.
China has said both sides are committed to reaching a deal to solve the audit dispute.
Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, said last week it planned to apply to convert its Hong Kong secondary listing to a dual primary listing, which would make it easier for mainland Chinese investors to buy its shares.
A dual listing would allow Alibaba to apply for admission to Stock Connect, the scheme connecting Hong Kong and mainland exchanges. Analysts estimated that there could be US$21 billion (S$29 billion) worth of inflows from mainland investors into Alibaba stock through Stock Connect.