Pony Ma Huateng, chairman and CEO of Chinese internet giant Tencent, indicated his support for the company's listing both in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, and said he has discussed Tencent's A-share flotation during the two sessions, which concluded last week.
Ma made the remarks at the China (Shenzhen) IT Summit on Sunday, according to a transcript from financial news outlet wallstreetcn, which broke the Hong Kong-listed company's silence on returning to the mainland stock market.
Chinese business magazine Caixin earlier reported Tencent has been singled out as one of eight companies in the first batch to issue Chinese Depository Receipts — similar instruments to American depositary receipts, which are certificates that allow investors to hold shares listed across borders.
The other seven are Baidu, Alibaba, JD, Ctrip, Weibo, NetEase and Sunny Optical, which will go back to the A-share market via the CDR.
In Tencent's 2017 Fourth Quarter and Annual Results announcement Wednesday, Ma also said the company will consider issuing CDRs if conditions permit, the Paper reported.
To woo tech giants home, China's regulators have been working hard. Yan Qingmin, the deputy head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission confirmed to Securities Times on the sidelines of the two sessions that CDRs will be released very soon, and the instrument is an effective measure for enabling Chinese enterprises listed elsewhere to return to the mainland's A-share market.
China's investment bank China International Capital Corporation Limited predicted China will release a draft on CDR rules after the two sessions.
For years, China's capital market was dominated by traditional industries such as property development, finance and industrial materials.
Innovative firms, tech startups in particular, face legal and technical barriers to list on the A-share market, including restrictions on weighted voting rights, or dual-class shares, and mandatory requirements on IPO applicants' profitability.
Tech firms have declared support for the China-based listings. China's search engine giant Baidu Inc, Chinese game developer NetEase Inc, Chinese search engine Sogou Inc and major online marketplace operator 58.com are among a host of firms interested in a secondary listing at home.
If CDR rules are released soon, China's high-tech titans Alibaba and JD will probably issue CDRs in June, Caixin reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.