Chinese firms speed up listings in Switzerland

Chinese firms are accelerating their overseas listings through the use of Global Depositary Receipts (GDR), with Switzerland a popular destination. The trend shows how Chinese companies are seeking alternatives to the U.S. market after a tough crackdown made the U.S. less attractive, experts said. A total of 10 Chinese companies have issued GDRs and 41 were proceeding with the process, statistics from domestic financial data provider iFinD showed. Of the 41 companies, 36 have the Swiss stock exchange as their listing destination. Solar energy company LONGi Green Energy Technology Co said in a recent announcement that it had received conditional approval from the SIX Swiss Exchange to issue GDRs in Switzerland. “We have seen interest among more companies that intend to list their GDRs on our exchange,” the SIX Swiss Exchange told the Global Times. Nine Chinese companies, mainly in the medical and high-tech sectors, had issued GDRs on the Swiss Exchange as of February 1. The companies include battery maker Sunwoda Electronics Co, Joincare Pharmaceutical Group Industry and Lepu Medical Technology.

The trend showed that companies of Chinese origin that aim to grow their businesses to invest in Europe are finding it very interesting to raise capital in Switzerland and improve their visibility, the SIX Swiss Exchange said. Companies are facing a higher threshold for listing in the U.S. following the tightening of regulations, and they also worry that their presence in the U.S. market can easily be affected by political factors, Xi Junyang, Professor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times. The fair treatment of overseas companies makes Switzerland a more preferred listing destination for Chinese firms than the U.S., despite the latter's huge, highly liquid markets, he said.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) in February 2022 expanded the Shanghai-London Stock Connect – a mechanism for cross-border investment – to include Switzerland and Germany. Experts said that more Chinese companies will tap into the overseas market by issuing GDRs and the stock connect programs between China and Europe will expand. The increasing issuance of GDRs in European markets also reflects the rising interest and demand of European investors for Chinese assets, especially in areas like electronics and artificial intelligence (AI), Dong Shaopeng, Senior Research Fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times. “As financial cooperation continues to deepen between China and Europe, Chinese firms' GDR activities in European markets will rise further,” Dong said.