Chinese unicorn firms still have a preference for Hong Kong and US stock markets over the A-share market despite Chinese government policies to foster domestic listings, data from a PwC report on Chinese unicorns showed on Monday.
Of the 101 unicorn firms where PwC conducted interviews in recent months, only 23 percent said they favor the A-share markets, while as many as 43 percent said they prefer the Hong Kong bourse and 25 percent expressed a preference for the US stock market.
The Chinese government has been recently encouraging unicorn firms to list on the domestic A-share bourses by issuing draft rules on the issuance and trading of China Depositary Receipts (CDRs) for public comment.
Gao Jianbin, PwC China's TMT leader, said that the government regulations have just been rolled out, and many companies still have a wait-and-see attitude.
"In comparison, the listing specifications for unicorn firms are much clearer on the US and Hong Kong bourses, so companies might want to choose a shorter route," Gao told the Global Times on Monday.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange rolled out regulations in late April allowing companies with dual-class share structures and biotechnology companies that have not yet made a profit to be listed in Hong Kong.
According to the analyst team of Tiger Brokers, the Hong Kong securities regulator is less strict about business information disclosure, and therefore companies face "less pressure" on the Hong Kong bourse.
Wilson Chow, PwC's global TMT leader, also noted on Monday that in the future, after the mainland CDR regulations are executed, companies might choose to be listed on both the Hong Kong and the mainland markets.
The PwC report showed that 64 percent of the interviewed unicorns said they plan to be listed within the next two years, while 21 percent said their listing plans are "urgent."
Ye Daqing, CEO of financial search platform rong360.com, told the Global Times that unicorns' return to the A-share markets would give Chinese investors more rights to invest in some of the fastest-growing companies in the Chinese mainland. Unicorns refer to start-ups valued at over $1 billion.