More China dotcom IPOs in US

BEIJING - The price of shares in most United States-listed Chinese Internet companies surged over the past week after quarterly reports beat investors' expectations.

Wall Street is poised to witness more initial public offerings by Chinese dotcoms, analysts said.

Shares in Dangdang Inc, a US-listed e-commerce website best-known for online book-selling, rose by more than one-third on Feb 27, hours after the company said it has returned to profitability for the first time since 2011.

Although its net income was 21.7 million yuan (S$4.6 million) in the fourth quarter of last year, its net loss was 122.1 million yuan in the corresponding period of 2012, according to the Beijing-based company.

Peggy Yu, the executive chairwoman of Dangdang, said the company plans to drive growth in general merchandise, books and media segments this year.

Also on Feb 27, video website Youku Tudou Inc, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, reported a 42 per cent year-on-year revenue growth for the fourth quarter.

The company's revenues were 901.3 million yuan during the October-December period.

The price of shares in the nation's top online video portal increased by 3 per cent on Feb 27.

Internet firms, including Youku and Dangdang, were leading the surge of US-listed Chinese companies. Dangdang rose 49 per cent and Youku extended its monthly gain to 15 per cent in February.

The most-traded Chinese stocks in the US rallied 5.4 per cent to 102.37 in February, according to the Bloomberg China-US Equity Index.

Chinese dotcoms started becoming popular again among overseas investors late last year after a series of financial scandals and short selling in 2011 damaged Chinese Web companies' reputations.

According to Dealogic, an investment consultancy, Chinese initial public offerings raised almost $1 billion from the US in 2013.

The amount was five times higher than 2012's figure but still shy of the pre-scandal year of 2010 when more than $4 billion was raised on Wall Street.

Analysts believe the public offerings of online marketplace 58.com and travel-booking site Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd in late 2013 opened the door for a new round of US IPOs by Chinese Internet companies.

Internet companies in China have accumulated enough momentum over the past two years and there is no reason for the number of IPOs not to increase this year, Paul Lau, a partner at KPMG China told China Daily in an earlier interview.

A full spectrum of websites, including Autohome.com.cn, an automotive information portal, and 500.com Ltd, an online lottery site, successfully listed in New York late last year.

Both stocks had more than doubled their IPO prices as of Wednesday. Around 15 to 20 Chinese firms are expected to go public in the US this year, according to an NYSE Euronext Inc estimate.

The world's second-largest economy has become the third-largest country by the number of listed companies on the New York Stock Exchange, following the US and Canada.

China's vibrant cyber economy was the major factor behind US IPOs, analysts said. The nation had more than 600 million regular Internet users and 500 million mobile Internet users as of the end of 2013, according to China Internet Network Information Center, a government-backed industry regulatory body.

Online shopping, social networking, video sharing and location-based services were the top businesses for the industry. Sina Weibo, the largest micro-blogging service in China by user numbers, is contemplating a New York IPO this summer from which the company plans to raise around $500 million, said Xinhua News Agency.

The decision, considered late by some, came after China Internet Network Information Center said 28 million Internet users quit using micro blogs in China in 2013.

The biggest IPO may happen in the latter half of this year, however. JD.com, the second largest business-to-customer shopping website in China, is planning a US$1.5 billion (S$1.9 billion) IPO in the US.

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