At a time when China’s government is trying to keep the economy from overheating, a record number of its companies are selling stock in U.S. initial public offerings.
Youku.com Inc., the online video provider whose name means “excellent and cool,” E-Commerce China Dangdang Inc., the country’s largest online book retailer, and three other mainland companies plan to raise a total of $703 million this week, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The sales would bring the number of Chinese IPOs in New York to 39 this year, surpassing the 37 in 2007, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
While four of the ten best performing U.S. IPOs of 2010 have come from China, shares of the last four mainland companies that completed sales fell after the government raised interest rates and bank reserve requirements and said it may impose price controls. Youku.com and China Dangdang are offering stock at as much as five times the median valuation of their U.S.-traded rivals, data compiled by IPOdesktop.com and Bloomberg show.
“The market wants emerging market stocks,” said Timothy Cunningham, a money manager at Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Thornburg Investment Management, which oversees about $70 billion. “If they had come a month ago, these would have been incredibly hot, up a huge amount. They’re going to get a little more investor scrutiny.”
Youku.com will offer 15.4 million American depositary receipts at $9 to $11 each today, the filing said. The midpoint values the Beijing-based company at 15 times projected annual sales, compared to the median of 3 times estimated 2011 revenue for 12 U.S.-traded Internet-content providers, data compiled by Marina del Rey, California-based IPOdesktop.com and Bloomberg show. It hasn’t posted a profit in the last three years.
China’s online-video market more than doubled to 621 million yuan ($93 million) last quarter, according to Beijing- based research company Analysys International. Youku.com had the largest share at 23 percent, followed by 19 percent for Shanghai-based Tudou Holdings Ltd., which filed for a $120 million U.S. IPO last month. Tudou means potato in Chinese and refers to a couch potato, Chief Executive Officer Gary Wang said in an interview in September.
Google Inc.’s YouTube, the world’s most popular video- sharing site, is inaccessible in China. The country had 420 million Internet users as of June, according to data from the government-sponsored China Internet Network Information Center. The U.S. population in 2010 ranged from 305.7 million to 312.7 million, Census Bureau data show.
“With China and the Internet, you have two areas that are getting a lot of interest,” said Scott Billeadeau, who helps oversee $18 billion at Fifth Third Asset Management in Minneapolis. “Without question you’ll have pretty good response” from investors, he said.
China Dangdang is offering 17 million ADRs at $13 to $15 each today after increasing the price range from $11 to $13, an SEC filing showed.
The original midpoint valued the Beijing-based operator of dangdang.com at 48 times annual earnings, based on third-quarter results, data compiled by IPOdesktop.com show. That’s 64 percent higher than the median of 29.3 for 11 U.S.-traded Internet retailers. Bloomberg data show. Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc., the biggest online merchant, trades at 38.8 times profit.
The four Chinese Internet companies that completed U.S. IPOs this year surged an average of 57 percent in their first day of trading, the data show. ChinaCache International Holdings Ltd., a Beijing-based provider of content for business websites, posted the biggest first-day rally on U.S. exchanges in three years, jumping 95 percent on Oct. 1.
SinoTech Energy Ltd. which provides equipment to boost oil field production, posted the steepest drop among Chinese IPOs since the People’s Bank of China raised lending and deposit rates in October for the first time since 2007. The Beijing- based company slid 19 percent Nov. 3, the largest first-day fall for a U.S. offering this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The PBOC increased banks’ reserve requirements five times in 2010, while the government said on Nov. 17 it may impose price controls to combat the fastest inflation in two years. China’s economy will grow 9 percent next year, three times as fast as the U.S., according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Bona Film Group Ltd. of Beijing, China’s largest privately owned movie distributor, will offer 11.7 million ADRs at $7 to $9 each tomorrow, according to SEC filings. Sky-mobi Ltd., which provides applications for mobile devices from Hangzhou, China, is selling 7.25 million ADRs at $8 to $10 the next day. Lentuo International Inc., the largest privately-owned automobile retailer in Beijing, also plans to sell 7.5 million ADRs at $11.50 to $13.50 on Dec. 9, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“Chinese companies are really going to be the driver of the IPO market,” said Michael Yoshikami, who oversees $1 billion at YCMNet Advisors in Walnut Creek, California. “Investors are buying the thematic trend of emerging markets, and they’re overlooking fundamentals.”
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Hauck at email@example.com.