The launch of the science and technology innovation board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange is getting closer, with sponsors taking part in a test run of the new board’s audit system on March 13.
The dry run included the simulation of creating new applications, filling in project information, submitting related documents and dealing with notices and letters. The sponsors received digital certificates from Shanghai Stock Exchange last week, with which they can log onto the audit system, submit projects for the new board and check the proceedings.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange released the notice for the test run on March 12. The audit system will start operation officially from March 18, by which date it will deal with applications for the new board.
Fang Xinghai, deputy head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said at a meeting during the ongoing two sessions on March 8 that the Shanghai Stock Exchange will complete the application vetting process in less than six months and the CSRC will finish the same process in 20 working days.
Fu Lichun, research director of Northeast Securities, said that the first batch of companies are likely to be listed on the new tech board in the middle of the year. There will be no more than 100 companies listed on the new board by the end of this year to ensure its quality, with the total financing amount reaching 100 billion yuan ($14.9 billion), he said.
Steven Sun, head of research at HSBC Qianhai Securities, said that the new Nasdaq-like board will focus on technology companies specializing in areas like integrated circuits, biomedicine, artificial intelligence and 5G.
He said that the importance of the new board is reflected by the release of related documents. The CSRC released nine consultation papers at the end of January and issued the 10 official documents on March 2, which was right after the consultation period ended.
“It is the fastest release in the history of China’s capital market regulation. It could prove to be the boldest reform undertaken so far in China’s capital market and one of the most significant moves in China’s supply-side reform of the financial industry,” he said.
Sun added that the reforms proposed for the new board, if rolled out to the broader market, will help to address the inefficiencies and distortions that now exist in the capital market and attract more institutional investors to the A-share market.
Delegates attending the two sessions in Beijing also pinned high hopes for the new tech board. Yang Chengzhang, chief economist at the research institute of Shenwan Hongyuan Securities, said that the new board will better serve companies in emerging industries to provide them with more financing channels. Technology will be better and more widely used in finance to reduce companies’ financing costs, he said.
Xie Wei, general manager of BOCOM Schroders, said that the new board, together with the pilot registration system, is a reform to attract incremental capital into the Chinese market. To that end, regulators should emphasize information disclosure, the qualifications of investors, delisting rules and the resolution of securities and futures disputes, said Xie.