JD.com, Pinduoduo among 80 Chinese companies added to list of firms facing delisting in US

Firms face removal if they shirk requirements for three straight years. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - US regulators have added more than 80 companies, including JD.com, Pinduoduo and Bilibili, to an expanding list of firms that face possible expulsion from American exchanges because of Beijing's refusal to allow access to the businesses' financial audits.

The United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday (May 4) put the corporations on a provisional line-up of US-listed Chinese entities that face delisting under a 2020 law, starting a three-year clock to comply with inspection requirements. Some of the largest Chinese companies traded on US exchanges, including China Petroleum & Chemical, JinkoSolar Holding, NetEase and NIO, were also added.

Wall Street's main watchdog has long been expected to crack down on about 200 New York-traded firms with parent companies based in China and Hong Kong because the jurisdictions refuse to allow the inspections by American officials.

The SEC's publication of companies over the past several weeks has jarred investors who had been hoping for a deal between regulators in Beijing and Washington.

The US and China have been at odds for two decades over the mandate that all companies that trade publicly in America grant access to audit work papers. Since Congress passed the law in 2020, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which oversees auditors, and the SEC have been laying the groundwork for identifying companies that do not comply.

Firms face removal if they shirk requirements for three straight years, meaning they could be kicked off the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq as soon as 2024.

Critics say Chinese companies enjoy the trading privileges of a market economy - including access to US stock exchanges - while receiving government support and operating in an opaque system. But regulators in Beijing argue that Chinese national security law prohibits them from turning over audit papers to US regulators.

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