US exchanges set for highest number of Asian IPOs since 2010

A banner for China Rapid Finance on the NYSE's facade, celebrating the mainland firm's IPO in May.
A banner for China Rapid Finance on the NYSE's facade, celebrating the mainland firm's IPO in May.PHOTO: REUTERS

Nasdaq, NYSE eyeing firms from S-E Asia economies, not just China

HONG KONG • US exchanges are set to record their busiest year for initial public offerings (IPOs) from Asian firms since 2010, and may sustain the pace next year as start-ups from Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam join a flurry of Chinese firms that have already listed in the country.

Chinese issuers have dominated IPO activity in the United States for several years, but Nasdaq and rival New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) have been increasingly targeting firms from fast-growing South-east Asian economies and start-ups from Japan and Australia to counter their dependence on mainland companies.

Mr Bob McCooey, chairman for the Asia-Pacific and global head of capital markets at Nasdaq, said: "We see great growth and great opportunities ahead, and it is not just about China.

"Entrepreneurship and innovation are all over the region."

Five companies, including Singaporean online game-maker Sea, China's oldest peer-to-peer lender Ppdai Group and search company Sogou, are currently pitching their plans for IPOs to investors, adding to the 10 Chinese firms that have listed so far this year in the US.

Australian biopharmaceutical company Immuron also listed in the US in June.

The final tally of IPOs from Asian companies in the US is expected to reach 20 to 24, Mr McCooey said.

That would be the most from the region since a record 42 new listings in 2010, Thomson Reuters data showed.

While the number of Asian firms listing on US exchanges should be about the same in 2018, the year is expected to see an increase in the amount of funds raised from 2017, Mr McCooey added.

Sectors leading deal activity include life sciences, e-commerce, education and financial technology, or fintech.

IPO proceeds from Asian companies listing on Nasdaq and the NYSE peaked in 2014, when e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding went public in a record US$25 billion (S$34 billion) deal. That year, two-thirds of new listings were from China.

Despite the dominance from Chinese issuers, US IPOs over the past several years have included companies from Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and India.

Mr McCooey said that Nasdaq is tracking about 100 companies from mainland China that it could engage with for potential listings as they look to go public in the coming years.

But the exchange is also meeting firms from Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

In May, it signed an agreement to help Vietnamese online gaming and messaging company VNG Corp explore an IPO, making it a rare US listing from a company in the South-east Asian nation.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2017, with the headline 'US exchanges set for highest number of Asian IPOs since 2010'. Print Edition | Subscribe