Tech

China’s EV darling Nio turns to Hong Kong and Singapore amid US delisting risk

Nio, an electric vehicle upstart from China, is planning to list its shares in Singapore, which will make the city-state the third base where it trades as geopolitical tensions between China and the US heighten.

Nio said on Friday that it is seeking a secondary listing of its Class A ordinary shares “by way of introduction” on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited, a way to list securities already in issue on another exchange.

The company’s shares will continue to be primarily listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, where it debuted back in 2018. Earlier this year, Nio completed a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

The announcement came after the US Securities Exchange Commission added over 80 companies to a list of mostly Chinese companies facing expulsion from US exchanges, which includes Nio and other tech behemoths like microblogging platform Weibo, video streaming site Bilibili, e-commerce platforms JD.com and Pinduoduo, Tencent Music Entertainment (Tencent’s music streaming empire), and gaming company NetEase.

Li Auto and Xpeng, which are Nio’s rivals in China, are also on the list.

The delisting watchlist represents a longtime standoff between accounting authorities in China and the US. In 2020, the Trump administration passed a bill demanding more visibility into the books of US-listed foreign firms, zeroing in on the auditing practices of Chinese entities. But the policy has not sat well with countries reluctant to turn over the data of their homegrown businesses, fearing national security risks.

A handful of Chinese tech companies have acted preemptively by pursuing secondary listings well before they were put on the watchlist. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange saw a wave of “homecoming listings” by giants like Alibaba, JD.com and NetEase, which would help them attract investors at home who are more familiar with their businesses while hedging against the risk of being kicked off US bourses.

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