BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- China announced Friday a pilot program to support innovative companies' domestic listing and issuance of China Depositary Receipts (CDRs).
The pilot scheme will cover companies in high-tech or strategic emerging industries such as internet, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, software and integrated circuit, as well as high-end equipment manufacturing and biological medicine, according to a document from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
The program will apply to overseas-listed firms who are registered overseas but operate in the Chinese mainland with a capitalization of no less than 200 billion yuan (about 31.7 billion U.S. dollars), according to the document.
For innovative companies who have not listed overseas, they will be the program candidates if they have posted a business income of at least 3 billion yuan for the past year and are valued at 20 billion yuan or above.
Innovative companies who have not listed overseas and do not fulfill the business income and valuation requirements, will be on the candidate list if their business income registers fast expansion and they have developed independent and advanced technologies.
A consultation committee will be set up under the CSRC to select the pilot companies.
Qualified overseas-listed companies could issue shares or depositary receipts in China, while innovative companies who have not listed overseas could apply to be listed in the domestic stock market.
Firms taking part in the scheme should treat domestic and foreign investors equally, according to the CSRC.
The program will allow domestic investors access to tech giants such as Alibaba and Baidu, which are currently listed in the United States.
For years, China's capital market was dominated by traditional industries such as property development, finance and industrial materials.
Innovative firms, tech startups in particular, face legal and technical barriers to list on the A-share market, including restrictions on weighted voting rights, or dual-class shares, and mandatory requirements on IPO applicants' profitability.