PCAOB, CSRC and Ministry of Finance Sign Accounting Oversight Cooperation Agreement

A very positive step!

On Friday, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) signed a Statement of Protocol with China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and Ministry of Finance governing inspections and investigations of audit firms based in China and Hong Kong.

Thru put begins next month.

For reference:
• From PCAOB – https://pcaobus.org/news-events/news-releases/news-release-detail/pcaob-signs-agreement-with-chinese-authorities-taking-first-step-toward-complete-access-for-pcaob-to-select-inspect-and-investigate-in-china
• From CSRC (EN) – http://www.csrc.gov.cn/csrc_en/c102030/c5572272/content.shtml
• From SEC – https://www.sec.gov/news/statement/gensler-audit-firms-china-hong-kong-20220826

TPG Clients Receive Top Rankings from Institutional Investor

Institutional Investor recently released its prestigious 2022 Asia (ex-Japan) Executive Team ranking, recognizing Asia’s CEOs, CFOs, Investor Relations Officers, and Investor Relations programs that best uphold corporate governance standards and facilitate investment into their company. TPG clients Xpeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV, HKEX: 9868), Bilibili Inc. (NASDAQ: BILI, HKEX: 9626), Xiaomi Corp. (HKEX: 1810), Everest Medicines Ltd. (HKEX: 1952), GDS Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: GDS, HKEX: 9698) and I-MAB (NASDAQ: IMAB) were honored to receive recognition for excellence across several categories including Best CEO, Best CFO, Best IR Professional, Best IR Program and Best ESG.

All public companies headquartered in Asia (ex-Japan) are eligible for inclusion in this annual ranking. Eligible companies’ investor relations programs are rated by nearly 5,000 buy- and sell-side investment professionals based on the following attributes: roadshows/conferences/meetings; IR team authority and credibility; accessibility of senior executives; responsiveness; earnings calls, business and market knowledge, timeliness of disclosure; and consistency and granularity of disclosure. Companies are also rated on their corporate ESG strategy, ESG engagement, and ESG disclosure.

The Piacente Group heartily congratulates Xpeng, Bilibili, Xiaomi, Everest Medicines, GDS Holdings and I-MAB on this commendation and their outstanding achievements. We are proud to support their industry-leading IR programs and their exemplary commitment to leadership, stewardship, and IR and ESG best practices.

Ranking Methodology: https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/research/11688/Methodology

Empowering Women in Business

TPG has a long history of empowering women in business. Join us June 29 in supporting the Women Empowerment Council at their Women Empowerment Awards in China Ceremony, held online from 12:30-2:00pm Beijing time.

The awards seek to showcase trailblazing individuals and innovative companies that have demonstrated a robust commitment to promoting women in the workforce and taking actions to effectively advance gender equality which can drive stronger business outcomes.

Last year, our president and founder, Brandi Piacente, was recognized at this event as a top-five finalist for the Outstanding Woman Leader of the Year in China award, nominated for her success as a senior executive female leader and her effort in the advancement of women in finance in China. We congratulate all of this year’s nominees on their selection and their remarkable contributions to this important societal movement.

Learn more and register here: https://womenempowermentcouncil.com/upcoming-events/

TPG-Bloomberg Forum: Integrating ESG & Sustainability into Your IR Program

Join us Wednesday, April 20 at 4:00pm BJT, as TPG and Bloomberg co-host an informative online presentation and panel session discussing ways IR professionals can address investor concerns around ESG and sustainability in their investor relations programs. Hear and learn from a variety of capital market veterans, including TPG’s Brandi Piacente and Jenny Cai, as they share tips and best practices. This event will be conducted in Chinese. Register via WeChat: TPGsocial.

Finalist – 2021 Outstanding Woman Leader of the Year Award

We are proud to announce that our president and founder, Brandi Piacente, has been named as a top-five finalist for the 2021 American Chamber of Commerce in China Outstanding Woman Leader of the Year Award. The award recognizes a senior female executive who has become a successful and influential leader in her chosen field and serves as a pioneering role model inspiring the next generation of women. It is the first time the American Chamber of Commerce in China has awarded such a distinction.

More About the Award & Women’s Economy Summit

Created in conjunction with the inaugural Women’s Economy Summit, the Women Empowerment Awards are designed to showcase trailblazing individuals and companies who have demonstrated commitment to promoting women in the workplace in order to encourage greater gender equality and drive stronger business outcomes in China. Award honorees will be recognized at the Women’s Economy Summit in Beijing on June 18, 2021. https://amcham.glueup.cn/event/2021-women-empowerment-awards-in-china-dinner-and-womens-economy-summit-32065/

A Young Entrepreneur & TPG IR

As a young female entrepreneur, Brandi came to China in 2005 and founded The Piacente Group Inc. (TPG-IR), a full-service investor relations (IR) and financial communications firm serving China-based companies listed in the US. At that time, the field of investor relations was new in China. Later, the firm expanded to also serving companies listed in Hong Kong. Today with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco and Miami, TPG-IR serves many of China’s leading mid- and large-cap companies and is the IR market leader for pre-IPO and publicly traded companies. TPG-IR has grown to its position of industry prominence supported by a senior leadership team and workforce that is more than 75% female.

More About Brandi

Brandi is also a pioneer for women in another field, martial arts. Brandi is a world kung-fu (kuoshu) champion and has won multiple national and international full-contact lei tai fighting championships. In 2002, she became the first female full-contact referee in the world to be certified by The World Kuoshu Federation. As a 3rd degree black belt and the highest-ranking female kuoshu referee in the world, Brandi travels the globe officiating international competitions, coaching and mentoring young athletes.

TPG-IR is honored to be led by a leader like Brandi with her commitment to excellence and empowerment.

The Future of Chinese Listed Companies on U.S. Exchanges

In February, the law school at Columbia University hosted a webinar discussing the timely topic, The Future of Chinese Listed Companies on U.S. Exchanges. Columbia University is the alma mater of TPG president, Brandi Piacente.

During the session, panel experts exchanged views on the current state of affairs, offered practical ideas for overcoming roadblocks and discussed potential future scenarios. We were fortunate to participate in this event. Our webinar summary notes are below.

Webinar Summary Notes – The Future of Chinese Listed Companies on U.S. Exchanges

Alibaba, Baidu and JD.Com are just a handful of the more than 200 Chinese companies listed in the U.S. About half the cross-border listings in the U.S. are from China every year and in 2020 alone, close to 30 Chinese companies listed in the U.S., raising $11.7 billion.

The reasons for the draw are many, chief among them being that a primary or a secondary listing on the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange helps a Chinese company raise capital quickly and perhaps more easily, while also giving U.S. investors access to high-value stocks outside of their home country.

However, recent geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China have been threatening to erode some of this momentum. Two U.S. government initiatives are set to increase scrutiny on Chinese and other foreign companies listing on U.S. exchanges. Firstly, an executive order prohibits U.S. investment in companies that Washington views as tied to or supporting the Chinese military. And more recently, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act threatens to delist foreign companies in three years or prohibit them from U.S. listings if they do not comply with audit-oversight inspections.

This presents a problem, one that is asking to be solved quickly. Here are our key takeaways from Columbia Law School’s timely and topical webinar on The Future of Chinese Listed Companies on U.S. Exchanges.

Panelists on the webinar, including academics, legal experts and cooperate executives, agreed that going to IPO in the U.S. remains a top priority for Chinese companies. The benefits continue to outweigh the challenges and obstacles. The U.S. being the largest, most liquid and most active market in the world, makes it very appealing to Chinese and other foreign companies despite the hurdles.

An IPO in the U.S. is still an extremely attractive option for Chinese companies, saving them time and the hassle of a cumbersome process at home, one of the participants said.

The fact that Chinese companies raised nearly $12 billion from IPOs in the U.S. in 2020, during a time of deteriorating Sino-American trade relations, is a testament to the deep draw U.S. markets have for Chinese companies and vice versa.

A legal expert noted that there remains a continued strong pipeline of Chinese companies planning to list in the U.S. despite the issues.

To be sure, U.S. investors are equally keen that Chinese companies continue to list on U.S. exchanges, granting them access to investment opportunities.

Hong Kong option

It was widely acknowledged that other markets are viable options for Chinese companies, and the U.S. is not the only game in town.

While it was a record year for Chinese companies listing in the U.S., mainland companies listing in Hong Kong also increased.

And if Chinese companies leave U.S. exchanges, U.S. investors will find a way to follow them and invest in them nonetheless. This is likely to happen even though it presents a risk for U.S. retail investors as they don’t have the same legal protections when they invest abroad compared to when they invest in the U.S.

Open to dialogue

Most participants on the call agreed that the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China, were open to dialogue and that nothing was set in stone yet.

There was a wide consensus on the webinar that both sides are very willing to engage and discuss the matters – an undeniably encouraging sign that a solution or some type of compromise can be worked out. Talks remain ongoing on many levels.

Winds of change – the Biden Administration

President Joe Biden’s administration in January delayed the implementation of a ban on Americans investing in companies with possible ties to the Chinese military.

While this indicates a softer stance to some, panelists on the webinar were of the opinion that it was too soon to tell and it remains unclear how the Biden Administration would tackle the situation.

There was also a discussion that at a time when the world has changed so much so rapidly, the U.S. needs to acknowledge the Chinese government’s legitimate concerns and work towards being more accommodative in order to maintain competitiveness and best protect U.S. investors.

IPO hope floats

In general, all the panelists said they were hopeful that the two countries would be able to reach a solution within the three-year window. They noted that this would require the resolve of both countries to work together, but they agreed that as long as both sides are talking, finding a solution is possible.

The Chinese economy is now huge and the U.S. economy is huge. Neither are going away, so must find a way to work together in this reality.

(Panelists on the call included Harvey L. Pitt, Chief Executive Officer, Kalorama Partners LLC, and former Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission; Edward Greene, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb, and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar in the Faculty of Law, Lecturer in Law; Georges Ugeux, former Executive and Head of International Listings, NYSE, and Lecturer in Law; Lorna Xin Chen, Asia Regional Managing Partner, Head of Greater China at Shearman & Sterling; and the conversation is moderated by Professor Benjamin L. Liebman, Director, Hong Yen Chang Center for Chinese Legal Studies).

Market Leader in 2020

We are proud to have led the market in 2020 in China-based US-listed IPOs. 2020 was a turbulent year for the markets and we are grateful for the trust we’ve earned over 15+ years partnering with leading management teams in China to tell their stories to the Street.