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More Chinese firms are coming to list in the US — but don't expect a flood, Nasdaq says

  • The United States' initial public offering market is seeing strong activity by Chinese companies, said Nasdaq Senior Vice President Bob McCooey
  • The stock exchange has seen double the amount of IPOs from Chinese firms this year as compared to 2016, McCooey said
  • However, he added that being listed on the Nasdaq is not something that a majority of Chinese companies want

In a sign of Chinese businesses' increasingly lofty and global ambitions, firms from the country are growing more active in the United States' initial public offering market, said Bob McCooey, senior vice president of Nasdaq's Listing Services unit.

"We've had double the amount of IPOs here in the U.S. than we had last year. There were only nine IPOs from China in the U.S. last year. There have been 20 so far, and on file are another 12 companies," McCooey said.

The recent pickup in activity by Chinese firms is significant: For comparison, a total of 98 companies from the country currently feature on the stock exchange.

Richard Liu, founder and chairman of JD.com, during an IPO ceremony at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, U.S., on May 22, 2014.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Richard Liu, founder and chairman of JD.com, during an IPO ceremony at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, U.S., on May 22, 2014.

Although U.S. investors may be more familiar with China's big-name tech players like Alibaba and JD.com, the IPO market is really led by a "wide swathe" of businesses from Asia's largest economy, according to McCooey.

Some of those companies play in "terrific" sectors such as life sciences, e-commerce, and education — the last of which is particularly popular in China, the senior vice president said.

Nonetheless, the rising tide of IPO activity does not mean there's likely to be a flood of Chinese companies into the Nasdaq, McCooey said.

"We're only going to have a small number of companies from the [Asia-Pacific] region that will come to our market anyway. They are companies that are in certain sectors [and] have global aspirations," he said, adding that the stock exchange will not "try to convince companies who belong in the local markets not to go to the local markets."