Title: Deep underpricing of China's IPOs: sources and implications

Authors: Vinay Datar, David Z. Mao

Addresses: Department of Economics and Finance, Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University, USA. ' Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Shanghai Office, Suite 450, East Tower, Shanghai Centre 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai 200040, China

Abstract: The empirical findings of this paper suggest that IPOs in the Chinese stock market were deliberately, substantially underpriced by the issuers rather than overpriced by the aftermarket. We propose that the Chinese government has deliberately underpriced the IPOs primarily to create a viable capital market without any particular regard to maximisation of issue proceeds (or minimisation of underpricing). The implications of these findings for Chinese policy makers and local as well as foreign investors are significant. The high level of underpricing leads to a wealth transfer but it can be rationalised as an investment in building a capital market infrastructure. There is evidence suggesting that the issuer prefers to keep the offer price low regardless of the offer size; presumably this makes the issues accessible to a wider clientele and thereby makes the wealth transfer more equitable. The combination of a high level of underpricing and a small offer price makes the IPOs widely desirable and also widely affordable; this makes the potential wealth transfer equitable and also facilitates a wide dispersion of ownership that may be essential for a huge emerging capital market such as that of China.

Keywords: IPO; initial public offerings; China; capital markets; new issues; underpricing; privatisation; Chinese stock market.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFSM.2006.009635

International Journal of Financial Services Management, 2006 Vol.1 No.2/3, pp.345 - 362

Available online: 03 May 2006 *

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