© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Nasdaq logo is displayed at the Nasdaq Market site in Times Square in New York City, U.S., December 3, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon/File Photo
By Yantoultra Ngui and Scott Murdoch
SINGAPORE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Several Southeast Asian companies are considering listing in the United States, banking on strong investor appetite for emerging market growth in the absence of Chinese stock offerings.
Senior executives in leading SME digital financing platform Funding Societies, Singapore-based entertainment firm Gushcloud International and Thai insurance technology firm Sunday told Reuters they were looking into New York as one of their initial public offering (IPO) venues.
This comes on top of recently announced plans by Vietnamese internet company VNG Corp and Philippine real estate company DoubleDragon Corp’s Hotel101 Global to list in the U.S., filling a void left by Chinese companies which hit the pause button on U.S. IPOs after political tensions with Washington intensified, Beijing tightened scrutiny of domestic firms seeking overseas listings and China’s own economy slowed.
“China’s shadow into the ASEAN region has shrunk since the world reopened after the pandemic,” said Leif Schneider, senior legal adviser at law firm DFDL Vietnam.
“Chinese competitors have gradually been pushed to the sidelines due to homemade restrictions and the ensuing domestic economic fallout,” he added. “These factors have enabled some of their ASEAN rivals to step out into the spotlight.”
ASEAN, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, includes Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. The bloc’s biggest car e-commerce platform Carsome Group has also said it was considering various global exchanges, including those in the U.S., for a potential listing.
Southeast Asian firms have raised about $101 million via IPOs in the U.S. so far this year, way below last year’s $919 million, but bankers expect the pace to pick up over the next 12 months as companies hunt for new sources of capital after relying on private funds for the last few years.
In contrast, Chinese firms have raised $463.7 million via U.S listings so far this year, slightly above 2022 levels but a fraction of the $12.96 billion and $12.48 billion raised in 2021 and 2020 respectively, according to LSEG data.
For investors seeking emerging market exposure, Southeast Asia fits the bill, because of the region’s strong economic growth and increasing population, analysts say.