By registering on the National Equities and Exchange Quotations (NEEQ), small and medium sized Chinese companies can publicly trade their shares without being listed on the ChiNext exchange in Shenzhen or the main board in Shanghai. This is an increasingly attractive option for Chinese SMEs.
The NEEQ began as a trial program in Beijing in 2006 as a means to finance growth companies in Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park. In 2012, the State Council approved rules and regulations that opened the NEEQ to companies from around China. The program has become increasingly popular among Chinese SMEs.
In 2012, the first year the program went national, only 200 companies were registered. As of the end of 2015, the number of companies stands at 5129. This is noteworthy because the number of companies registered as of the end of 2014 was only 1572. Part of the popularity may be that NEEQ registration is less burdensome than being listed in Shenzhen or Shanghai.
The primary differences between registering with the NEEQ and listing in Shenzhen or Shanghai are the financing vehicles allowed and the ongoing regulatory burden. NEEQ companies are confined to a rather narrow capital structure. But, issuers do not have to meet the same investment and risk management obligations that listing in Shenzhen or Shanghai would entail.
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