In separate statements released on Friday, China Life Insurance, PetroChina, Sinopec, Aluminum Corporation of China and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical said they had notified the NYSE and requested “voluntary delisting.”

The five companies cited “low U.S. revenue” and “high administrative overhead and costs” as their reasons for leaving.

However, the news comes after the five were flagged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in May, according to Reuters, for failing to meet U.S. auditing standards.

China’s securities watchdog, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said on Friday it was aware of the situation and that “it is normal for companies to be listed or delisted from any market”.

“We will keep in touch with foreign regulatory institutions and jointly protect the rights of companies and investors,” he said.

Increased control

The news comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission steps up its scrutiny of audits of Chinese companies.

The commission can kick companies off the exchange if they don’t allow US watchdogs to inspect their financial audits for three consecutive years. China has for years rejected US audits of its companies.

Chinese companies trading overseas are required to hold their audit documents in mainland China, where they cannot be reviewed by foreign agencies.

But in April, China’s securities watchdog proposed to change a decade-old rule that prohibits Chinese companies from sharing sensitive data and financial information with foreign regulators. The amendment could allow US regulators to inspect the audit reports of Chinese companies listed in New York.

Nevertheless, companies like Alibaba are taking steps to prepare for a possible loss of direct access to the US capital market.

In late July, the Securities and Exchange Commission added Alibaba to a list of more than 150 companies subject to expulsion if their audits could not be inspected within the next three years, joining some of China’s biggest companies such as JD .com and Baidu.

Even before the commission added Alibaba to its watchlist, the company said it would seek a primary listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Currently, Alibaba has a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

“A primary listing status in Hong Kong gives Chinese ADRs (American Depository Shares) the opportunity to diversify their listing risk and retain access to the public equity market” if they are forced to leave the United States, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a recent report. .

If the transition goes smoothly for Alibaba, it could “pave the way” for many other Chinese ADRs to pursue a similar change, Citi analysts said.

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