Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) yesterday downplayed concerns about China’s “magnetic pull,” and said the speedy approval for a listing of Foxconn Industrial Internet Co (FII, 富士康工業互聯網), a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), in Shanghai is an isolated case and would not have an immediate effect on Taiwan’s capital market.
Few Taiwanese companies are capable of building subsidiaries as large as those of Hon Hai, the world’s biggest contract electronics maker, Koo said, adding that FII’s scale and market value were modest when it was founded and the unit achieved its “unicorn” status and fast-track approval with the help of its parent, through internal mergers between subsidiaries.
Hon Hai’s decision to list FII overseas is part of the company’s global expansion plan, Koo said.
If there were a so-called “magnetic pull,” Taiwanese businesses would be compelled to delist from the local bourse in favor of the Chinese capital market, but that is not the case, Koo said.
“Only Hon Hai is capable of playing this game,” Koo said, adding that all capital markets are facing international competition in the age of globalization.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) criticized Koo’s stance on the matter and the lack of urgency displayed in his comments.
The record-fast approval for FII’s listing shows that China aims to encourage the 1,178 Taiwanese businesses that have together invested NT$2.2 trillion (US$75.3 billion) in the country to raise their funds on Chinese capital markets, Tseng said at a hearing with the Legislative Yuan’s Finance Committee.
Tseng also warned of grave consequences for Taiwan’s capital markets if Beijing were to demand that local businesses list their shares on Chinese stock exchanges.
In light of FII’s expected market capitalization, which is forecast to exceed NT$3 trillion and eclipse the NT$1.5 trillion value of its parent, the commission’s complacency is alarming, Tseng said.
Listing on Shanghai’s A-shares market typically takes one or two years and the process is much less transparent than in Taiwan, Taiwan Stock Exchange chairman Hsu Jan-yau (許璋瑤) told the hearing.
Koo said the commission is monitoring developments and would work toward cutting barriers for Taiwanese companies operating in China to list their shares on the local bourse.
Separately, Koo said the commission is mulling whether to extend the licenses for Taiwan’s first two online-only banks.
The licenses require new Web-only banks to have paid-in capital of NT$10 billion and no more than two licenses would be awarded in light of the nation’s already crowded market, with 38 lenders, Koo said.
Applicants that want to operate Web-only banks would also face regulations on separation of banking from commerce, Koo said.
Regarding Line Corp’s plans to form a Web-only banking arm, Koo said that the company must strictly separate data from its popular social messaging app and from its forthcoming digital lending business.
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