Nasdaq OMX Group said the number of Greater China companies that list on its exchange could double in as little as two years, fueled by a growing appetite for these shares from a wider range of U.S. institutional investors.
Three of the top 10 performing initial public share offerings in the United States this year are Chinese firms and all listed on Nasdaq, Robert McCooey, the head of global listings and a senior vice president, told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
The U.S. investor, especially on the institutional side, is very receptive to the Chinese company, said McCooey, referring to IPOs such as those from video games maker Changyou.com Ltd and Lihua International Inc.
Highlighting that broader appeal, mainland firms are now taking their roadshows to U.S. cities outside of the traditional stops in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, he said.
They are going to Milwaukee, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
Chinese firms are not just attracting the attention of portfolio managers focused on China, but also those eyeing more generally global growth businesses across a broad range of industries such as financial, healthcare and the consumer sector, he said.
They recognize China has the greatest opportunities for their companies, said McCooey.
That appetite will underpin the China region as Nasdaq's largest source of foreign company listings in the coming years.
In two to three years, we will double the number of Chinese listings to 250, he said.
McCooey said he expected 125 listings from the Greater China area by the end of this year, and mainland firms as a percentage of its total foreign listings to rise from about a third to a half within 3 years.
Stock exchanges around the world are competing for business and new listings from China, as Beijing maps out plans to develop domestic capital markets.
The Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing (HKEx) , the world's second-largest listed exchange operator, faces increasing competition from mainland China, as average daily turnover fell 6.6 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter.
Nasdaq was confident the Chinese IPO pie was growing and all exchanges could benefit, even after Beijing introduced last month a new growth enterprise board, Chinext, to provide badly needed funding to start-ups.
There is plenty for everybody, he said.
Nasdaq successfully convinced Sinovac Biotech, one of the designated H1N1 flu vaccine producers in China, to transfer its American Exchange-listed shares to the Nasdaq from next week.
Nasdaq's competitiveness has caught the eye of investors.
While the exchange reported last week its third straight quarterly profit drop, Moody's Investors Service this week raised its rating on Nasdaq to investment grade and said it may downgrade NYSE Euronext, the latest sign of changing fortunes as exchanges battle for market share.
In a move that could help its profile in China, Nasdaq has already expressed interest to regulators and the Shanghai Stock Exchange to be one of the first foreign companies to list on a proposed international board.
I absolutely believe it is going to happen, said McCooey.
The international board could be established next year as large mainland companies such as China Mobile, the world's largest wireless carrier in terms of subscribers, and CNOOC Ltd, could dual list their shares in Shanghai.
NYSE Euronext, the parent of the New York Stock Exchange and a rival to Nasdaq, is also keen to list in China.
(Additional reporting by Kang Xize; Editing by Ken Wills)