According to a report by Reuters quoting three sources familiar with the matter said that US regulators have chosen e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and other US-listed Chinese companies for audit inspections beginning next month.
The move follows Friday’s landmark audit agreement between Beijing and Washington, which allows US regulators to vet accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong, potentially putting an end to a long-running dispute that threatened to delist more than 200 Chinese companies from US stock exchanges.
According to Reuters, Alibaba has been informed that it is among the first batch of Chinese companies whose audits will be inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in Hong Kong.
According to the sources, who declined to be identified due to confidentiality constraints, PwC, China’s largest e-commerce company’s accounting firm, has also been informed of the audit work inspection.
Alibaba did not respond immediately to a request for comment, and a PwC spokesperson stated that it was company policy not to comment on client matters.
According to a PCAOB spokesperson, the board does not comment on inspections. Outside of business hours, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) could not be reached for comment.
For more than a decade, US regulators have demanded access to audit papers of US-listed Chinese companies, but Beijing has been hesitant to allow US regulators to inspect its accounting firms, citing national security concerns.
With a market value of $256 billion as of Monday, Alibaba, which went public in New York in 2014 in what was then the largest listing in history, is the most valuable Chinese firm listed in the United States.
The PCAOB announced on Friday that it had notified the selected companies, without naming them, and that its officials are expected to arrive in Hong Kong by mid-September, where the inspections will take place.
According to the PCAOB, the regulator, which oversees audits of publicly traded companies in the United States, would choose companies based on risk factors such as size and sector, and no companies could expect preferential treatment.
Reuters was unable to determine how many and which other Chinese companies were included in the initial batch of
(Adapted from Reuters.com)
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