- Rising political pressure from both Beijing and Washington means more Chinese companies may need to delist from the U.S. and move to Hong Kong.
- But most of the affected stocks have low levels of U.S. ownership, according to a Morgan Stanley report published Dec. 9.
- Those with a higher share of American ownership don't include well-known names like Alibaba, according to the report.
BEIJING — The U.S.-listed Chinese stocks with the greatest share of American ownership don't include many of the big names familiar to Wall Street, according to a Morgan Stanley report.
Rising political pressure from both Beijing and Washington means more Chinese companies may need to delist from the U.S. and move to Hong Kong.
But most of the affected stocks have low levels of U.S. ownership, according to a Morgan Stanley report published Dec. 9. And even those with more American money don't include well-known names like Alibaba.
Here's the list:
The top five names on the list by U.S. ownership include biotechnology companies BeiGene and Zai Lab, KFC-parent Yum China and dating app operator Hello Group. The fifth name, JOYY, is a livestreaming company formerly known as YY.
The median share of U.S. ownership for the top 10 names is 43%, according to CNBC calculations of the Morgan Stanley data for stocks eligible for a secondary listing in Hong Kong. The median for the top 50 names is 27%.
That of Alibaba is a far lower 13.1%, while Chinese electric car start-up Nio has a slightly higher share at 20.4%, the report said.
Swap for Hong Kong-listed shares
Chinese companies like Alibaba, Trip.com and Baidu have held secondary stock offerings in Hong Kong over the last few years. That means if the U.S.-listed shares are delisted, investors can swap them for ones in Hong Kong.
Other companies, like Nio and video streaming site iQiyi, are immediately eligible for launching a listing in Hong Kong, according to the Morgan Stanley report.
But the report showed that more than 40 U.S.-listed Chinese stocks won't be able to list in Hong Kong in the next two years since they don't meet the exchange's requirements for market value, profit and other metrics.
Here's the U.S. ownership of the few stocks with a market value greater than $1 billion that aren't eligible for a Hong Kong listing:
In the last several months, the Chinese government has made it harder for local companies to list in the U.S. by requiring additional data security reviews.
Just days after its U.S. IPO in late June, Chinese ride-hailing app Didi had to suspend new user registrations for a government review. Earlier this month, the company said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange and list in Hong Kong.
Morgan Stanley didn't include Didi in its report.
Meanwhile, pressure on Chinese stocks is growing on the U.S. side. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission early this month finished the preliminary procedures necessary to begin a delisting process for Chinese stocks that don't allow a U.S. government audit of three-straight years of financial reports.
However, the Morgan Stanley analysts don't expect forced delistings until at least 2024.
Institutions or non-American investors will be affected more by such changes. U.S. retail investors only account for about 13% of U.S. trading volume in Chinese stocks listed there, the Morgan Stanley analysts estimated.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect a correction issued by Morgan Stanley, removing a reference to Vicarious Surgical as it is tied to SPAC deal.