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China to become top IPO market

SHANGHAI, Jul 6 – China is on track to become the world\’s biggest initial public offering market this year in terms of both the number of new listings and funds raised, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The total number of new listings on the country\’s two bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen may reach 300 in 2010, compared to 99 last year, business advisers PwC said in a forecast published this week.

Chinese companies are expected to raise 500 billion yuan (73.6 billion dollars) in IPOs this year, it said.

The IPO market picked up significantly in the first half of 2010, even though uncertainties over the global recovery and the euro debt crisis heightened market volatility, Frank Lyn, China Markets Leader for PwC, said.

"This really demonstrates that Chinese companies are developing well, along with the continuing growth of the domestic economy and become more mature," Lyn said in a statement.

Domestic companies have raised 212.7 billion yuan from 176 IPOs in the first half of this year, more than the 187.9 billion yuan raised in the whole of 2009, according to PwC.

The Agricultural Bank of China, the last one of the "big four" state banks to float shares, is seeking to raise up to 23.2 billion dollars in a massive IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong this month that could be the world\’s biggest.

In June 2009, China\’s securities regulator lifted a nine-month IPO moratorium imposed in September 2008, when global markets began to plummet due to the financial crisis.

However the Shanghai Stock Exchange now plans to set up an international board to allow foreign firms and overseas-registered Chinese firms to list shares, but no official timeline has been announced.

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