March 24 (Reuters) - Weibo Corp said on Thursday it
will consider evaluating options after the Chinese social media
platform was added to U.S. securities regulator's list of
companies facing the risk of being delisted.
Washington has long demanded complete access to the books of
U.S.-listed companies, but Beijing, citing national security
concerns, bars foreign inspection of working papers from local
The U.S Congress in 2020 passed the Holding Foreign
Companies Accountable Act (HFCAA), which compels the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission to delist stocks of companies
that do not comply.
In December, the SEC identified 273 companies that were at
risk under the HFCAA, without naming them.
Earlier this month, it named five companies, including KFC
operator Yum China Holdings and biotech firm BeiGene
Ltd, that could face delisting. It added Weibo to the
list on Wednesday.
"The SEC will gradually move to identify the more
systemically significant China based companies listed in the
U.S." said Shaswat K. Das, a lawyer at King & Spalding LLP who
previously worked at the Public Company Accounting Oversight
Board as its primary negotiator with the Chinese regulators on
cross-border audit oversight from 2011 to 2015.
China's securities regulator said earlier this month it had
made "positive progress" with U.S. counterparts on securities
supervision, after U.S.-listed Chinese stocks tumbled as the
first Chinese firms to be potentially de-listed were named.
Das, however, cautioned it was too early to tell whether
that's going to materialize into anything significant.
According to a Reuters report on Tuesday, citing sources,
Chinese regulators have asked some of the country's U.S.-listed
firms, including Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com
, to prepare for more audit disclosures.
Separately, Yum China has said it may have to delist from
the New York stock exchange by 2024 after U.S. authorities said
it had failed to provide access to audit documents.
(Reporting by Eva Mathews, Tiyashi Datta and Chavi Mehta in
Bengaluru and Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Shinjini