Posted by LIM Hui Jie, Year 4 undergrad at the School of Economics, Singapore Management University
Like any emerging market, China has its fair share of fraud, scams and corporate governance fiascos. But a spate of scandals at Chinese companies listed in New York, Hong Kong and Toronto is increasingly unsettling investors.
In recent months, shortsellers have attacked an unprecedented number of Chinese companies listed on international stock exchanges, accusing them of fraud or other wrongdoing. This has caused their shares to tumble and inflicted losses on some very prominent investors.
“It seems to have bubbled into a hysteria and creates an unfortunate overhang over all Chinese companies seeking to raise capital in the US markets,” says William McGovern, Hong Kongbased partner at Kobre & Kim and former enforcer at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. “It has become hard for investors to separate fact from fiction.”
Sino Forest, a Chinese forestry group listed in Toronto, has lost more than twothirds of its market value since Thursday after Muddy Waters, a research firm founded by shortseller Carson Block, accused the company of overstating its sales and the value of its forest land.s can be market darlings for years before being rumbled.