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Nasdaq and NYSE Seek China IPOs

BEIJING -- The New York Stock Exchange (NYX) and the Nasdaq Stock Market (NDAQ), worried they're losing out on big IPOs from China, are trying to boost their visibility in the region. They're staffing up and touting the benefits of a U.S. listing to dealmakers at investment banks, private equity outfits and law firms in China.

"Obviously China is a very exciting market. We see it as the fastest-growing market outside the U.S., as well as the strongest market internationally," says Charlotte Croswell, the London-based head of Nasdaq International.

This year the Nasdaq started publishing Going Public: A Guide for Chinese Companies to Listing on the U.S. Securities Markets. Written in both Chinese and English, it details minimum listing requirements, explains the role of investment banks and accountants, and even sets out a sample 20-week IPO timetable, from start to finish.

There's no mystery why the American exchanges are feeling anxious.

Last year, China's IPO proceeds of $24.3 billion ranked second only to those of the U.S., whose companies raised $33.1 billion, according to Ernst & Young/Thomson Financial. And in 2005 China claimed three of the world's 10 biggest public offerings.

But a U.S. listing is no longer the default for ambitious Chinese firms. All three of the Chinese companies on 2005's 10-biggest IPO list -- China Construction Bank, China Shenhua Energy and Bank of Communications -- passed up the U.S. in favor of listing in Hong Kong. The Bank of China, another multibillion-dollar IPO, followed suit earlier this year.

The moves are part of a broader trend of foreign firms passing up the U.S. exchanges.

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