The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began to test the Chinese video streaming service under the iQiyi subscription, similar to Netflix. The inspection was reported by the Chinese company. In this statement, the ADR companies which trading on the Nasdaq, fell by 13% in price.
The paper of Baidu, the main shareholder of iQiyi, fell by 5.6% in New York.
In April, Wolfpack Research analysts questioned iQiyi’s data on customer numbers, sales, costs and deals. On August 13, iQiyi announced that the SEC had requested information from the company about its financial and operating activities for the period from January 2018, as well as documents related to acquisitions and investments, which drew attention of the Wolfpack.
iQiyi added that the company has engaged professional consultants to conduct an internal audit, which will explore all aspects, mentioned by Wolfpack.
CFO of iQiyi, Wang Xiaodong, told investors that the request from the US authorities came “a couple of weeks” after the Wolfpack report. However, the Chinese company did not mention this information in May, when the quarterly reports were published, writes The Wall Street Journal.
The reluctance of Chinese companies to provide US regulators access to their audit documentation has become a serious problem. Last week, US President Donald Trump proposed a plan under which Chinese companies will have to bring their operations in line with US audit requirements by 2022 or refuse listing in the US.
In April, iQiyi said the company was committed to high standards of management and internal control, noting that the Wolfpack report contains “a number of errors, unsubstantiated statements, and incorrect conclusions and interpretations”.
US regulators have begun to pay more attention to Chinese companies, listed in the United States after the scandal with Luckin Coffee – a competitor of Starbucks in China. Luckin Coffee, which last year held one of the largest IPOs on the Nasdaq, in April this year admitted to overstating sales data, after that, Nasdaq announced the delisting of its shares.
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