Coca-Cola, the world’s biggest soft drinks manufacturer, is in talks with the Chinese authorities to list its shares on the Shanghai stock exchange. China experts said the move heralds a wave of China listings as the world’s biggest companies seek to build their businesses in the world’s most populous nation.
Foreign companies are not yet allowed to list in mainland China but the authorities are exploring the possibility of opening an international board and Atlanta-based Coca-Cola could be among the first western firms to sign up.
Geoff Walsh, Coca-Cola’s communications director for the Asia-Pacific region, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that the company is “exploring the opportunity of listing our stock on the Shanghai exchange”. He said the company continues “to have positive discussions with Chinese government officials as we look at this opportunity”.
“Coca-Cola is an American icon. They will be the first of many and I expect the news will set off a wave of announcements about listings on Asian markets,” said John Quelch, dean, China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.
The news follows announcements that HSBC, Unilever and Standard Chartered, are also planning to join the Shanghai exchange. China now has the world’s third-biggest stock markets after the US and Japan.