If the surge in shares of two Chinese firms that listed in New York in the past week is anything to go by, appetite for U.S.-listed Chinese stocks may be making a comeback following accounting scandals that hurt sentiment and lead to a dearth of new listings last year.
Shares of Qunar Cayman Islands more than doubled in their U.S. debut Friday, valuing the Chinese travel website controlled by internet giant Baidu (BIDU) at $1.05 billion. Shares of 58.com, a classifieds website dubbed China's Craigslist, soared more than 45 percent when they started trading in New York on Thursday.
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"It is as good a time as any [to list in U.S.]. We have an investor mentality that's towards strong growth," Will Preston, a research analyst at Renaissance Capital, told CNBC Asia's " Squawk Box ."
"Over the past year, we only saw two Chinese firms go public in New York and that was YY and Vipshop Holdings -- both had stellar performances and that has drawn more IPO s [initial public offerings] from China," he added.
The number of Chinese firms listing in the U.S. fell from a high of 40 in 2010 to just two in 2012, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Accounting scandals and a number of de-listings as a result of tumbling stock prices deterred Chinese companies wanting to list in the U.S., analysts said.
In 2011 Muddy Waters Research released a damaging report accusing Sino-Forest (:SNOFF), a Chinese company then listed in Canada, of committing fraud. Sino-Forest's shares fell sharply as a result and the company filed for bankruptcy last year.
But perhaps the concerns about Chinese firms are fading, analysts say.
"My sense in general is that investors are always on the lookout for companies that are honest and can make money for them," said Wendy Liu, chief China equity strategist at Nomura (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 8604.T-JP).
Five Chinese firms have listed in the U.S. so far this year. Alibaba, China's biggest e-commerce firm, could list its shares in New York early next year, according to recent press reports.
Shares in YY, a Chinese social networking firm, have soared some 380 percent since its listing in the U.S. almost a year ago. Shares of Vipshop, a Chinese online discount retailer for brands, have risen to about 12 times from where they started trading in March last year at $6.00.
Others have not done so well. LightInTheBox (LITB), a Chinese online retail that listed in the U.S. in June, is trading well below its IPO price of $9.50.
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"It is an ongoing process of teaching the listed-companies to behave properly. Given how some of the listed names have traded on the U.S. stock exchange that are Chinese companies, then if people see more money being made they tend to forget about other things," Nomura's Liu said.
- By CNBC.com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC
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