這是一篇來自富比士(Forbes)的文章, 討論一家美國矽谷的科技公司─Array Networks (安瑞),選擇了台灣的興櫃市場上市, 而非傳統的NASDAQ. 文中以"遠離NASDAQ"為題, 討論隨著愈來愈多美國公司市場重心在亞洲, 亞洲資本市場愈來愈開放, 以及和前一陣子美國熱烈討論的嚴格美國會計監管問題...等, 這些因素是否美國交易市場會失去競爭力?
Array Networks 是近年來很常見的矽谷亞裔式高科技公司. 主要經營層來自中國大陸, 主要資金來自台灣(漢鼎創投和工研院), 目前是中國最大的SSL/VPN網路設備公司.
如同大家知道的, 公司申請上市(IPO)的目的, 除了籌集資金、創造股東財富外, 另一個重要的目的在於提高公司知名度, 有利於市場推廣或是吸納人材.而當愈來愈多公司把市場重心移到亞洲時, 相對而言, 在當地上市, 拓展當地的知名度, 可能要遠比在美國上市有用的多。另外沒有在文中提到, 但是在讀者留言中, 倒有人憂心忡忡, 這是否表示著美國資本市場的优勢不在? 對此, 我個人認為或許該說, 這代表著亞洲資本市場的吸引力已經不下美國了.
文中也訪問了, Array的CEO討論為何要在台灣上市? 他提到, 當初考量的市場有NASDAQ、台灣和上海 大陸由於不允許外資上市首先被排除, 但台灣可以, 特別是在台灣去年開始放寬投資大陸20%以上公司, 可以在台灣上市的規定, 於是ARRAY成為在台灣上市的第一家美國公司. 文章作者也推測, 選擇台灣的原因之一, 可能和上市成本和掛牌費用要遠低於NASDAQ有關.
坦白說, 一家Array的故事並不能代表什麼. 但Array的故事, 也某種程度點出了台灣証券交易市場的潛在优勢. 在大陸市場不接受外商上市、香港市場不重視科技類股, 再加上矽谷的科技大多數都和台灣有密切的關係. 相對而言, 這就是台灣的機會. 希望有一天台灣能成為區域型重要的資本市場, 也希望Array Networks是一個好的開始.
Taylor Buley, 05.19.09, 06:20 PM EDT
Array Networks decided to list on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, saying it's cheaper and helpful for business in China.
An old Wall Street joke posits that the New York Stock Exchange is saving the tickers "I" and "M"--two of the seven unused single-letter slugs--just in case Intel and Microsoft want to jump ship from the NASDAQ.
(附註說明:美國主要的二個交易所NYSE和NASDAQ, NYSE的交易代號 一般都是三個英文字母以內, NASDAQ的代號都是四個字母以上的, 如HP代號是HPQ代表他是在NYSE交易的, INTEL是INTC, 表示是NASDAQ的. 單個字母代號的一般都是老字號的大公司, 如C 是Citi Group 花旗銀行, F 是福特汽車. 這個笑話是說NYSE 一直保留著I 和M 的代號, 等著INTEL和Microsoft 跳過來)
Judging by the experience of Array Networks, one of the few technology companies to go public recently, the NYSE might be holding them for a long time: Today's market defectors could be heading to China, or at least as close to the country as possible.
Array Networks is a Silicon Valley hardware company that sells devices that encrypt network traffic. When Chief Executive Michael Zhao thought the security vendor was ready for an initial public offering, his research didn't point to New York, but to Taipei. Last Wednesday, the company became the first U.S. company to debut on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
"We did our research and the three finalists were Taiwan, mainland China and NASDAQ," Zhao says.
The IPO was modest in size, according to the Gre Tai Securities Market, which provides information about the Taiwan exchange. Milpitas, Calif.-based Array issued about 54 million shares valued at around $79 million. On its first day of trading, the stock opened at NT$15, about 46 cents, and closed at NT$40, or $1.22. Array is now trading at NT$39, or $1.19 a share, with a volume of 16,000 shares traded.
Array has 200 employees in China, and, according to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the company had 43% market share there in 2007 for its principal product category, SSL VPN devices. That would make mainland China "a natural choice" for an IPO, says Zhao. "However, China does not allow foreign companies to be listed."
But Taiwan does. Last year the country eased listing requirements to make its market more international and technology-focused. As part of that plan, the country loosened listing restrictions that prohibited companies with more than 20% shares owned by mainland Chinese investors.
So after politics, Zhao says the decision between NASDAQ and the Taiwan exchange was a matter of incentives. Taiwan won.
Much of those incentives were geographic. In general, Asia is a major market for Array Networks, which sells devices that encrypt network traffic, contributing some 70% of the company's total revenues. But it's also about as close to Chinese investors as a U.S.-based company can get.
Array's two largest shareholders--H&Q Asia Pacific and the venture arm of the Industrial Technology Research Institute--both have strong ties in Taiwan. H&Q Asia Pacific was the first real venture capital company in Taiwan, investing in computer maker Acer, D-Link and others. The venture arm of Industrial Technology Research Institute is sponsored by the Taiwanese government to promote innovation in industrial technologies.
Some of the incentives for Array to trade on the Taiwan exchange were financial. Zhao won't disclose the total cost of listing in Taiwan but estimates it was one third to one half the cost of listing on NASDAQ.
IPOScoop.com founder John Fitzgibbon says more U.S. companies should take note of Array's decision to list abroad as regulatory costs make U.S. markets less competitive. "Between that, accountants and legal fees, it runs into $2 [million] to $3 million dollars," Fitzgibbon says.
He also notes that it seems natural for a Silicon Valley company with Asian interests to opt out of a U.S. IPO. "They found a place for it, it's a hell of a lot less expensive and they raised the capital," Fitzgibbon says. "What do they care where the stock is traded?"