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China starts background checks on IPO applicants - paper

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has started to run checks on the more than 800 companies that have applied for domestic share sales, the latest move aimed at shortening the IPO waiting list and ease pressure on the stock market, the official China Securities Journal said.

The move comes days after China lowered the barriers to overseas listings, and launched a pilot scheme allowing some brokerages to trade over-the-counter in unlisted shares, an effort to broaden Chinese companies' financing channels.

Stock market watchdog the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has started to scrutinize IPO applicants, including examining their application materials and financial authenticity, and will disqualify unsatisfactory applicants, the newspaper reported on Monday.

The CSRC has said it wants Chinese companies to list overseas, sell bonds or trade on over-the-counter equity markets as regulators keep a tight grip on supply, as a result of concerns about the strength of the stock market.

More than 800 Chinese companies are currently seeking approval to list on the Shanghai or Shenzhen exchanges, aiming to raise an estimated 500 billion yuan ($80 billion) in total, Ernst & Young said earlier this week.

That means Chinese companies may need to wait up to five years to launch a domestic IPO, a queue which was likely to prompt some to turn to Hong Kong, the accountancy firm said.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Melanie Lee; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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