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Tunneling as an incentive for earnings management during the IPO process in China

Author

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  • Aharony, Joseph
  • Wang, Jiwei
  • Yuan, Hongqi

Abstract

Using a sample of 185 Chinese IPO firms listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange during the period 1999-2001, we show that related-party (RP) sales of goods and services could be used opportunistically to manage earnings upwards in the pre-IPO period. We also provide evidence that such behavior may be motivated by the prospect of tunneling opportunities in the post-IPO period, i.e., exploiting economic resources from minority shareholders for the benefit of the parent company. We provide evidence of one such opportunistic tunneling tool: non-repayment by Chinese parent companies of net outstanding corporate loans made to them by their newly listed subsidiaries. Furthermore, we provide evidence in support of our assertion of an association between such tunneling behavior in the post-IPO period and earnings management via abnormal RP sales in the pre-IPO period. Finally, we demonstrate the apparent failure of investors in Chinese IPOs to perceive the link between the two phenomena. The results enhance understanding of the motives for and consequences of earnings manipulation during the IPO process. They highlight a potential additional investment risk facing foreign investors in China's capital markets as well as in Chinese firms cross-listed in non-Chinese stock exchanges, and have policy implications for China and other emerging markets which need to improve the protection of minority shareholders' rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Aharony, Joseph & Wang, Jiwei & Yuan, Hongqi, 2010. "Tunneling as an incentive for earnings management during the IPO process in China," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-26, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jappol:v:29:y::i:1:p:1-26
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    4. Habib, Ahsan & Muhammadi, Abdul Haris & Jiang, Haiyan, 2017. "Political Connections and Related Party Transactions: Evidence from Indonesia," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 45-63.
    5. Jiang, Guohua & Rao, Pingui & Yue, Heng, 2015. "Tunneling through Non-Operational Fund Occupancy: An investigation based on officially identified activities," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 295-311.
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    13. Benson, David F. & Brau, James C. & Cicon, James & Ferris, Stephen P., 2015. "Strategically camouflaged corporate governance in IPOs: Entrepreneurial masking and impression management," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 839-864.
    14. Lou, Fang & Wang, Jiwei & Yuan, Hongqi, 2014. "Causes and consequences of corporate asset exchanges by listed companies in China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 205-217.
    15. Wei Huang, 2016. "Tunneling through related-party loan guarantees: evidence from a quasi-experiment in China," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 857-884, October.
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    18. Sihai Li & Huiying Wu & Xianzhong Song, 2017. "Principal–Principal Conflicts and Corporate Philanthropy: Evidence from Chinese Private Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 605-620, March.
    19. Haß, Lars Helge & Vergauwe, Skrålan & Zhang, Qiyu, 2014. "Corporate governance and the information environment: Evidence from Chinese stock markets," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 106-119.
    20. Xingqiang Du, 2015. "Does Confucianism Reduce Minority Shareholder Expropriation? Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 132(4), pages 661-716, December.
    21. Jiwei Wang & Kangtao Ye, 2015. "Media Coverage and Firm Valuation: Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 501-511, March.
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    23. Shan, Yuan George, 2015. "Value relevance, earnings management and corporate governance in China," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 186-207.
    24. Xingqiang Du, 2014. "Does Religion Mitigate Tunneling? Evidence from Chinese Buddhism," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 299-327, December.

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