Chinese officials head to Hong Kong to assist U.S. auditors with inspections: report

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The Chinese government has dispatched a team of regulatory officials to Hong Kong in an effort to help the U.S. auditors inspecting Chinese companies, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, which cited four people familiar with the matter, officials from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC, and the Ministry of Finance, or MOF, are helping auditors from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

According to three of the sources, roughly 10 officials from both agencies in Hong Kong and the audit inspection started on Monday.

The news outlet added that China Southern Airlines (NYSE:ZNH) and technology company GDS Holdings (NASDAQ:GDS) are among the companies being audited this week.

Previously it was reported that JD.com (NASDAQ:JD), Yum China (YUMC) and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) would also be audited in the landmark deal between the two countries.

The audit inspection is expected to take between eight and ten weeks, Reuters added.

The landmark deal was signed off last month by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the PCAOB, the CSRC and the MOF.

As part of the agreement, the PCAOB has "sole discretion" to select the firms, perform the audits and levy potential violations during its investigation, with no consultation or input from China.

While seen as "significant," the U.S. said the statement of protocol is only a first step.

Hedge fund Bridgewater Associates recently disclosed it made several changes to its portfolio, including selling off Alibaba (BABA) and its holdings in a handful of other Chinese tech stocks.

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