By Sherry Qin

China's securities regulator gave self-driving startup the nod to list in the U.S., in a sign that Beijing's grip on companies seeking to raise capital overseas may be easing. plans to issue up to 98.2 million ordinary shares on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on its website late Tuesday.

Founded in 2016 in Silicon Valley, and with a main hub in Fremont, Calif., the auto-driving startup has launched robotaxi services in Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Last August, it said it would team up with Toyota, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in since 2019, to mass produce robotaxis in China.

The listing approval comes days after the CSRC said it plans to support overseas listings by the country's tech companies to aid their financing. It said it will also support leading Chinese companies seeking to list in Hong Kong.

That marks a change in tenor from recent years in which several Chinese companies delisted from U.S. stock exchanges amid rising U.S.-China tensions, and as Beijing tightened rules for overseas listings after Luckin Coffee's financial fraud in 2020 and ride-hailing giant Didi's push for a New York initial public offering despite cybersecurity risks flagged by domestic regulators.

China's securities watchdog enacted new rules on overseas IPOs a year ago that require companies to comply with national-security measures and pre-file with domestic authorities before listing abroad. The regulator had processed 122 filings by the end of last month, with 71 companies planning to list in Hong Kong, China's Commerce Ministry said last week.

China experienced an outflow of foreign investment in equities last year as the world's second-largest economy grappled with slowing growth, a property-sector downturn and weak consumer sentiment.

Write to Sherry Qin at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-24-24 0655ET