Man works in trading room of Shanghai Stock Exchange
A man works in the trading room of Shanghai Stock Exchange.REUTERS

The number of Chinese companies that are looking to float on stock exchanges has risen to 46 so far this year, as the country lifts its freeze on initial public offerings (IPO) that lasted for more than a year.

On 21 April, China's securities regulator posted draft IPO prospectuses for 18 Chinese firms, which are expected to raise about 22.6bn yuan ($3.6bn, £2.1bn, €2.6bn) from investors, according to the official China Securities Journal.

On 19 April, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) released draft prospectuses for 28 companies.

January saw a break in a 14-month moratorium on IPOs with regulators allowing 48 companies to be listed in the first two months of 2014. But new issues were stopped again in March, when authorities stopped granting approvals thanks to loopholes in new IPO rules and lackluster market conditions.

Following the resumption, Chinese companies were in a hurry to file IPO applications with the regulator. As a result some 23.9bn yuan of capital exited the domestic stock market on 21 April due to worries that the new IPOs would divert funds from existing shares, China Securities Journal reported.

"The flight of main stock investment funds amid a sharp fall of the main index means that damage to the market by the resumption of IPOs cannot be overestimated," the newspaper said.

None of the 46 firms whose IPO plans have been disclosed are allowed to go public as of now. The CSRC will review the applications in May and permit resumption in IPOs within the same month, according to analysts.

The CSRC has streamlined the process of IPO review, as it aims to improve the transparency in the process due to complaints about the pricing misbehaviour by underwriters and inside stakeholders.

It has also initiated spot checks on IPO pricing. It could put off offerings by companies found to have divulged information not mentioned in IPO prospectuses and other public releases.

As of 18 March, there were 606 companies on the IPO waiting list down from 675 in the previous week, according to the CSRC.

Mainland IPO market is expected to hit 250bn yuan in 2014, according to analysts' estimates.