|IQIYI, INC. filed this Form 424B4 on 03/29/2018|
Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the enactment timetable, interpretation and implementation of draft PRC Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.
The MOFCOM published a discussion draft of the proposed Foreign Investment Law in January 2015 aiming to, upon its enactment, replace the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The draft Foreign Investment Law embodies an expected PRC regulatory trend to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. The MOFCOM is currently soliciting comments on this draft and substantial uncertainties exist with respect to its enactment timetable, interpretation and implementation. The draft Foreign Investment Law, if enacted as proposed, may materially impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations in many aspects.
Among other things, the draft Foreign Investment Law expands the definition of foreign investment and introduces the principle of actual control in determining whether a company is considered an FIE. The draft Foreign Investment Law specifically provides that entities established in China but controlled by foreign investors will be treated as FIEs, whereas an entity set up in a foreign jurisdiction would nonetheless be, upon market entry approval by the MOFCOM, treated as a PRC domestic investor provided that the entity is controlled by PRC entities and/or citizens. According to the draft Foreign Investment Law, once an entity is determined to be an FIE, it will be subject to the foreign investment restrictions or prohibitions set forth in a catalog of special administrative measures, which is classified into the catalog of prohibitions and the catalog of restrictions, to be separately issued by the State Council later. Foreign investors are not allowed to invest in any sector set forth in the catalog of prohibitions.
The draft Foreign Investment Law does not indicate what actions shall be taken with respect to companies with an existing contractual arrangement structure, whether or not these companies are controlled by Chinese parties. Moreover, it is uncertain whether the catalog of special administrative measures to be issued will differ from the Catalog for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries (Revised in 2017), or the 2017 Catalog, and re-impose foreign investment restrictions or prohibitions on internet video, online advertising services and other certain businesses. If the enacted version of the Foreign Investment Law and the final catalog of special administrative measures mandate further actions, such as the MOFCOM market entry approval, to be completed by companies with an existing contractual arrangement structure like us, and if internet video, online advertising services and other businesses conducted by us become once again subject to the foreign investment restrictions or prohibitions, we will face uncertainties as to whether such approval can be timely obtained, or at all. If we are not able to obtain such approval when required, our contractual arrangement structure may be regarded as invalid and illegal. As a result, we would not be able to (i) continue our business in China through our contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities, (ii) exert control over consolidated affiliated entities, (iii) receive the economic benefits of our consolidated affiliated entities under such contractual arrangements, or (iv) consolidate the financial results of our consolidated affiliated entities. Were this to occur, our results of operations and financial condition would be materially and adversely affected.
The draft Foreign Investment Law, if enacted as proposed, may also materially impact our corporate governance practice and increase our compliance costs. For instance, the draft Foreign Investment Law imposes stringent ad hoc and periodic information reporting requirements on foreign investors and the applicable FIEs.
Aside from an investment information report required at each investment, and investment amendment reports, which shall be submitted upon alteration of investment specifics, it is mandatory for entities established by foreign investors to submit an annual report, and large foreign investors meeting certain criteria are required to report on a quarterly basis. Any company found to be non-compliant with these reporting obligations may