|IQIYI, INC. filed this Form 424B4 on 03/29/2018|
Peoples Republic of China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditors are not currently inspected by the PCAOB.
Inspections of other firms that the PCAOB has conducted outside China have identified deficiencies in those firms audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality. This lack of PCAOB inspections in China prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditors audits and its quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.
The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditors audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to PCAOB inspections. Investors may lose confidence in our reported financial information and procedures and the quality of our financial statements.
Proceedings instituted by the SEC against five PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.
Starting in 2011 the Chinese affiliates of the big four accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, were affected by a conflict between U.S. and Chinese law. Specifically, for certain U.S.-listed companies operating and audited in mainland China, the SEC and the PCAOB sought to obtain from the Chinese firms access to their audit work papers and related documents. The firms were, however, advised and directed that under Chinese law, they could not respond directly to the U.S. regulators on those requests, and that requests by foreign regulators for access to such papers in China had to be channeled through the CSRC.
In December 2012, the SEC instituted proceedings under Rule 102(e)(1)(iii) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against five Chinese-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, alleging that these firms had violated U.S. securities laws and the SECs rules and regulations thereunder by failing to provide to the SEC the firms work papers related to their audits of certain China-based companies that are publicly traded in the U.S. Rule 102(e)(1)(iii) grants the SEC the authority to deny to any person, temporarily or permanently, the ability to practice before the SEC who is found by the SEC, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, to have willfully violated any such laws or rules and regulations. On January 22, 2014, an initial administrative law decision was issued, censuring these accounting firms and suspending four of the five firms from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months. Four of these China-based accounting firms appealed to the SEC against this decision and, on February 6, 2015, each of the four China-based accounting firms agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC. The firms ability to continue to serve all their respective customers is not affected by the settlement. The settlement requires the firms to follow detailed procedures to seek to provide the SEC with access to Chinese firms audit documents via the China Securities Regulatory Commission. If the firms do not follow these procedures, the SEC could impose penalties such as suspensions, or it could restart the administrative proceedings. The settlement did not require the firms to admit to any violation of law and preserves the firms legal defenses in the event the administrative proceeding is restarted.
In the event that the SEC restarts the administrative proceedings, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our ordinary shares may be adversely affected.