CO [Global Cord Blood] 20-F/A: FORM 20-F/A Amendment No. 1 o OR x

Ticker: CO, Company: Global Cord Blood Corp, Type: 20-F/A, Date: 2019-08-14, XBRL Interactive Financials
Original SEC Filing: Click here


Webplus: CO/20190814/20-F.A/1/000.htm SEC Original: a19-16464_120fa.htm
FORM 20-F/A Amendment No. 1 o OR x OR o For the transition period from to OR o Date of event requiring this shell company report: Global Cord Blood Corporation Cayman Islands (Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization) 48 th Floor, Bank of China Tower 1 Garden Road Central, Hong Kong S.A.R. Albert Chen +852 3605 8180 albert.chen@globalcordbloodcorp.com 48 th Floor,




 

FORM 20-F/A

Amendment No. 1

 


 

o

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

OR

 

 

x

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

 

 

OR

 

 

o

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from                       to                        

 

 

OR

 

 

o

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report:

 

Commission file number 001-34541

 

Global Cord Blood Corporation

(Exact name of the Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

48th Floor, Bank of China Tower

1 Garden Road

Central, Hong Kong S.A.R.

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Albert Chen

+852 3605 8180

albert.chen@globalcordbloodcorp.com

48th Floor, Bank of China Tower

1 Garden Road

Central, Hong Kong S.A.R.

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of exchange on which registered

Ordinary Shares, $0.0001 par value

 

CO

 

The New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None.

 

On March 31, 2019, the issuer had 121,551,075 shares outstanding.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

o Yes   x No

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

o Yes   x No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

x Yes   o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

x Yes   o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer o

Accelerated filer x

Non-accelerated filer o

 

 

Emerging growth company o

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

 


 

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

US GAAP x

 

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board
 o

 

Other o

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

o Item 17    o Item 18

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

o Yes   x No

 


Table of Contents

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

5

 

 

 

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

5

 

 

 

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

5

 

 

 

 

A.

Selected Financial Data

5

 

 

 

 

 

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

7

 

 

 

 

 

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

7

 

 

 

 

 

D.

Risk Factors

8

 

 

 

ITEM 4.

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

37

 

 

 

 

A.

History and Development of the Company

37

 

 

 

 

 

B.

Business Overview

40

 

 

 

 

 

C.

Organizational Structure

63

 

 

 

 

 

D.

Property, Plant and Equipment

67

 

 

 

ITEM 4A.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

67

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

67

 

 

 

ITEM 6.

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

89

 

 

 

 

A.

Directors and Senior Management

89

 

 

 

 

 

B.

Compensation

90

 

 

 

 

 

C.

Board Practices

93

 

 

 

 

 

D.

Employees

95

 

 

 

 

 

E.

Share Ownership

95

 

 

 

ITEM 7.

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

95

 

 

 

 

A.

Major Shareholders

95

 

 

 

 

 

B.

Related Party Transactions

97

 

 

 

 

 

C.

Interests of Experts and Counsel

98

 

 

 

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

98

 

 

 

 

A.

Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information

98

 

 

 

 

 

B.

Significant Changes

98

 

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Table of Contents

 

ITEM 9.

THE OFFER AND LISTING

99

 

 

 

 

A.

Offer and Listing Details

99

 

 

 

 

 

B.

Plan of Distribution

99

 

 

 

 

 

C.

Markets

99

 

 

 

 

 

D.

Selling Shareholders

99

 

 

 

 

 

E.

Dilution

99

 

 

 

 

 

F.

Expenses of the Issue

99

 

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

99

 

 

 

 

A.

Share Capital

99

 

 

 

 

 

B.

Memorandum and Articles of Association

99

 

 

 

 

 

C.

Material Contracts

103

 

 

 

 

 

D.

Exchange Controls

103

 

 

 

 

 

E.

Taxation

103

 

 

 

 

 

F.

Dividends and Paying Agents

109

 

 

 

 

 

G.

Statement by Experts

109

 

 

 

 

 

H.

Documents on Display

110

 

 

 

 

 

I.

Subsidiary Information

110

 

 

 

 

ITEM 11.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURE ABOUT MARKET RISK

110

 

 

 

ITEM 12.

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

111

 

 

 

PART II

 

111

 

 

 

ITEM 13.

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

111

 

 

 

ITEM 14.

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

111

 

 

 

 

A.

Use of Proceeds

111

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

112

 

 

 

ITEM 16A.

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

114

 

 

 

ITEM 16B.

CODE OF ETHICS

114

 

 

 

ITEM 16C.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

114

 

 

 

ITEM 16D.

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

114

 

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CERTAIN INFORMATION

 

Except where the context requires otherwise and for purposes of this report only:

 

·                                          “BCHIL” refers to Brilliant China Healthcare Investment Limited, formerly known as KKR China Healthcare Investment Limited, an exempted company with limited liability incorporated in the Cayman Islands affiliated with KKR China Growth Fund L.P., a China-focused fund managed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., a global investment firm publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange;

 

·                                          “CCBS” refers to China Cord Blood Services Corporation, a company with limited liability incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and a wholly owned subsidiary of GCBC;

 

·                                          “China” and “PRC” refer to the People’s Republic of China, excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau solely for the purpose of this report;

 

·                                          “Cordlife” refers to Cordlife Limited before its restructuring on June 30, 2011. Cordlife was a company with limited liability listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. It was principally engaged in cord blood banking services in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India and the Philippines;

 

·                                          “Cordlife HK” refers to Cordlife (Hong Kong) Limited, a private company and a subsidiary of Cordlife Group Limited. It is principally engaged in cord blood banking services in Hong Kong;

 

·                                          “Cordlife Services” refers to Life Corporation Services (S) Pte. Ltd (formerly named as Cordlife Services (S) Pte. Ltd), a company with limited liability incorporated in Singapore, and a wholly owned subsidiary of LFC;

 

·                                          “Cordlife Singapore” refers to Cordlife Group Limited (formerly named as Cordlife Pte Ltd) after the restructuring of Cordlife on June 30, 2011. Cordlife Singapore is a company with limited liability listed on the Singapore Exchange on March 29, 2012. It is principally engaged in cord blood banking services in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and the Philippines (as well as brand presence in Myanmar and Vietnam);

 

·                                          “CSC East” refers to China Stem Cells (East) Company Limited, a company with limited liability incorporated in the British Virgin Islands;

 

·                                          “CSC Holdings” refers to China Stem Cells Holdings Limited, a company with limited liability incorporated in the Cayman Islands;

 

·                                          “CSC South” refers to China Stem Cells (South) Company Limited, a company with limited liability incorporated in the British Virgin Islands;

 

·                                          “DOH” refers to the Local Department of Health of the People’s Republic of China. The DOH and Local Population and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China have been reorganized as Local Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China since March 2013;

 

·                                          “Favorable Fort” refers to Favorable Fort Limited, a company with limited liability incorporated in Hong Kong;

 

·                                          “GCBC”, “we”, “us”, the “Company”, “our company”, or “our”, refers to Global Cord Blood Corporation (formerly named China Cord Blood Corporation or “CCBC”), a company with limited liability registered by way of continuation in the Cayman Islands. The change of name of the Company from “China Cord Blood Corporation” to “Global Cord Blood Corporation” was approved by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting of the Company and the Company’s ordinary shares commenced trading under the new name on the NYSE with effect on March 22, 2018 with the same ticker symbol “CO”;

 

·                                          “GM Stem Cells” refers to Golden Meditech Stem Cells (BVI) Company Limited, a company with limited liability incorporated in the British Virgin Islands;

 

·                                          “Golden Meditech” refers to Golden Meditech Holdings Limited, a company with limited liability incorporated in the Cayman Islands and listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange;

 

·                                          “Group” refers to Global Cord Blood Corporation and its subsidiaries;

 

·                                          “Hong Kong” refers to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China;

 

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Table of Contents

 

·                                          “Jiachenhong” refers to Beijing Jiachenhong Biological Technologies Co., Ltd., our subsidiary incorporated in the PRC with limited liability;

 

·                                          “LFC” refers to Life Corporation Limited (formerly named as Cordlife Limited) after the restructuring of Cordlife Limited on June 30, 2011. LFC is a company with limited liability listed on the Australian Securities Exchange during the period from June 18, 2004 to January 24, 2018. Before June 2013, it was principally engaged in cord blood banking services in developing markets including Indonesia, India and the Philippines which were subsequently disposed of to Cordlife Group Limited. Starting from December 2013, its principal business changed to the provision of funeral and related services;

 

·                                          “LHFPC” refers to Local Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China. LHFPC has been reorganized as Local Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China since March 2018;

 

·                                          “LHC” refers to Local Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China;

 

·                                          “Lukou” refers to Zhejiang Lukou Biotechnology Co., Ltd., our non-wholly owned subsidiary incorporated in the PRC with limited liability;

 

·                                          “Magnum Trustee” refers to Magnum Opus International (PTC) Limited, as the trustee for The Magnum Opus International Trust which is a discretionary trust established under the laws of Hong Kong;

 

·                                          “MOH” refers to the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China. The MOH and National Population and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China had been reorganized as National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China since March 2013;

 

·                                          “Nanjing Ying Peng” refers to Nanjing Ying Peng Hui Kang Medical Industry Investment Partnership (limited partnership), a limited partnership incorporated in the PRC;

 

·                                          “NHFPC” refers to National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China. NHFPC has been reorganized as National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China since March 2018;

 

·                                          “NHC” refers to National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China;

 

·                                          “Nuoya” refers to Guangzhou Municipality Tianhe Nuoya Bio-engineering Co., Ltd., our subsidiary incorporated in the PRC with limited liability;

 

·                                          “NYSE” refers to the New York Stock Exchange.

 

·                                          “provinces” of China refers to the twenty-two provinces, the four municipalities directly administered by the central government (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing) and the five autonomous regions (Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Guangxi);

 

·                                          “Qilu” refers to Shandong Province Qilu Stem Cells Engineering Co., Ltd., a company incorporated in the PRC with limited liability;

 

·                                          “shares” or “ordinary shares” refers to our ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per share; and

 

·                                          all discrepancies in any table between the amounts identified as total amounts and the sum of the amounts listed therein are due to rounding.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all references to “our business” and “our operations” refer collectively to our businesses and operations in Beijing municipality, Guangdong province and Zhejiang province.

 

The financial statements included in this report has been prepared in accordance with United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or “U.S. GAAP”. All references to “Renminbi”, “RMB” or “yuan” are to the legal currency of China, all references to “U.S. dollars”, “dollars”, “US$” or “$” are to the legal currency of the United States, all references to “HK$” are to the legal currency of Hong Kong and all references to “AUD” are to the legal currency of Australia. This report contains translations of Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars at specified rates solely for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars were made at the noon buying rate in the City of New York for cable transfers in Renminbi per U.S. dollar as certified for customs purposes by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, or the noon buying rate, as of March 29, 2019. We make no representation that the Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts referred to in this report could have been or could be converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all. On March 29, 2019, the noon buying rate was RMB6.7112 to $1.00.

 

2


Table of Contents

 

This report contains statistical data relating to the healthcare industry in China that we obtained from various institutions’ publicly available publications. These publications generally indicate that they have obtained their information from sources believed to be reliable, but do not guarantee the accuracy and completeness of their information. Although we believe that these publications are reliable, we have not independently verified their statistical data. These statistical data may not be comparable to similar statistics collected for the industry in the United States and other countries.

 

3


Table of Contents

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This report contains forward-looking statements that are based on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about us and our industry. All statements other than statements of historical fact in this report are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “plan”, “believe”, “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. The forward-looking statements included in this report relate to, among others:

 

·                  our goals and strategies;

 

·                  our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

·                  the expected market growth for cord blood banking services in China;

 

·                  our ability to grow our business;

 

·                  market acceptance of cord blood banking in general and our services in particular;

 

·                  our ability to expand our operations;

 

·                  our ability to stay abreast of market trends and technological changes;

 

·                  changes in PRC governmental policies and regulations relating to industry;

 

·                  fluctuations in general economic and business conditions in China; and

 

·                  the non-binding proposal letter from Cordlife Singapore and the potential  transaction contemplated by such letter.

 

These forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that our expectations will turn out to be correct. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Important risks and factors that could cause our actual results to be materially different from our expectations are generally set forth in the sections entitled “Key Information — Risk Factors”, “Information on the Company” and “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — Factors Affecting Our Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections and elsewhere in this report.

 

This report also contains data related to the cord blood banking industry. These market data include projections that are based on a number of assumptions. The cord blood banking market may not grow at the rate projected by market data, or at all. The failure of this market to grow at the projected rate may have a material adverse effect on our business and the market price of our ordinary shares. Furthermore, if any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data turns out to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

 

The forward-looking statements made in this report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this report. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

 

4


Table of Contents

 

PART I

 

ITEM 1.                                                IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not required.

 

ITEM 2.                                                OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not required.

 

ITEM 3.                                                KEY INFORMATION

 

A.                                    Selected Financial Data

 

The following selected consolidated financial data, other than selected operating data, have been derived from (i) our audited consolidated financial statements as of March 31, 2018 and 2019 and for the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, which are included elsewhere in this report; and (ii) our audited consolidated financial statements as of March 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and for the years ended March 31, 2015 and 2016 which are not included in this report. The consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our results of operations in any period may not necessarily be indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period. See “Key Information — Risk Factors” included elsewhere in this report. The selected consolidated financial data as of March 31, 2018 and 2019 and for the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 should be read in conjunction with those consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes and “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — Our Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this report.

 

 

 

For the year ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

 

 

$

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

 

 

(in thousands except per share and operating data)

 

Selected statements of comprehensive income data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues

 

147,031

 

986,754

 

936,768

 

759,978

 

662,999

 

635,122

 

Gross profit

 

119,312

 

800,727

 

755,285

 

617,338

 

518,401

 

504,511

 

Operating income (1)

 

56,869

 

381,657

 

279,863

 

264,865

 

191,330

 

234,996

 

Net income (1)(2)

 

43,987

 

295,201

 

240,879

 

128,689

 

91,333

 

107,793

 

Net income per ordinary share, basic

 

0.36

 

2.40

 

2.10

 

1.59

 

1.25

 

1.36

 

Net income per ordinary share, diluted

 

0.36

 

2.40

 

1.99

 

1.59

 

1.25

 

1.36

 

Selected operating data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New subscriber sign-ups (3)(4)

 

89,366

 

89,366

 

91,789

 

74,952

 

62,909

 

64,736

 

New donations accepted (3)(4)

 

5,633

 

5,633

 

4,204

 

3,825

 

3,926

 

6,387

 

Transfer of private cord blood units to donated cord blood units (4)

 

711

 

711

 

5,211

 

4,180

 

 

 

Total units stored (end of year) (3)(5)

 

817,575

 

817,575

 

722,576

 

626,583

 

547,806

 

480,971

 

Units deposited by subscribers (end of year) (3)(4)(5)

 

750,273

 

750,273

 

661,618

 

575,040

 

504,268

 

441,359

 

Units contributed by donors (end of year) (3)(4)

 

67,302

 

67,302

 

60,958

 

51,543

 

43,538

 

39,612

 

 


(1)                                     Includes share-based compensation expenses which are allocated to the following expense items:

 

 

 

For the year ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

 

 

$

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Direct costs

 

 

 

1,920

 

1,565

 

1,475

 

416

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

 

(1,534

)

17,408

 

16,413

 

4,624

 

General and administrative

 

 

 

83,882

 

43,268

 

40,796

 

11,495

 

Total (a)

 

 

 

84,268

 

62,241

 

58,684

 

16,535

 

 

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(a)         During the year ended March 31, 2015, a total of 7,300,000 restricted share units (“RSUs”) were issued to certain executives, directors and key employees under the Company’s restricted share unit scheme (the “Incentive Plan”), subject to certain performance conditions. During the years ended March 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017, none of the RSUs granted was vested or forfeited and there were 7,300,000 non-vested RSUs outstanding as of March 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017. During the year ended March 31, 2018, a reversal of RMB1.5 million was recorded in sales and marketing expenses which was resulted from a write back of previously recognized share-based compensation expense due to the forfeiture of RSUs on the resignation of one of the grantees, partially offset by additional expenses charged on the RSUs granted during the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 and upon the full vesting of all outstanding RSUs during the year ended March 31, 2018. As of March 31, 2018 and 2019, no RSUs were issued and outstanding.

 

(2)                                     Includes:

 

 

 

For the year ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

 

 

$

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Income tax expense (a)(b)(c)(d)

 

9,128

 

61,260

 

62,656

 

37,622

 

50,000

 

47,327

 

 


(a)              Jiachenhong’s renewed High and New Technology Enterprise (“HNTE”) certificate was dated October 30, 2014 and was approved by the relevant PRC tax authority in January 2015. Such status was valid retroactively as of January 1, 2014 and expired on December 31, 2016. As a result, Jiachenhong was subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. Jiachenhong’s HNTE status was redetermined by the relevant PRC tax authority in February 2018 and the renewed HNTE certificate was dated October 25, 2017 with a validity of 3 years. Such status is valid retroactively as of January 1, 2017 and will expire on December 31, 2019, and Jiachenhong is subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period.

 

(b)             Nuoya’s HNTE certificate was dated November 30, 2016 and was approved by the relevant PRC tax authority in March 2017. Such status was valid retroactively as of January 1, 2016 and expired on December 31, 2018. As a result, Nuoya was subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. Nuoya is in the process of reapplication for its HNTE certificate which, upon approval, will entitle it to the preferential income tax rate of 15% from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021.

 

(c)              Lukou’s HNTE certificate was dated September 17, 2015 and was approved by the relevant PRC tax authority in January 2016. Such status was valid retroactively as of January 1, 2015 and expired on December 31, 2017. As a result, Lukou was subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. Lukou’s HNTE status was redetermined by the relevant PRC tax authority in March 2019 and the renewed HNTE certificate was dated November 30, 2018 with a validity of 3 years. Such status is valid retroactively as of January 1, 2018 and will expire on December 31, 2020, and Lukou is subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period.

 

(d)             During the years ended March 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016, we have provided RMB3.9 million, RMB5.2 million and RMB5.2 million for income taxes based on the expected earnings of our PRC subsidiaries to be distributed in the foreseeable future. During the year ended March 31, 2017, a reversal of such provision for income taxes of RMB14.3 million was made due to the change in future reinvestment plan as all undistributed earnings of the Company’s PRC subsidiaries are intended to be reinvested indefinitely in the PRC in the foreseeable future. No PRC withholding tax provision was made for the years ended March 31, 2018 and 2019 as there was no change on the Company’s reinvestment plan.

 

(3)                                     “Total units stored”, “Units deposited by subscribers” and “Units contributed by donors” as of year-end and “New subscriber sign-ups” and “New donations accepted” during each year take into account the withdrawal of units used. Please refer to “Information on the Company — Business Overview — Our Cord Blood Banking Services”.

 

(4)                                     During the year ended March 31, 2019, 89,366 new subscribers were recruited and 5,633 new donations were accepted. During the year ended March 31, 2019, the Company reclassified 711 private cord blood units as donated cord blood units after the Company determined that the recoverability of these prior private cord blood banking subscribers was remote and therefore the Company terminated their subscription services according to the subscription contracts. These units are being treated as if they were donated cord blood units and are part of the Company’s non-current inventories. Hence the units deposited by subscribers and units contributed by donors were 750,273 and 67,302, respectively, as of March 31, 2019.

 

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(5)                                     Includes subscribers who are delinquent on payments and for whom we have ceased to recognize revenue generated from storage fees. Please refer to “Information on the Company — Business Overview — Our Cord Blood Banking Services”.

 

 

 

For the year ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

 

 

$

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Selected statements of cash flows data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

118,031

 

792,118

 

818,762

 

637,632

 

580,997

 

594,866

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(4,502

)

(30,210

)

(66,477

)

(90,575

)

(16,480

)

(42,431

)

Net cash used in financing activities

 

(3,158

)

(21,192

)

(2,015

)

(60,000 

)

(1,646

)

 

Effect of foreign currency exchange rate change on cash and cash equivalents

 

974

 

6,535

 

(9,924

)

14,785

 

8,896

 

1,319

 

 

 

 

As of March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

 

 

$

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

 

 

(in thousands except share data)

 

Selected balance sheets data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

744,706

 

4,997,861

 

4,250,610

 

3,510,264

 

3,008,422

 

2,436,655

 

Working capital (1)

 

678,313

 

4,552,286

 

3,940,247

 

2,224,180

 

2,731,538

 

2,198,529

 

Total assets

 

976,123

 

6,550,954

 

5,844,435

 

5,182,912

 

4,687,927

 

4,111,684

 

Deferred revenue

 

383,006

 

2,570,428

 

2,240,387

 

1,893,269

 

1,578,931

 

1,319,539

 

Ordinary shares

 

12

 

83

 

83

 

50

 

50

 

50

 

Retained earnings

 

209,683

 

1,407,223

 

1,116,873

 

879,775

 

753,585

 

662,615

 

Total equity attributable to Global Cord Blood Corporation

 

509,198

 

3,417,335

 

3,113,353

 

1,837,855

 

1,709,253

 

1,537,758

 

Total shares outstanding (2)

 

121,551,075

 

121,551,075

 

120,824,742

 

73,003,248

 

73,003,248

 

73,003,248

 

 


(1)                                     Working capital is calculated as total current assets minus total current liabilities.

 

(2)                                     Total shares outstanding as of March 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017 do not include 7,080,000 shares (corresponding to 7,080,000 RSUs) which were issued to Magnum Trustee to hold such shares on behalf of the beneficiaries of the Incentive Plan as a class. Magnum Trustee is the trustee of The Magnum Opus International Trust, a trust sponsored and funded by the Company.

 

In April 2017, all the outstanding 7% senior convertible notes of $115 million in aggregate principal amount were converted into ordinary shares of the Company at a conversion price of $2.838 and resulted in an issuance of 40,521,494 ordinary shares of the Company. During the year ended March 31, 2018, 7,300,000 outstanding RSUs were fully vested and resulted in an increase of 7,300,000 ordinary shares outstanding and total ordinary shares outstanding as of March 31, 2018 were 120,824,742. During the year ended March 31, 2019, the Company issued a total of 726,333 ordinary shares as scrip dividend. As a result, total ordinary shares outstanding as of March 31, 2019 increased to 121,551,075.

 

B.                                    Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not required.

 

C.                                    Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not required.

 

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D.                                    Risk Factors

 

You should carefully consider all of the information in this report, including various changing regulatory, competitive, economic, political and social risks and conditions described below, before making an investment in our ordinary shares. One or more of a combination of these risks could materially impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. In any such case, the market price of our ordinary shares could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investments.

 

Risks Relating to Our Business

 

Our business and financial results may be materially adversely affected as a result of regulatory changes in the cord blood banking industry in China.

 

We generate substantially all of our revenues by providing our subscribers processing services, which consist of the testing and processing of cord blood units, and storage services, which consist of the storage of cord blood units in our facilities. We sometimes refer the processing services and storage services collectively as “subscription services” in this report. In addition, we are also required by the PRC government to store cord blood units donated by the public and offer matching units to patients in need of transplants, which we sometimes refer to as the “matching services” in this report. All of these revenues for the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 were derived in China. Due to the lack of a clear, consistent and well-developed regulatory framework, operation in the cord blood banking industry in China involves significant ambiguities, uncertainties and risks. We cannot assure you that we can continue to operate our business in the same manner for the following reasons:

 

·                  The NHC (formerly known as NHFPC) has been following a “one license per region” policy in its regulation of cord blood banks, which precludes more than one cord blood banking licensee from operating in the same region. According to the Notice on Extension of Time Limit on Planning and Establishment of the Cord Blood Bank published by the NHFPC in December 2015, the NHFPC extended the planning and establishment timetable for cord blood banking and will not grant any new licenses before 2020 in addition to the seven existing cord blood banking licenses, meanwhile, it plans to build National Cord Blood Bank. This policy may be changed at any time. If new licenses are issued in Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang or any region where we are operating the licensed cord blood banks, or the LHCs actually permit or acquiesce in operation of subscription service by other type of institutions, our market position as the sole cord blood banking operator in the relevant region may be undermined. Further, we may be required to record impairment charges in respect of some or all of the carrying values of the rights to operate our cord blood banks in Guangdong and Zhejiang, or our investment in Shandong if additional licenses are issued in those regions or if the NHC or the relevant LHC takes the position that the provision of fee-based commercial cord blood banking services is not limited to operators of licensed cord blood banks. Any impairment charge that we may be required to record due to changes in regulatory policies would materially adversely affect our assets and net income.

 

·                  Our business may be exposed to increasingly stringent anti-monopolistic measures from the PRC government. Under the PRC Antitrust Law, the monopolistic activities are classified into (i) monopoly agreements, including both agreements entered into between business operators and suppliers and agreements between the operators; (ii) abuse of dominant market position by business operators; and (iii) concentration of business operators that may have the effect of precluding or impeding competition. As of the date of this report, only seven cord blood banking licenses have been granted in China, three of which to the Beijing Cord Blood Bank, Guangdong Cord Blood Bank and Zhejiang Cord Blood Bank (all of which are operated by us) and a fourth to Qilu, the sole operator of the Shandong Cord Blood Bank, in which we own a 24.0% equity interest (76.0% owned by our controlling shareholder). Therefore, we cannot assure you that we will not be identified as a business operator having dominant market position. In the event of such circumstances, there is a possibility that the antitrust authorities would impose more stringent supervision over our operations in China, in particular as to our abilities in changing or modifying any parts of our operations. There is even a risk that subscription prices would become subject to compulsory or directory guidance or other restrictions imposed by PRC government. Further, we plan to expand our business through further strategic acquisitions. If the contemplated business concentration has the effect of precluding or impeding competition, the antitrust authorities may prohibit consummation of the contemplated business concentration or impose conditions that would lessen the impact of the concentration poses on competition, and we may therefore be unable to expand our business through acquisition. In addition, our subsidiaries in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang adopt similar commercial policies and share lots of material procurement channels in China. In the event there is any agreement or a series of agreements entered into by us that are identified as monopoly agreements, the profits generated from such agreements could be confiscated and we may be subject to administrative penalties.

 

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·                  There is a possibility that the NHC or the relevant LHC will take the position that the provision of fee-based commercial cord blood banking services is not limited to operators of licensed cord blood banks. In the event that the NHC or the relevant LHC publicly announces such position, or clarifies such position in an implicit or explicit manner, other companies in healthcare or other related industries may begin to provide such services, in which case we will face direct competition from these companies.

 

·                  In response to the development of medical reform of China, the PRC government may further promulgate certain guidance or compulsory regulations or clarify its policies or regulatory positions in other manners, which could undermine cord blood bank operator profitability by restricting or even prohibiting licensed cord blood banks or their operators from conducting fee-based commercial cord blood banking services. The PRC government may guide or force licensed cord blood bank to focus on its business of providing matching services or at least take matching services as its main business by imposing certain restrictive conditions on subscription services. If any of such circumstances occur, our business and financial conditions may be adversely affected.

 

·                  The NHC or the relevant LHC may be inclined to restrict or prohibit the operators of licensed cord blood bank from conducting fee-based commercial cord blood banking services directly. In such event, we may have to change our business model or even terminate our business, and our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity may be materially adversely affected.

 

·                  The NHC or the relevant LHC may take the position that the subscription services and the matching services cannot be operated by the same operator. In such circumstances, we may be required to obtain a separate or a special license, permit, or authorization for our subscription services, or may be subject to some restrictive conditions, in which case our operations will be materially adversely affected.

 

·                  The PRC government may adopt additional requirements for the licensing, permitting or registration of cord blood banking services. As a result of the ongoing healthcare reforms in China, and in view of the policies promulgated and published by the PRC government regarding the aforementioned healthcare reform, including but not limited to the Notice on Strengthening the Management and Control of Cord Blood Stem Cells published by the MOH on October 24, 2011, cord blood banks services may be subjected to the pricing standards established by the relevant commodity price departments of PRC. Moreover, on October 8, 2012, the State Council published a notice on the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” of Health Care Development which suggests strengthening the safety and security of the blood stations, and improving the standards of the blood station laboratories, and on December 3, 2012, the MOH published three industrial standards including “Requirements for Blood Storage” which may be related to our cord blood banking service management. Notwithstanding, there is lacking of a clear and explicit price level or price guidance in relation to the cord blood banking services which we provide. We cannot rule out the possibility that PRC government may establish price guidance or introduce other specific price control standards for the cord blood banking services in the future. Additionally, we cannot guarantee that our subscription services will not be included in the scope of the price control or that governmental prices will be higher than our current rates or the costs of our operation. If this happens, our subscription services may become subject to compulsory or directory guidance or other restrictions imposed by the PRC government. In particular, if subscription services become subject to price control in China, we would be required to abide by such control and policies and we may not be able to charge our subscribers at current rates. If the government-controlled pricing or price guidance set by the relevant department of the PRC government is lower than our current pricing or the cost of our operation, our business operation or financial condition will be materially adversely affected.

 

If we lose our position as the sole provider of cord blood banking services in our existing markets, our business and prospects may be materially adversely affected.

 

Our business and financial results may be materially adversely affected by the relaxation of the one-child policy in China.

 

The one-child policy had been established for over 30 years in China, and has successfully controlled population growth rates in the past years. Effective on January 1, 2016, the amendment of Population and Family Planning Law of PRC relaxes the one-child policy by allowing families to have two children where certain requirements are met. There are also unofficial reports suggesting that the PRC government may terminate the one-child policy. With only one child in each family, it was previously difficult to obtain matching stem cells if such child needed a transplant. In families with more than one child, the possibility of acquiring matching stem cells from a sibling is increased, and such families may decide not to subscribe our subscription services. With the relaxation of the one-child policy in China, we cannot assure the demand for our subscription services will be maintained at current levels and thus, our business and financial results may be materially adversely affected.

 

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If all or part of the demand for stem cells is met by matching cord blood units donated by the public to patients in need of transplants, expectant parents may choose not to pay for our subscription services, and our business and financial results may be materially adversely affected.

 

There is no assurance that demand for our subscription services will remain at current levels for the following reasons:

 

·                  Cord blood banking licensees in China are required to accept all cord blood unit donations except for a valid medical reason and to provide matching services to patients in need of transplants. As the number of cord blood units donated by the public grows in size and increases in diversity, the probability of finding matching units for a patient among the units donated by the public may increase, which may result in a decrease in market demand for our subscription services.

 

·                  The value of our subscription services is related to the higher success rate of autologous cord blood transplants over unrelated ones. If medical research discovers new and more effective medical procedures that make allogeneic cord blood transplants safer and more effective, the clinical advantage of storing a child’s umbilical cord blood for his or her own future therapeutic use may significantly decline.

 

·                  The China healthcare industry continues to undergo various reforms. We cannot assure you that the PRC government will not adopt policies to encourage non-profit healthcare measures, such as matching services, while restricting or prohibiting profit-making healthcare measures, such as our subscription services.

 

Any decrease in the demand for our subscription services could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.

 

We currently operate our business only in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. As a result of this geographic concentration, a downturn in the local economy or birthrate level of these regions could impair our growth and adversely affect our financial results.

 

Our operations are largely concentrated in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. Due to the lack of geographical diversity of our operations, we may be unable to mitigate the effects of any adverse trends in economic development, disposable income or birthrate level in these regions. In particular:

 

·                  The successful operation and growth of our business are primarily dependent on general economic conditions in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang, which in turn are affected by many factors, including demographic trends, the strength of the manufacturing and services industries, foreign trade and tariff imposition. A deterioration of current economic conditions or an economic downturn in China as a whole, or Beijing, Guangdong or Zhejiang in particular, could result in declines in new subscriber sign-ups and impair our growth and profitability.

 

·                  Because cord blood banking is a precautionary healthcare measure, our ability to sign up new subscribers generally depends on the disposable income of expectant parents. There are many factors that are likely to cause such discretionary spending to fall, such as increases in interest rates, inflation, economic recession, declines in consumer credit availability, increases in consumer debt levels, increases in tax rates, increases in unemployment, and other matters that influence consumer confidence and spending.

 

·                  As currently our market is primarily targeted at expectant parents and newborns, the growth of our business will be subject to the birthrate level as well as population base in our operating regions. In the event the birthrate level or the population base in our operating regions significantly declines, the results of our operations, revenues and liquidity may be substantially undermined.

 

A major growth strategy of ours is to focus on penetrating our existing markets. Such strategy could be risky, because adverse economic or regulatory developments in one or multiple markets may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We cannot assure you that we can maintain or enhance our success rates in attracting new subscribers in the future.

 

Our investment in Qilu may be materially adversely affected due to a downturn in the local economy or birthrate level in the Shandong province. Such deterioration may materially adversely affect or result in an impairment of our investment.

 

We invested in Qilu, the exclusive cord blood banking operator in the Shandong province, with an equity interest of 24.0% (76.0% owned by our controlling shareholder). Due to the lack of geographical diversity, Qilu may be unable to mitigate the effects of any adverse trends in local economic development, disposable income or birthrate level. Any slowdown in the Shandong province’s economic development, unfavorable demographic trend, decline in disposable income of expectant parents or adverse change in consumer behavior will adversely affect Qilu’s capability to penetrate its local market. As such, our investment in Qilu may be materially adversely affected or severely impaired.

 

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If we fail to expand through strategic acquisitions of cord blood banks in other regions, we may not be able to expand our scope of operations or increase our revenues.

 

According to the Notice on Extension of Time Limit on Planning and Establishment of the Cord Blood Bank published by the NHFPC in December 2015, the NHFPC extended the planning and establishment timetable for cord blood banking and will not grant any new licenses before 2020 in addition to the seven existing cord blood banking licenses. Therefore, we believe we would have to rely on strategic acquisitions to expand our operations. Expansion through strategic acquisitions is subject to a number of risks:

 

·                  We may fail to locate suitable acquisition candidates with business operations that are consistent with our growth strategy and at prices and on terms that are satisfactory. Alternatively, we may have to compete with other companies or other Chinese cord blood banking operators in bidding to acquire cord blood banks in regions where we do not already operate. Some of these competitors may have greater capital resources than us.

 

·                  To finance part or all of our acquisition costs, we may need to issue ordinary shares, incur debt and assume contingent liabilities. Such acquisitions may also create additional amortization expenses related to acquired intangible assets. Any of these factors might harm our financial results and lead to volatility in the price of our shares. Further, any financing we might need for future acquisitions may be available only on terms that restrict our business or impose costs that decrease our profits.

 

·                  Even if we make a successful bid, we may be unable to obtain government approvals necessary to consummate any given proposed acquisition. Among others, if the contemplated business concentration has the effect of precluding or impeding competition, the antitrust authorities may prohibit consummation of the contemplated business concentration or impose conditions that would lessen the impact of such concentration poses on competition. Further, we may encounter protective measures in local markets that may preclude or impede our ability to expand into such regions through strategic acquisitions.

 

·                  Any integration of new businesses may produce unforeseen risks, operating difficulties and expenditures and may require significant management attention that would otherwise be available for the ongoing development of our business. Among others, we may be unable to discover during due diligence all contingent liabilities and adverse issues, giving rise to unexpected delays or difficulties during integration.

 

·                  While all cord blood banks must meet the relevant standards set by the NHC, some cord blood banks, due to their limited operating history, may possess different technological standards and operational models than ours. We may need to devote significant time and resources upon completion of the acquisition to amend and transform the acquired target. We may, prior to the implementation of an acquisition, fail to predict the appropriate amount of time and resources required to complete such transformation. It is even possible that we may not be able to rectify the situation at all. Due to the foregoing uncertainties, we may be subject to substantial costs and unexpected delays arising out of an acquisition.

 

Our future success depends on our ability to increase our target subscription base by expanding our geographical coverage to other regions. If we are unable to grow our operations through strategic acquisitions, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We may not be able to expand our service portfolio by bringing in additional healthcare and therapeutic related services or, if such expansion plans are implemented, we may not realize the anticipated benefits and they could disrupt our business, decrease our profitability, result in dilution to our stockholders or cause us to incur significant additional debt or expense.

 

As part of our business strategy to expand our service portfolio, we are seeking to acquire additional businesses which would enable us to offer additional healthcare and therapeutic related services to our cord blood banking subscribers that in turn diversify our revenue stream, leverage our corporate infrastructure and commercial expertise. There are limited opportunities available that align with our business strategy and there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify or complete any suitable acquisition in a timely manner, on a cost-effective basis, or at all, or that such transactions will be successfully integrated into our business.

 

Further, the valuation methods that we use for any acquired business require significant judgments and assumptions. There is no guarantee that we can successfully commercialize such additional healthcare services or such additional healthcare services will be well received by our existing and future subscribers. Actual results and performance of the products or businesses that we may acquire, including anticipated synergies, regulatory outcomes, economies of scale and other financial benefits, could differ significantly from our original assumptions. In addition, acquisitions may cause significant changes to our current business and operations, may subject us to more rigid or constraining regulations or government oversight and may have negative tax and accounting consequences. These results could have a negative impact on our financial position or results of operations and result in significant charges in future periods.

 

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Even if we do acquire suitable businesses, the management of integration of an acquired business or company may disrupt our ongoing business and require management resources that otherwise would be available for ongoing efforts and development of our existing business. The integration of the operations of such acquired businesses requires significant efforts, including the coordination of information technologies, sales and marketing, operations, finance and business systems and processes. These efforts result in additional expenses and involve significant amounts of management’s time. Further, due to our limited experience in operating non-cord blood banking business, there may be unanticipated or unforeseeable event which can materially adversely affected our operation and financial condition. If we cannot successfully integrate healthcare and therapeutic related services businesses for the benefits of our cord blood banking subscribers we may acquire, we may experience material negative consequences to our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

We may incur significant initial investments to apply for cord blood banking licenses in other regions, and if we are unsuccessful, our operating results could be materially adversely affected.

 

If the NHC decides to grant new cord blood banking licenses in the future in other regions, we may attempt to apply for licenses in such regions. Applying for licenses involves a variety of risks:

 

·                  Based on the time needed for the granting of the seven existing cord blood banking licenses, we believe that the application process for a cord blood banking license in China generally takes several years. We may incur substantial costs during the application process in the construction of cord blood banks with no certainty of success.

 

·                  At any time during the application process, the NHC may decide not to grant a cord blood banking license in the region. Further, our likelihood of success may not be assessed easily, for the reason of neither the NHC nor the LHC currently announces the status of those applications including the number of prospective applicants.

 

·                  The potential award of new licenses may attract new entrants to the industry. Some of these entrants may consist of internationally based specialists with more extensive technical capabilities and stronger brand recognition and China-based healthcare conglomerates with significantly more resources than us.

 

We compete with other market players for substantially the same licenses. Increased competition may result in an increase in the average cost per license. There is no assurance that we will be able to obtain new licenses through the application process. If we are unable to successfully obtain the new licenses to be awarded, we may not be able to maintain our market position within the China cord blood banking industry. Currently, we have neither identified any specific locations nor expressed any written interest in constructing a cord blood bank.

 

If we are unable to compete effectively, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.

 

We face intense competition from licensed competitors in cord blood banking industry. We compete to attract and retain subscribers based on our leading market position among other advantages.  The cord blood banking industry in PRC is highly regulated. The PRC government authorities are likely to continue to issue new laws, rules and regulations governing these industries and require new and additional licenses, permits and approvals. These laws, rules and regulations could take a direction that is adverse to our business at any time. If the NHC changes its licensing policy and decides to grant additional new cord blood banking licenses in the regions of the PRC in which we are the exclusive cord blood banking license holder, we may face more intense competition and lose our leading market position. Failure to maintain our leading market position could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may face unfair competition from competitors with or without licenses in our target markets.

 

China laws and regulations are changed, supplemented and amended from time to time to establish a well-developed legal system, while at the same time, China is in an environment in which market conditions change rapidly. Therefore, certain laws and regulations fail to be updated in time to adapt to the new business environment, and some of the laws and regulations published only give a regulatory framework or fundamental principles, whose specific operational procedures and clear explanations in relation to certain details (for example, the standard, the scope, the procedures and so on) may be absent. Laws and regulations may not be enforced in a timely manner by competent administrative or judicial institutions, and provincial-level LHCs may have different positions and therefore have different supervision methods as they interpret the laws and regulations in relation to administration of cord blood banks. Although a decision (No. 2004 HuErZhongXingZhong256) made on December 6, 2004 by Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court, which can be accessed on the official website of Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court (http://www.shezfy.com/view.html?id=2894) held that operators that conduct cord blood collection and supply activities without licenses will be ordered to shut down by the authorities, we cannot assure you that there will not be competitors without licenses operating in our target markets. These competitors may include medical institutions having a hematology specialty, general blood stations, institutions which preserve biological tissues (i.e. sperm bank), hospital blood clinic division, research institutions, and commercial institutions or organizations. Alternatively, there can be no assurance that operators of the licensed cord blood banks in other regions (outside Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang) will not compete with us in our target markets, or otherwise pose competition against us with other unfair methods. If the above circumstances do occur, we may not be able to obtain timely and effective protection from the government and have to deal with such unfair competition from such operators, which may result in the loss of the opportunity to explore the potential market, or even a decrease or loss of our existing market demand. In any such case, our operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.

 

We may not be able to manage our expected growth and enlarged business.

 

We anticipate that further expansion will be required in order for us to capitalize on the opportunities available in the cord blood banking industry. Our growth strategy may not be successful for the following reasons:

 

·                  Our ability to obtain additional capital for growth is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including our operating results, our financial condition, capital market perception, general market conditions for capital raising activities by healthcare companies, and economic conditions in China.

 

·                  Our profitability will be adversely affected by the additional costs and expenses associated with the operation of new facilities, increased marketing and sales support activities, experimenting on electronic and mobile platform to accommodate new consumer behavior, technological improvement projects, the recruitment of new employees, the upgrading of our managerial, operational and financial systems, procedures and controls, and the training and management of our growing employee base.

 

·                  The increased scale of operation will present our management with challenges associated with operating an enlarged business, including dedication of substantially more time and resources in operating and managing cord blood banks located in more than one geographic location in China, in ensuring regulatory compliance and in continuing to manage and grow the business.

 

We do not know whether our revenues will grow at all or grow rapidly enough to absorb the capital and expenses necessary for its growth. It is difficult to assess the extent of capital and expenses necessary for our growth and their impact on our operating results. Failure to manage our growth and enlarged business effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our prospects may be adversely affected if there are no new developments in medical science to overcome some of the current technical and therapeutic limitations on the use of cord blood in medical treatment.

 

Cord blood therapy is yet to be considered as mainstream therapeutic approach, with the first successful cord blood transplant occurring only in 1988. Cord blood therapy needs to overcome various technical obstacles before it can become an established medical practice. Cord blood therapy currently has the following limitations:

 

·                  Cord blood transplants may be riskier than other available treatments. Stem cells in cord blood are more primitive than those in bone marrow or peripheral blood. For this reason, the engraftment process takes longer with cord blood, leaving the patient vulnerable to a fatal infection for a longer period of time. Further, a patient’s own stem cells either “often may” or “usually would” not be the safest or most effective source of stem cells for medical treatment, especially in cases of childhood cancers or genetic disorders, potentially making it preferable to use the cord blood units donated by healthy individuals instead of the cord blood units collected upon the patient’s birth.

 

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·                  Due to the fact that cord blood therapy is a relatively new medical procedure with limited empirical data regarding its application, the long-term viability of cryogenically frozen cord blood stem cells has yet to be firmly established and the effectiveness of cord blood therapy remains to be proved. Therefore, medical practitioners may have reservations regarding the usefulness of cord blood therapy.

 

·                  A typical cord blood harvest only contains enough stem cells to treat a large child or small adult (weighing approximately 100 pounds). Although large-sized adults have had successful cord blood transplants in clinical trials, either by growing the cells in a laboratory prior to transplant or by transplanting more than one cord blood unit at a time, such technology has not yet matured to be applied in general medical practice for commercial use.

 

Cord blood therapy may never become an established medical practice. If the perceived utility of cord blood therapy declines, our prospects will be materially adversely affected.

 

The profitability of our business is subject to market acceptance of cord blood banking in China.

 

Growing market acceptance of cord blood banking services is critical to our future success. It is, however, difficult to predict whether we will be successful in generating additional consumer interest and confidence in the value of our services. Cord blood banking is a relatively new precautionary healthcare concept among the Chinese population. To many of our target subscribers, our services are novel and represent a departure from conventional healthcare spending. Cord blood banking may be unattractive to some from a costs-and-benefits perspective. We have made substantial capital investments in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang, and expect to incur substantial capital investments in our potential markets in the future. If we are unable to penetrate our existing and future markets by attracting new subscribers or potential subscribers in the PRC do not acknowledge or accept the idea of cord blood banking, our business, financial condition and results of operations will be materially adversely affected.

 

Our prospects and business may be materially adversely affected by negative publicity involving cell related therapies.

 

In April 2016, there was an unsuccessful treatment involving cell therapy that generated significant public concern in China. In 2014, Mr. Zexi Wei, a 21-year-old Chinese college student, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects tissue around major joints.  Mr. Wei died in April 2016 after receiving a certain type of cell-based immunotherapy in a hospital in Beijing that he learned of from a promoted result on a Chinese Internet search engine (the “Wei Zexi incident”). The Wei Zexi incident was widely covered by the media, which was highly critical of the promoted search practices of the Chinese Internet search engine, and was investigated by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which concluded that the Chinese Internet search engine’s pay-for-placement results influenced Mr. Wei’s medical choices, and influenced the fairness and objectivity of search results. As a result, there remains significant public distrust in the PRC regarding the potential for online promotion of false or misleading medical information, particularly as it relates to innovative cell therapies.

 

We are a cord blood banking operator which provides storage services of hematopoietic stem cells. The clinical application of hematopoietic stem cell therapies has been proven by clinical data and was approved by the NHC many years ago. Accordingly, we have not witnessed any immediate material impact on our business due to the Wei Zexi incident as of the date of this report, nor does management expect it to cause a radical shift in the regulatory landscape in China. Furthermore, we believe that thorough examination of and proper regulation regarding the clinical applications and research of biological cell therapies would benefit the regenerative medicine industry as a whole over the long run.

 

On the other hand, we, as one of the largest private hematopoietic stem cell storage operators, may face challenges when marketing our services to expand our subscriber base if the public loses confidence in cell-based therapies due to certain negative effects from public events similar to “Wei Zexi incident” in the future. Negative publicity and related Internet rumors may cast doubt among consumers in the PRC regarding cell-based therapies, which in turn may adversely affect consumer confidence in the cord blood banking industry.

 

Changes in the cord blood banking industry dynamics and technologies could render our services uncompetitive or obsolete, which could cause our revenues to decline.

 

The cord blood banking industry is evolving and may become increasingly competitive. We believe that a variety of cryopreservation technologies are under development by other companies. Our facilities may be rendered obsolete by the technological advances of others. Other cord blood banks may have better technologies than ours for preserving the cord blood units collected upon childbirth which results in higher cell count. To effectively compete in the future, we may need to invest significant financial resources to keep pace with technological advances in the cord blood banking industry. Any significant capital outlay, however, may adversely affect our profitability because we may not be able to pass the costs onto our existing or future subscribers.

 

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To remain competitive, we must continue to enhance our infrastructure to keep up with technological developments in the healthcare industry. Untimely response to changing technologies could have a material and adverse impact on our financial and operational performance.

 

Suppliers of equipment and consumables necessary for the examination, processing, collection and preservation of cord blood stem cells may become limited, which could adversely affect our operations.

 

We maintain reasonable level of equipment and consumables as inventory in our laboratories for the examination, processing, collection and preservation of cord blood stem cells. We also maintain, whenever available, multiple suppliers for our equipment and consumables. However, the number of equipment and consumables suppliers within the cord blood banking industry may become limited, while some of them may decide to exit the industry, leaving us with even more limited suppliers to choose from. Without adequate or sufficient equipment and consumables, we may not be able to handle all potential subscribers and our operations and financial performance will be materially and adversely affected.

 

If we fail to maintain and strengthen our service platform, our new subscriber sign-ups may decline and our growth may be impaired.

 

Sales and marketing activities are conducted by our own direct sales force through a network of collaborating hospitals. As of March 31, 2019, we have collaborative relationships with 358 major hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. We conduct a significant portion of our sales and marketing activities through these hospitals and rely on them for cord blood collection. Our ability to maintain and strengthen our relationships with these hospitals is critical to our success and will be affected by the following:

 

·                  For the year ended March 31, 2019, the top ten of these hospitals handled the collection procedures for approximately 16.2% of our new subscribers, and the top hospital accounting for 2.3% of our new subscribers. We expect that a substantial portion of our collection procedures will continue to be generated by a relatively small group of collaborating hospitals that may change from year to year. There is no assurance that the hospitals will continue to collaborate with us at the same levels as in prior years or such relationships will continue.

 

·                  As part of our growth plan, we expect to increase the number of collaborating hospitals in Guangdong and Zhejiang and further strengthen our relationships with the collaborating hospitals in our existing platform. We have limited experience in managing a large service platform in Guangdong and Zhejiang. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain or develop our relationships with various hospitals.

 

The expansion of our service platform is also likely to require a significant investment of financial resources and management efforts, and the benefits, if any, that we gain from such an expansion may not be sufficient enough to justify our investment. If we fail to do so, our sales could fail to grow or could even decline, and our ability to grow our business could be adversely affected.

 

Our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected if a significant number of our subscribers terminate their contracts with us prior to the end of a typical contract period of 18 years.

 

The contracts we entered into with our subscribers are typically for a period of 18 years. The contract period may be shorter than 18 years if the cord blood unit stored with us is needed for transplants by the child or a family member. The contract period may also be shorter than 18 years if our subscribers terminate their contracts with us prior to the end of 18 years for any reason. No penalties will be imposed for early termination. This effectively results in an annual election by our subscribers to renew their subscription contracts for storage services, which may result in more of our subscribers terminating the contract prior to the end of 18 years.

 

In the event of termination by our subscribers prior to the end of 18 years, we are unable to continue to collect storage fees on an annual basis. Although we have not experienced early termination by a significant number of our subscribers in the past, there is no guarantee that all of our subscribers will fulfill their contract obligations by continuing to pay storage fees on an annual basis for a period of 18 years. If we experience early termination by a significant number of our subscribers prior to the end of a typical contract period of 18 years, we will lose revenues from storage fees payable by these subscribers for the remaining contract period. If this occurs, our revenues will decrease and our financial condition and results of operations will be materially adversely affected.

 

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Our relatively limited operating history may not serve as an adequate basis to predict our future prospects and results of operations.

 

We have a relatively limited operating history. Although Nuoya obtained the license for its cord blood bank in June 2006, Nuoya was acquired by us in May 2007. Furthermore, we established the 90% owned subsidiary Lukou and acquired the right to operate the cord blood bank in the Zhejiang province during the year ended March 31, 2011. As such, we have a relatively limited operating history upon which the viability and sustainability of our business may be evaluated. For example, due to the uncertainties associated with government policies in relation to granting cord blood banking licenses in China, we abandoned construction of the two cord blood banks and incurred an impairment loss of RMB13.5 million in the year ended March 31, 2006. We cannot assure you that we will not incur losses in the foreseeable future. Our future prospects should be considered in light of the risks and uncertainties we may face in managing a relatively new healthcare service in China. Some of these risks and uncertainties relate to our ability to:

 

·                  ensure that there will only be one license in each of Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shandong;

 

·                  maintain relationships with an extensive network of collaborating hospitals;

 

·                  reduce our dependence on a small geographical area and diversify our market and subscriber base;

 

·                  respond to changes in China regulatory environment;

 

·                  maintain effective control of our costs and expenses;

 

·                  attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel;

 

·                  secure necessary financing to support our business activities; and

 

·                  respond to rapid technological advances inherent in the cord blood banking industry.

 

If we are unsuccessful in addressing any of these risks and uncertainties, our business, financial condition and results of operations would suffer. In particular, as most of our expenses are fixed in the near future or incurred in advance of anticipated revenues, we may not be able to modify our business plan in time to address any shortfall in revenues and profits.

 

We are exposed to the risk of a deterioration or sudden dramatic decline in our reputation among our target subscribers due to failure in the performance of our cord blood banks.

 

Our reputation among clients and the medical community is extremely important to our success. Our future success depends on acknowledging and actively monitoring the concerns of our target subscribers, regulatory agencies, medical practitioners, civil society groups and non-government organizations. Failure to take appropriate consideration of legitimate corporate responsibility issues in our day-to-day operations could have a material adverse impact on our reputation and business prospects. In particular:

 

·                  To retain adequate sterility and stem cell viability, cord blood deposits in our cord blood banks are stored at minus 196 degrees Celsius continuously in liquid nitrogen tanks. To the extent the storage environment of our cord blood deposits is disrupted or impaired due to any software, hardware or equipment failure, our target subscribers may lose confidence in our services.

 

·                  Our subscribers and donors provide us with extensive personal data, which are stored in our database. Any leakage or sabotage of such information could have significant legal implications, and materially adversely affect our reputation and our ability to attract new subscribers and donors.

 

Any problems with our services, if publicized in the media or otherwise, could negatively impact our reputation. Similarly, inappropriate or inadequate communication following a major crisis, such as a major operational incident, cybersecurity breach, breach of law or ethics or leak of market-sensitive confidential information, could quickly and seriously impair our reputation. Depending on the nature of such crisis, effective communication may not mitigate serious damage to our reputation and may render us subject to criminal and civil prosecution or class action suits by shareholders and other interested parties. Any of these risks can have a material adverse impact on our business.

 

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Our subscriber database is stored on our computer system. We maintain database security to protect such database and information stored from leakage or any unauthorized or unintended activities; however, our database may be hacked and our reputation would be adversely affected.

 

We store subscribers’ information on our computer system and maintain database security to protect the database and prevent leakage of subscribers’ personal data. The security system is regularly updated and tested to cope with fast-changing technologies; however, if unauthorized persons sabotaged our database or hacked into our database and steal subscribers’ information for illegal or improper purposes, our reputation and our ability to attract new subscriber sign-ups may be materially adversely affected and we will be subject to litigation and potential damages liable to subscribers.

 

We treat cord blood units abandoned by our former subscribers as donated property and release such units to our cord blood inventory available for patients in need of transplants. This practice may subject us to criticism that could damage our reputation.

 

In addition to subscription services, we accept and preserve cord blood units donated by the general public and deliver matched cord blood units for a fee to patients in need of transplants. For subscribers who cease subscription for our services at the end of 18 years or who fail to pay subscription fees, we have the right under the subscription contracts to treat the cord blood units stored as donated property and release such units to our cord blood inventory for patients in need of transplants. We require our employees to fully inform all prospective subscribers of this policy, and our subscribers are required to give their consent to this policy when subscribing for our services.

 

During the year ended March 31, 2019, the Company reclassified 711 private cord blood units as donated cord blood units after the Company determined that the recoverability of these prior private cord blood banking subscribers was remote and therefore the Company terminated their subscription services according to the subscription contracts. These units are being treated as if they were donated units and will be part of the Company’s non-current inventories.

 

In the opinion of our PRC counsel, Commerce & Finance Law Offices, consent of this nature is valid and enforceable under PRC law. In the event of a dispute relating to the ownership of the cord blood units abandoned by our former subscribers, it is possible that a court may rule in favor of our former subscribers based on considerations of fairness and equity regardless of the fact that we have contractual rights under the subscription contracts to treat cord blood units abandoned by our former subscribers as donated properties and release such units to our cord blood inventory available for patients in need of transplants. If this occurs, we may be forced to return the cord blood units or continue to store the cord blood units for the benefit of subscribers who do not fulfill their payment obligations. If the cord blood units abandoned by our former subscribers are already used by patients in need of transplants and are no longer available to our former subscribers or their family members who are in need of transplants, we may be required to pay them substantial monetary compensation in order to compensate for those damages.

 

Based on information available to us, treating cord blood units abandoned by former subscribers and releasing such units as inventory available to patients in need of transplants is a common practice followed by cord blood banking operators in China. Nonetheless, we cannot assure you that we will not become the subject of negative publicity resulting from this business practice, whether due to failure by our employees to duly notify our subscribers of this contract provision, ethical issues underlying this business practice or other reasons. If this business practice receives negative media attention, our reputation and our ability to attract new subscriber sign-ups may be materially adversely affected.

 

Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover the risks related to our business, and our insurance costs may increase significantly.

 

Our cord blood banks and other infrastructure in our facilities are vulnerable to damages or disruption from fire, flood, equipment failure, break-ins, typhoons and similar events. We do not have back-up facilities or a formal disaster recovery plan. Consequently, we could suffer a loss of some or all of the stored cord blood units.

 

Currently, we maintain insurance coverage of RMB50.0 million ($7.5 million) to cover our liabilities arising from collection, testing and processing of cord blood units and an additional RMB339.5 million ($50.6 million) in aggregate to cover liabilities arising from storage of donated cord blood units in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. We also maintain property insurance policies for facilities, machinery and office equipment for our Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang operations to cover damages from accidents. However, we do not maintain any property insurance policies covering losses due to fire, earthquake, flood and other disasters, nor do we maintain business interruption or cyber security related insurance. Under our insurance policies, the insurance company will provide reimbursement if any cord blood unit of a subscriber is destroyed or unfit to use due to our mishandling; provided, however, the payments to which we are entitled in each incident are limited to RMB200,000 ($29,801) per person and RMB10.0 million ($1.5 million) in the aggregate.

 

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While we believe that we maintain adequate insurance, our business and prospects could nonetheless be adversely affected in the event of problems in our operations, for the following reasons:

 

·                  Cord blood banking is an emerging business in China. We could have underestimated our insurance needs and may not have sufficient insurance to cover losses above and beyond the limits on our policies. In particular, our subscription contract limits our liability to an amount equal to twice the fees paid by the subscriber, and our insurance policies are procured with reference to this clause. If the enforceability of this clause is successfully challenged by a subscriber, any judgment against us may exceed the policy limit of our liability insurance.

 

·                  Depending on the severity of the incident, any damage or destruction of the cord blood units in our custody could potentially expose us to significant liability from our subscribers, and could affect our ability to continue to provide cord blood banking services. A substantial portion of our losses in such a case will not be covered by our insurance.

 

·                  Under the PRC Tort Liability Law, the loss or damage to the cord blood units would be identified as an infringement to personal rights and interests for which the subscribers may claim for the compensation for mental damage. In addition, because the loss or damage to the cord blood units would be a potentially unique and perhaps irreplaceable therapeutic loss for which damages would be difficult to quantify, the liability cap stipulated in our subscription contracts may not be supported by PRC courts and the subscribers may be compensated in accordance with the actual loss or the damage they suffered. We therefore cannot be sure to what extent we could be found liable, in any given scenario, for damages suffered by a subscriber as a result of harm or loss of a cord blood unit. If the amount of compensation for the said mental damage or the actual loss or damage is found to be huge, our financial conditions may be materially adversely affected.

 

Further, we cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to maintain insurance with adequate coverage for liability or risks arising from any of our services on acceptable terms. Even if the insurance is adequate, insurance premiums could increase significantly which could result in higher costs to us. Depending on the development of the industry, certain potential liability may be excluded from coverage under the terms of our insurance policy in the future which imposes even higher level of risk and uncertainty going forward.

 

If PRC regulators order operators of the licensed cord blood banks in China to cease their fee-based commercial cord blood banking operations, our results of operations and liquidity would be materially adversely affected.

 

Under the Measures for the Administration of Blood Stations issued by the MOH, or “the Measures”, which became effective on March 1, 2006 and revised in 2009, 2016 and 2017, respectively:

 

·                  for-profit cord blood banks and other for-profit special purpose blood stations are not approved;

 

·                  neither collection nor supply of cord blood from donors may be conducted for the purpose of making a profit;

 

·                  the purchase and sale of cord blood units donated by the public is prohibited; and

 

·                  cord blood banks are prohibited from collecting or providing cord blood without a duly obtained Blood Station Operation License issued by the provincial-level DOH or LHFPC or LHC.

 

Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang licenses were either renewed or issued by the relevant provincial-level DOHs or LHFPC after the Measures became effective on March 1, 2006.

 

The cord blood bank operated by Jiachenhong, our operating subsidiary in Beijing, obtained its first cord blood banking license from the MOH in September 2002. In September 2005, June 2007, March 2010 and April 2013, the MOH/DOH in Beijing renewed the license for the cord blood bank operated by us for an additional three years. In April 2016, the LHFPC in Beijing renewed the license for the cord blood bank operated by us for an additional nine years. The cord blood bank operated by Nuoya, our operating subsidiary in Guangdong, obtained its first cord blood banking license from the DOH in Guangdong in June 2006. In May 2009, May 2012, May 2015 and May 2018, the DOH/LHFPC in Guangdong renewed the license for the cord blood bank operated by us for an additional three years. The cord blood bank operated by Lukou, our operating subsidiary in Zhejiang, obtained its first cord blood banking license from the DOH in Zhejiang in September 2010. In September 2013 and September 2016, the DOH/LHFPC in Zhejiang renewed the license for the cord blood bank operated by us for an additional three years.

 

All the operators of the licensed cord blood banks in China have been providing fee-based commercial cord blood banking services to fee-paying subscribers in conjunction with cord blood banking services provided to the public with respect to donated cord blood units. We believe that the NHC and the LHCs in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang are aware of fee-based commercial cord blood banking services in these regions, as they have inspected cord blood bank facilities from time to time. In addition, our license application materials submitted to the LHFPCs in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang contained information about our subscription services to subscribers.

 

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Although the above facts indicate that the NHC and the LHCs have been continuously supervising Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang cord blood banks, which collect cord blood units donated by the public and provide fee-based commercial cord blood banking services, there is a lack of a clear, consistent and well-developed regulatory framework for the cord blood banking industry in China as well as a lack of formal clarifications of policies or positions by the NHC and the LHCs on how they interpret, administer and enforce the regulations in light of the ambiguities under the current regulatory environment. We cannot assure you that the PRC government and the competent health authorities will continue their current regulatory practice and not prohibit provision of for-profit subscription services. In the event that the PRC government and the competent health authorities were to change their regulatory position and prohibit companies or any other entities in China, including us, from operating for-profit subscription businesses or acting as operators of cord blood banks, we may have to terminate our business or change our business model. Further, if we were required to apply for a special or a separate permit, license or authorization for the provision of such services, we may have to suspend our business to apply for the special or a separate permit, license or authorization. We may be subject to administrative penalties and/or claims for operation without a license. There is no assurance that we will be able to obtain the license. We may be forced to shut down our business if we are unable to obtain the license. Also, there is no assurance that we will be able to apply for and obtain a new approval or license to expand our business. If any of the above circumstances occur, our business and financial condition will be materially adversely affected. Similarly, if the NHC or the relevant LHC order the operator of Shandong Cord Blood Bank to cease fee-based commercial cord blood banking operations, Qilu’s operations will be severely affected, which in turn may materially adversely affect our investment.

 

Our business may be materially adversely affected if we are to be prohibited from providing collection, testing, storage and matching services in connection with cord blood under the Industrial Catalogue Guiding Foreign Investment, or the “Catalogue” and the Negative List.

 

Prior to December 1, 2007, foreign investment in China was subject to regulation by the Catalogue promulgated in November 2004 by the National Development and Reform Commission, or the “NDRC”, and the Ministry of Commerce, or the “MOC”. On October 31, 2007, the NDRC and the MOC revised the Catalogue, which became effective on December 1, 2007. The Catalogue was subsequently amended and revised by NDRC and MOC in 2011, 2015 and 2017. On June 28, 2018, NDRC and MOC promulgated the Special Administrative Measures for Access of Foreign Investment (Negative List) (2018 Edition) ( the “Negative List”), which entered into force from July 28, 2018,  and superseded the categories of “restricted” and “prohibited” for foreign investment as provided in the Catalog revised in 2017. Under the Catalogue promulgated in 2004, there were no prohibitions against investment by foreign enterprises in the cord blood banking industry in China. Under the Catalogue revised in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017 and the Negative List, however, foreign enterprises are prohibited from engaging in stem cell and gene diagnosis and treatment technology development and application. Since the Negative List still does not clearly define the scope of such prohibited business, it is uncertain whether it prohibits diagnosis and treatment technology development and application of stem cells only or it prohibits all stem-cell-related technology development and application. Therefore, it is unclear whether our cord blood banking services will be construed as a prohibited business under the Negative List.

 

We have consulted with our PRC counsel and found no evidence which leads to the conclusion that the subscription services provided by our cord blood banks violate the Catalogue revised in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017 and the Negative List. We have also communicated and consulted with the MOH/NHFPC and the relevant DOHs/LHFPCs regarding the legality of cord blood banking services provided by our cord blood banks subsequent to the effectiveness of the Catalogue revised in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017 and the Negative List. So far, neither the Company nor our cord blood banks has received any negative comment, query, notice of prohibition, notice of termination of the service, administration sanction or penalty due to the cord blood banking service deemed as non-compliance with the relevant PRC laws and regulations or violation of the terms set forth in the blood station licenses. Moreover, all the annual inspections, payments of the paid-in capital and change of the legal representative of our PRC subsidiaries, after the Catalogue revised in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017 and the Negative List became effective, have been officially approved, registered and filed with authorized Industry and Commerce Administration Bureau. Also, our Beijing Cord Blood Bank, Guangdong Cord Blood Bank and Zhejiang Cord Blood Bank renewed their cord blood banking licenses in April 2016, May 2018 and September 2016, respectively, from the relevant authorities after the Catalogue revised in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2017 was already effective. None of Jiachenhong, the Beijing Cord Blood Bank, Nuoya, the Guangdong Cord Blood Bank, or Lukou, the Zhejiang Cord Blood Bank, encountered any major obstacle, hurdle or query during the renewal process of the cord blood banking license or business license.

 

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Although the Catalogue revised in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017 and the Negative List has no retroactive force and foreign enterprises approved to operate in China before their business becomes prohibited under the Catalogue revised in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017 and the Negative List should be able to continue with their business in accordance with the approval they previously obtained, there is no assurance that such enterprises will continue to be able to renew their licenses in the future if the government authorities consider that renewal of their licenses would contravene the Negative List . Moreover, we may not be able to obtain necessary approvals for our business expansion or acquisitions from the government authorities under the Negative List. We also may not be able to extend the operating periods of our existing PRC subsidiaries, including Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou. Jiachenhong has an operating period of twenty years and the cord blood banking license is subject to renewal in May 2025. Nuoya has an operating period of thirty years and the cord blood banking license is subject to renewal in May 2021. Lukou has an operating period of twenty years and the cord blood banking license is subject to renewal in September 2019. The contracts Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou currently enter into with their subscribers are typically for a period of 18 years. If Jiachenhong and Lukou are unable to extend their respective operating periods, these respective operating periods will not cover the period of the contracts entered into after September 2005 and December 2012, respectively, and the relevant entity may have to be transferred to domestic companies or go into liquidation upon the expiration of its respective operating period. In addition, after the Negative List has been issued, we may not be able to obtain approval from the relevant approval authorities for increasing the registered capital of Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou, subscribing to the increased registered capital of Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou, or making contributions for such capital with foreign currency sourced from overseas. If any of the above occurs, we may be required to change our business model or otherwise cease our business operations.

 

Our business activities are subject to regulations that may impose significant costs and restrictions.

 

As the healthcare industry in China is monitored closely by regulatory authorities, our operations are constrained in many aspects. In particular:

 

·                  The regulatory framework on the cord blood banking industry may not be sufficiently comprehensive to address all ranges of issues in connection with the cord blood banking industry and to respond in a timely manner to any changes and developments in the industry. Before the existing laws and regulations are amended, PRC government authorities sometimes may establish internal policy guidance and follow this guidance in practice, and the implementation of such policy guidance could vary among different LHCs and be inconsistent with written regulations which in turn adversely affect our operations.

 

·                  Stringent regulations and standards apply to various aspects of our operations, including workers’ safety, the maintenance of premises, and the handling and disposal of waste materials and hazardous substances. Failure to maintain the required standards can result in fines, an order to suspend the operations of our facilities until corrective measures are implemented or the revocation of our operating permits for such facilities or the denial of permission for their renewal. We comply with these regulations. A failure in complying with these regulations may have a material adverse effect on our operations.

 

·                  All collection devices and reagents used in our handling of cord blood units are regulated by the State Food and Drug Administration, or “SFDA”, and we require our suppliers to comply with all applicable regulations. The SFDA could at any time require our suppliers to obtain prior approval or additional clearance with regard to the materials, reagents, appliances, consumables, devices or containers which we are currently using or prepare to use. Such requirements may affect the shipment timing of our suppliers which in turn materially adversely affecting our operations.

 

·                  We are required by PRC law to hire professional medical waste disposal firms to collect and dispose of medical waste produced in the process of collection, transportation, testing, processing and cryopreservation of cord blood. Such compliance costs may put extra strain on our financial resources.

 

·                  The government may change the licensing policy to require separate licenses be obtained for each type of cord blood banking services provided. If we are unable to obtain such approvals, licenses or permits for any reason, we may be required to terminate the provision of the service requiring license, in which case our business may be materially adversely affected.

 

Regulations of cord blood banking services in China are still evolving and there are uncertainties in relation to the application and interpretation of the relevant regulations. We may be required to devote significant time and attention to comply with the applicable requirements, and our compliance costs may increase in future periods.

 

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Unauthorized use of our brand name by third parties may adversely affect our business.

 

We consider our brand name critical to our success. Due to the nature of our business, we do not have any patents, administrative protection or trade secrets covering our use of cord blood collection, processing, storage or retrieval technologies. Our continued ability to differentiate ourselves from the other cord blood banking operators and other potential new entrants would depend substantially on our ability to preserve the value of our brand name.

 

We rely on trademark law, company brand name protection policies, and agreements with our employees, subscribers and business partners to protect the value of our brand name. In particular, we have completed the trademark registration process and have been licensed by the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (which had been reorganized as the Trademark Office of National Intellectual Property Administration since March 2018) to use our trademarks, as of the date of issuance of this report, we had 89 registered trademarks. However, there can be no assurance that the measures we take in this regard are adequate to prevent or deter infringement or other misappropriation of our brand name. Among others, we may not be able to detect unauthorized use of our brand name or copycat in a timely manner because our ability to determine whether other parties have infringed our brand name is generally limited to information from publicly available sources.

 

In order to preserve the value of our brand name, we may need to take legal actions against third parties. Nonetheless, because the validity, enforceability and scope of trademark protection in the PRC are uncertain and still evolving, we may not be successful in litigation. Further, future litigation may also result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources and disrupt our business.

 

Our strategic partnership with Cordlife Singapore may not be successful.

 

Cordlife was a provider of cord blood banking services with operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Before the completion of the restructuring of Cordlife, we paid an aggregate of AUD12.4 million in exchange for a total of 24,366,666 shares in Cordlife. In June 2011, shareholders of Cordlife approved a capital reduction scheme by way of distribution in specie. The scheme involved a spin-off of Cordlife’s more mature cord blood banking businesses in Singapore and Hong Kong. The restructuring and distribution in specie were subsequently completed and effective on June 30, 2011. After the restructuring of Cordlife as of June 30, 2011, we owned a total 24,366,666 shares in both LFC and Cordlife Singapore.

 

Before the restructuring, operations of the whole group were conducted under Cordlife. After the restructuring, developing cord blood banking businesses in Indonesia, India and the Philippines were operated under LFC, which was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, while the more mature cord blood banking businesses in Singapore and Hong Kong were operated under Cordlife Singapore, which was listed on the Singapore Exchange on March 29, 2012. In June 2013, Cordlife Singapore completed the acquisition of the cord blood and cord tissue banking businesses in Indonesia, India and the Philippines from LFC. After the acquisition, Cordlife Singapore now operates cord blood banking businesses in both mature markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong, and developing markets such as Indonesia, India and the Philippines (as well as brand presence in Myanmar and Vietnam). Subsequently, Cordlife Singapore acquired Stemlife, a Malaysia-based cord blood banking operator.

 

In December 2013, LFC acquired an unlisted company which engaged in the provision of funeral and related services, and thereafter, LFC’s principal activities changed to the provision of funeral and related services. In February 2018, the Company disposed of all of its shares in LFC to liquidate its non-core investment since the Company had no strategic proposition relating to funeral business. As of March 31, 2019, we owned 25,516,666 shares in Cordlife Singapore representing 10.1% equity interest. There are risks associated with Cordlife Singapore’s operations, such as changes in regulation and different consumer appetite toward cord blood banking. We may thus be unable to realize satisfactory return on our investments in Cordlife Singapore.

 

In May 2011, we entered into a marketing collaboration agreement with Cordlife HK, a subsidiary of Cordlife Singapore. Under the agreement, we will help to promote and provide referral services to potential clients who have interest in delivering babies in Hong Kong where Cordlife HK operates, in return for a minimal fee. As of the date of this report, no material development has been recorded.

 

In February 2014, we entered a strategic alliance agreement with Cordlife Singapore in relation to the provision of human postnatal umbilical cord tissues storage services in the PRC. Pursuant to the agreement, we will obtain a sub-license right for the use of cellular technology from Cordlife Singapore, which was granted by CordLabs Asia Pte. Ltd. to Cordlife Singapore, in return, we pay a licensing fee, but no material amount has been incurred up to March 31, 2019. We cannot assure you the market will accept these new services and accordingly the strategic alliance may not be successful or generate satisfactory returns.

 

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Our investments in equity securities may adversely affect our financial performance.

 

We continuously review and monitor our investments such as Cordlife (LFC and Cordlife Singapore after the restructuring) and other investment.

 

The market value of our investment in Cordlife declined during the nine months ended December 31, 2008. Having considered the significance of the accumulated decline in the fair market value of the ordinary shares of Cordlife, the period of time during which market value of the shares had been below cost, and the market condition at that time, the management determined that the impairment loss on the investment up to December 31, 2008 was other-than-temporary. As a result, accumulated impairment loss amounting to RMB37.4 million was recognized in earnings during the year ended March 31, 2009. After taking into account the extent of the decline in the fair value of the ordinary shares of LFC, the length of time during which the market value of the shares had been below cost, and the financial condition and near-term prospects of LFC, our management considered that the decline in value on the investment in LFC was other-than-temporary. As a result, impairment loss of RMB8.4 million and RMB2.5 million was recognized in earnings, which was transferred from other comprehensive income, during the years ended March 31, 2016 and 2017 respectively and the market value as of December 31, 2016 formed a new cost basis of our investment in LFC. The investment in LFC was disposed of in February 2018 and the unrealized holding loss was recognized in earnings, which was transferred from other comprehensive income, during the year ended March 31, 2018.

 

As of March 31, 2019, we owned 10.1% equity interest in Cordlife Singapore. Upon the adoption of Accounting Standard Update (“ASU”) No. 2016-01 since April 1, 2018, all equity investments to be measured at fair value with changes in fair value was recognized through net income and the cumulative effect was adjusted to the balance sheet as of the beginning of the fiscal year of adoption. As of March 31, 2018, included in accumulated other comprehensive losses were unrealized net holding gains for equity investments in Cordlife Singapore of RMB62.6 million, which was then adjusted to retained earnings as of April 1, 2018. For the year ended March 31, 2019, a decrease in fair value of equity investments in Cordlife Singapore and other investment of RMB57.1 million ($8.5 million) was recorded as other expenses through net income. Should the value of our investment experience a significant decline, a decrease in fair value will have to be recognized through net income and this will adversely affect our financial performance.

 

If demand for our matching services is significantly different from our management’s expectations, the valuation of donated cord blood units could be materially impacted, which could affect our financial performance.

 

A significant portion of our inventories, which consist of cord blood units donated by the public, consists of the handling costs attributable to the testing, processing and preservation of donated cord blood units. The handling costs include direct material costs and direct labor costs incurred in handling of donated cord blood units. Cost of inventories also comprises an allocation of production overheads. Donated cord blood units are valued at the lower of cost or net realizable value using the weighted average cost method. Since we do not expect to recognize revenue from such inventories within 12 months from the balance sheet date, we classify donated cord blood units as non-current assets on our consolidated balance sheets. The carrying value of our donated cord blood units was RMB77.2 million ($11.5 million) as of March 31, 2019. Our management periodically reviews quantities of donated cord blood stored in our banks to determine if a write-down on inventories is necessary based on estimated demand for our matching services and other industry knowledge. We did not record any write-downs on our inventories for the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019. If demand for our matching services is significantly different from our management’s expectations, the valuation of donated cord blood units could be materially impacted.

 

We may have anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents that discourage a change of control.

 

Certain provisions of our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association may have an anti-takeover effect and may delay, defer or prevent a tender offer or takeover attempt that a shareholder might consider in its best interest, including those attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares held by shareholders.

 

Certain of these provisions include:

 

·                  having a classified Board of Directors with staggered three-year terms;

 

·                  requiring a special resolution, namely the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds (66 and 2/3%) of the votes cast by the shareholders in the meeting convened to approve the removal of a director;

 

·                  providing for filling vacancies on the board only by the vote of the remaining directors or by a special resolution, namely the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds (66 and 2/3%) of the votes cast by the shareholders in the meeting convened to approve such appointment; and

 

·                  establishing the requirements and procedures for calling special meetings of shareholders, including a provision that provides that a special meeting of shareholders may only be called by a majority of directors, our chairman, or members together holding not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the issued shares.

 

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In addition, we have entered into service contracts with senior executive officers on June 30, 2009, namely, Ms. Ting Zheng, Mr. Albert Chen, Ms. Rui Arashiyama and Ms. Xin Xu. Each contract is automatically renewed every three years until the death or incapacitation of the senior executive officer unless terminated by either party with notice. If a service contract is terminated by the relevant executive within 30 days following a change of control of our company, the executive will be entitled to (i) all the salary and guaranteed bonuses actually accrued and payable to him/her; (ii) immediate vesting of all of his/her unvested options; and (iii) a severance payment in the amount of $5 million. GCBC may terminate a service contract without cause with at least 30 days’ written notice, in which case the executive will be entitled to (i) all the salary and guaranteed bonuses actually accrued and payable to him/her as the case may be; (ii) the immediate vesting of all of his or her unvested options; and (iii) if the termination is made within two years of a change of control of our company, a severance payment in the amount of $5 million. The aggregate cost of the severance payments that would become payable at the option of the senior executive officers upon a change of control could discourage acquisition bids for GCBC. These anti-takeover provisions could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire GCBC, even if the third party’s offer may be considered beneficial by many shareholders. As a result, shareholders may be limited in their ability to obtain a premium for their shares.

 

As of March 31, 2019, Nanjing Ying Peng, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Blue Ocean Structure Investment Company Ltd (“Blue Ocean”), beneficially owned approximately 65% equity interest of GCBC. GCBC’s Board of Directors is divided into three classes, each of which will generally serve for a term of three years with only one class of directors being elected in each year. At each of our annual meetings, as a consequence of GCBC’s “staggered” Board of Directors, only a minority of the Board of Directors will be considered for election and Nanjing Ying Peng, because of its ownership position, has considerable influence regarding the outcome.

 

As our success depends on several key management personnel, our business may be adversely affected if we fail to retain them.

 

Our success is highly dependent on the retention of the principal members of our management, scientific and sales personnel. In particular, Ms. Ting Zheng, our chairperson and chief executive officer, and the rest of our senior management team, are critical to our ability to execute our overall business strategy. In addition, several other employees with scientific or other skills are important to the successful development of our business. If any of our key employees joins a competitor or forms a competing company, we may lose some competitive advantages, and our operating results may be adversely affected. As qualified personnel are difficult to attract and retain, we have entered into service contracts with key senior executive officers. Each contract will be automatically renewed every three years until the death or incapacitation of the senior executive officer unless terminated by either party with notice. Although these contracts contain non-competition clauses, the restrictions imposed by the clauses may not be adequate to prohibit these key management personnel from competing against us after their departure.

 

If there are any adverse public health developments in China, our business and operations may be severely disrupted.

 

Any prolonged occurrence of avian flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or “SARS”, or other adverse public health developments in China or other regions where we have an operation or presence may have a material adverse effect on our business operations. These could include the ability of our personnel to travel or to promote our services within China or at other regions where we have an operation or presence, loss of marketing channels as hospitals prohibit our sales and marketing personnel from entering and approaching expectant parents within hospital premises, as well as temporary closure of our facilities. In particular, there have been reports of occurrences of avian flu in various parts of China in the past, including confirmed human cases. In response, the PRC government has authorized local governments to impose quarantine and other restrictions on movements of people and goods in the event of an epidemic. Any closures or travel or other operational restrictions would severely disrupt our business operations and adversely affect our results of operations. We have not adopted any written preventive measures or contingency plans to combat any future outbreak of avian flu, SARS or any other epidemic.

 

A severe or prolonged downturn in the global economy could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

The global market and economic conditions during the years 2008 through 2010 were unprecedented and challenging, with recessions occurring in most major economies. Government responses to these events included partial nationalization of certain industries and enterprises, “bail-out” packages intended to provide liquidity to market participants and several high-profile acquisitions and bankruptcies. The recovery from the lows was uneven and there were challenges including the escalation of European sovereign debt crisis since 2011 and the slowdown of the PRC economy since 2012. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that have been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies. Although, the PRC economy has gradually grown from time to time during 2012 to 2018, previous turmoil in China’s capital market and economic developments in China, other countries of Asia and Euro-zones cast doubt on the pace of global economic recovery, which could have lasting effects on our business, our expansion plans and our ability to raise capital required to implement our expansion plans, the extent of which is difficult to predict. Also, the PRC government implements a series of administrative control intends to curb the outflow of Renminbi from the PRC as well as various initiatives concerning deleveraging. Any severe and prolonged slowdown in the PRC economy may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial conditions.

 

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Recent trade policy initiatives announced by the United States administration against the PRC may adversely affect our business.

 

On August 14, 2017, the President of the United States issued a memorandum instructing the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) to determine whether to investigate under section 301 of the United States Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act), laws, policies, practices, or actions of the PRC government that may be unreasonable or discriminatory and that may be harming United States intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development. Based on information gathered in that investigation, the USTR published a report on March 22, 2018 on the acts, policies and practices of the PRC government supporting findings that such are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict United States commerce.

 

On March 8, 2018, the President exercised his authority to issue the imposition of significant tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from a number of countries, including the PRC. Subsequently, the USTR announced an initial proposed list of 1,300 goods imported from the PRC that could be subject to additional tariffs and initiated a dispute with the World Trade Organization against the PRC for alleged unfair trade practices. The President has indicated that his two primary concerns to be addressed by the PRC are (i) a mandatory $100 billion reduction in the PRC/United States trade deficit and (ii) limiting the planned $300 billion PRC government support for advanced technology industries including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, electric cars and commercial aircraft.  On July 6, 2018, the United States initially imposed a 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, including agriculture and industrial machinery, which prompted the PRC government to initially impose tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods from the United States, including beef, poultry, tobacco and cars.  Since July 2018, the United States imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products and has threatened tariffs on $325 billion more.  In response, China imposed tariffs on $110 billion worth of US goods, and threatened qualitative measures that would affect U.S. businesses operating in PRC. In May 2019, the United States raised the tariffs on $100 billion of Chinese products to 25% from 10%.  The United States and the PRC government have not yet reached any agreement in the trade talks, which have been ongoing for several months.

 

In addition to the proposed retaliatory tariffs, the President has also directed the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to develop new restrictions on PRC investments in the U.S. aimed at preventing PRC-controlled companies and funds from acquiring U.S. firms with sensitive technologies. A Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act was introduced to Congress for review to modernize the restrictive powers imposed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

 

This evolving policy dispute between the PRC and the United States is likely to have significant impact on the PRC economy as well as consumer discretional spending, directly and indirectly, and no assurance can be given that we will not be adversely affected by any governmental actions taken by either the PRC or the United States, perhaps materially. In view of the positions of the respective trade representatives, it is not possible to predict with any certainty the outcome of this dispute or whether it will involve other agencies or entities brought in to resolve the policy differences of the two countries.

 

There is a risk that GCBC will be classified as a passive foreign investment company, or “PFIC”, which could result in adverse consequences to investors.

 

In general, GCBC will be treated as a PFIC for any taxable year of GCBC in which either (1) at least 75% of its gross income (including its pro rata share of the gross income of certain 25% or more-owned corporate subsidiaries) is passive income or (2) at least 50% of the average value of its assets (including its pro rata share of the assets of certain 25% or more owned corporate subsidiaries) produce, or are held for the production of, passive income. Passive income generally includes, without limitation, dividends, interest, rents, royalties, and gains from the disposition of passive assets. If GCBC is determined to be a PFIC for any taxable year (or portion thereof) of GCBC that is included in the holding period of a U.S. Holder (as defined in the section of this report captioned “Additional Information — Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation — General”) of GCBC’s ordinary shares, the U.S. Holder may be subject to increased U.S. federal income tax liability upon a sale or other disposition of GCBC’s ordinary shares or the receipt of certain excess distributions from GCBC and may be subject to additional reporting requirements. Based on the composition (and estimated values) of the assets and the nature of the income of GCBC and its subsidiaries during GCBC’s taxable year ended March 31, 2019, we do not believe that we will be treated as a PFIC for such year. However, because we have not performed a definitive analysis as to our PFIC status for such taxable year, there can be no assurance with respect to our PFIC status for such taxable year. There also can be no assurance with respect to the status of GCBC as a PFIC for its current taxable year or any future taxable year. U.S. Holders of GCBC’s ordinary shares are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding the possible application of the PFIC rules. See the discussion in the section entitled “Additional Information — Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation — U.S. Holders — Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules”.

 

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The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

 

Our independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit reports included in our annual reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), as auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (the “PCAOB”), is required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the applicable laws of the United States and professional standards. Because our auditor is located in the People’s Republic of China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditor is not currently inspected by the PCAOB. Inspections conducted by the PCAOB outside of 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 audit documentation located in China and its related quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

 

Proceedings instituted by the SEC against certain 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 Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act.

 

In December 2012, the SEC brought administrative proceedings against five accounting firms in China, including our independent registered public accounting firm, alleging that they had refused to produce audit work papers and other documents related to certain other China-based companies under investigation by the SEC. On January 22, 2014, an initial administrative law decision was issued, censuring these accounting firms and suspending four of these firms from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months. The decision is neither final nor legally effective unless and until reviewed and approved by the SEC.

 

In February 2014, the initial decision was appealed. While under appeal and in February 2015, four of these PRC-based accounting firms (the “Chinese member firms of “Big Four” accounting firms”) reached a settlement with the SEC. As part of the settlement, each of the Chinese member firms of “Big Four” accounting firms agreed to settlement terms that include a censure; undertakings to make a payment to the SEC; procedures and undertakings as to future requests for documents by the SEC; and possible additional proceedings and remedies should those undertakings not be adhered to.

 

If the settlement terms are not adhered to or 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 not in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about the proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, United States-listed companies and the market price of our ordinary shares may be adversely affected.

 

If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to the delisting of our ordinary shares from the NYSE or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ordinary shares in the United States.

 

If we grant additional RSUs in the future, our net income could be adversely affected.

 

In February 2011, at our annual general meeting, our shareholders approved an Incentive Plan which has a mandate limit of granting rights to receive ordinary shares not exceeding 10.0% of our issued and outstanding share capital, to directors, officers, employees and/or consultants of GCBC and our subsidiaries. Certain administrative provisions of the Incentive Plan were subsequently amended by our Board of Directors in August 2014. The Incentive Plan is intended to enable the Company to attract, motivate, reward and retain the services of executives, directors and key employees. The Incentive Plan provides for the granting of RSUs, which may vest upon satisfaction of certain conditions set by the Compensation Committee of the Company. During the year ended March 31, 2018, an aggregate of 7,300,000 RSUs were fully vested. Share-based compensation expenses recognized were RMB62.2 million, RMB84.3 million and nil for the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. No RSUs were issued and outstanding as of March 31, 2018 and 2019. If we grant additional RSUs in the future, we could incur significant compensation charges and our net income could be adversely affected.

 

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The Company is subject to cyber security risks and other cyber incidents, including the misappropriation of Company’s information and other breaches of information security which could adversely affect our business and disrupt our operations.

 

In the normal course of conducting business, we collect and store sensitive data on our systems, including intellectual property, personal information of subscribers and employees, and proprietary business information of vendors and business partners.  Despite the security measures we have in place and any additional measures we may implement in the future to safeguard our systems and to mitigate potential security risks, GCBC’s facilities and systems, and those of its third-party service providers, could be vulnerable to cyber security breaches, such as unauthorized access, accidents, employee errors or malfeasance, computer viruses, hackings or other disruptions. Such breach could compromise the security of our data and information technology infrastructure, thereby exposing such information to unauthorized third parties. Techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to information systems, or to sabotage those systems, change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target. We may be required to expend significant capital and other resources to remedy, protect against or alleviate these and related problems, and we may not be able to remedy these problems in a timely manner, or at all. Any disruption of its systems or security breach or event resulting in the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, whether by the Company directly or by its third-party service providers, could damage GCBC’s reputation, result in the incurrence of costs, expose GCBC to the risks of litigation and liability, result in regulatory penalties under laws that protect privacy of personal information, disrupt GCBC’s business or otherwise affect its results of operations.

 

Risks Relating to Operations in China

 

Changes in political, economic and legal developments in China may adversely affect our business.

 

As we derive substantially all of our revenues in China and substantially all of our assets and operations are in China, our continued growth would depend heavily on China’s general economic condition. The Chinese economy has grown significantly in recent years, especially after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, or “WTO”, in 2001. We, however, cannot assure you that the Chinese economy will continue to grow, or that such growth will be steady or in geographic regions or economic sectors to our benefit. A downturn in China’s economic growth or a decline in economic condition may have material adverse effects on our results of operations.

 

Further, we will continue to be affected by the political, social and legal developments of China. Since the late 1970s, the PRC government has introduced a series of economic and political reforms, including measures designed to effectuate the country’s transitioning from a planned economy to a more market-oriented economy. During such economic and political reforms, a comprehensive system of laws was promulgated, including many new laws and regulations seeking to provide general guidance on economic and business practices in China and to regulate foreign investment.

 

In the past twenty years, the growth of the Chinese economy has been uneven across different geographic regions and different economic sectors. In order to stabilize national economic growth, the PRC government adopted a series of macroeconomic policies. These policies include measures that restricted excessive growth and investment in specific sectors of the economy. Also, the PRC government has implemented stimulus responses to the global financial crisis. We cannot predict the future direction of economic reforms or the effects that any such measures may have on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Our revenues are denominated in Renminbi, which is not freely convertible for capital account transactions and may be subject to exchange rate volatility.

 

We are exposed to the risks associated with foreign exchange controls and restrictions in China, as our revenues are primarily denominated in Renminbi, which is currently not freely exchangeable. The PRC government imposes control over the convertibility between Renminbi and foreign currencies. Under the PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments for “current account” transactions, including remittance of foreign currencies for payment of dividends, profit distributions, interest and operation-related expenditures, may be made without prior approval but are subject to procedural requirements. Strict foreign exchange control continues to apply to “capital account” transactions, such as direct foreign investment and foreign currency loans. These capital account transactions must be approved by or registered with the PRC State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or “SAFE” or its authorized local branches. We cannot assure you that we are able to meet all of our foreign currency obligations to remit profits out of China or to fund operations in China.

 

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On August 29, 2008, SAFE promulgated the Circular on the Relevant Operating Issues concerning the Improvement of the Administration of Payment and Settlement of Foreign Currency Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or “Circular 142”. On March 30, 2015, SAFE issued the Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange Concerning Reform of the Administrative Approaches to Settlement of Foreign Exchange Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or “Circular 19”, which became effective on June 1, 2015 and replaced the Circular 142, to regulate the conversion by foreign invested enterprises, or FIEs, of foreign currency into Renminbi by restricting how the converted Renminbi may be used. On June 9, 2016, SAFE issued the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Standardizing the Administrative Provisions on Capital Account Foreign Exchange Settlement, or “Circular 16”, which effected on the date of promulgation and shall prevail in the event of any discrepancy between Circular 19 and Circular 16. Circular 19 and Circular 16 require that Renminbi converted from the foreign exchange earnings under capital account which the voluntary settlement has been applicated by relevant policies (including the foreign currency-dominated capital of a FIE, foreign debts, funds repatriated from overseas listing, etc.) shall be managed under the accounts for FX settlement and pending payment. The expenditure scope of such account includes: expenditure within the business scope, payment of funds for domestic equity investment and Renminbi deposits and so forth. A FIE shall truthfully use its capital by itself within the business scope and shall not, directly or indirectly, use its capital or Renminbi converted from the foreign exchange earnings under capital account for (i) expenditure beyond its business scope or expenditure prohibited by laws or regulations, (ii) investing in securities or financial schemes other than bank guaranteed products unless otherwise provided by relevant laws and regulations, (iii) disbursing loans to unrelated parties unless explicitly permitted under its business scope ; and (iv)the construction or purchase of real estate that is not for self-use (except for the real estate enterprises).Where a FIE, other than a foreign-invested investment company, foreign-invested venture capital enterprise or foreign-invested equity investment enterprise, makes domestic equity investment by transferring its capital in the original currency, it shall obey the current provisions on domestic re-investment. Where such a FIE makes domestic equity investment by its Renminbi conversion, the invested enterprise shall first go through domestic re-investment registration and open a corresponding accounts for FX settlement and pending payment, and the FIE shall thereafter transfer the conversion to the aforesaid account according to the actual amount of investment. In addition, according to the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Foreign Exchange Administration, which became effective on August 5, 2008, the use of foreign exchange or Renminbi conversion may not be changed without authorization. In the future, we may grow our business in part by acquiring additional cord blood banks in China. Compliance with Circular 19 and Circular 16 may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand business.

 

Fluctuation in the value of the Renminbi and of the U.S. dollar may have a material adverse effect on investments in our ordinary shares.

 

Any significant revaluation of the Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on the U.S. dollar equivalent amount of our revenues and financial condition as well as on the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ordinary shares in foreign currency terms. For instance, a decrease in the value of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar could reduce the U.S. dollar equivalent amounts of our financial results, the value of your investment in our ordinary shares and the dividends we may pay in the future, if any, all of which may have a material adverse effect on the prices of our ordinary shares. Any further appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar may result in significant exchange losses as we convert U.S. dollars into Renminbi. As of March 31, 2019, we had cash denominated in U.S. dollars of approximately $4.2 million.

 

Prior to 1994, Renminbi experienced a significant net devaluation against most major currencies, and there was significant volatility in the exchange rate during certain periods. Upon the execution of the unitary managed floating rate system in 1994, the Renminbi was devalued by 50% against the U.S. dollar. Since 1994, the Renminbi to U.S. dollar exchange rate has largely stabilized. On July 21, 2005, the People’s Bank of China announced that the exchange rate of U.S. dollar to Renminbi would be adjusted from $1 to RMB8.27 to $1 to RMB8.11, and it ceased to peg the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar. Instead, the Renminbi would be pegged to a basket of currencies, whose components would be adjusted based on changes in market supply and demand under a set of systematic principles. On September 23, 2005, the PRC government widened the daily trading band for Renminbi against non-U.S. dollar currencies from 1.5% to 3.0% to improve the flexibility of the new foreign exchange system. On June 19, 2010, the People’s Bank of China released a statement indicating that they would “proceed further with reform of RMB exchange rate regime and increase the RMB exchange rate flexibility”. On March 17, 2014, the floating band of Renminbi against U.S. dollar was increased from 1% to 2%. Recently, we have seen Renminbi exchange rate against U.S. dollar stabilizing after a series of administrative control intending to curb the outflow of Renminbi from the PRC. There remains significant international pressure on the PRC government to further liberalize its currency policy, which could result in a further and more significant appreciation or depreciation in the value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar. The Renminbi may be revalued further against the U.S. dollar or other currencies, or may be permitted to enter into a full or limited free float, which may result in an appreciation or depreciation in the value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar or other currencies. Any significant changes regarding the PRC government foreign exchange policy or major revaluation of Renminbi against U.S. dollar or other major currencies may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and our ordinary share price.

 

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China’s legal system is different from those in some other countries.

 

China is a civil law jurisdiction. Under the civil law system, prior court decisions may be cited but do not have binding precedential effect. Although progress has been made in the promulgation of laws and regulations dealing with economic matters, such as corporate organization and governance, foreign investment, commerce, taxation and trade, China’s legal system remains less developed than the legal systems in many other developed countries. Furthermore, because many laws, regulations and legal requirements have been recently adopted, their interpretation and enforcement by the courts and administrative agencies may involve uncertainties. Sometimes, different government departments may have different interpretations. Licenses and permits issued or granted by one government authority may be revoked by a higher government authority at a later time. Government authorities may decline to take action against operators of the unlicensed cord blood banks which may work to the disadvantage of operators of the licensed cord blood banks, including us. The PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules (some of which may not be published on a timely manner or at all) that may have a retroactive effect. We may not aware of our violation of these policies and rules until the time after the violation. Changes in China’s legal and regulatory framework, the promulgation of new laws and possible conflicts between national and provincial regulations may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, any litigation in China may result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention.

 

PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident shareholders to personal liability and limit our ability to inject capital into the PRC subsidiaries, limiting our subsidiaries’ ability to distribute profits to us or otherwise adversely affect us.

 

SAFE issued the Notice on Issues Relating to the Administration of Foreign Exchange in Fund-raising and Reverse Investment Activities of Domestic Residents Conducted via Offshore Special Purpose Companies, or “Notice 75”, on October 21, 2005, which became effective as of November 1, 2005 and the operating procedures in May 2007.

 

In July 2014, SAFE issued the Circular on Issues Relating to the Administration of Foreign Exchange in Overseas Investment and Financing and Reverse Investment Activities of Domestic Residents Conducted via Special Purpose Companies, or “Circular 37”, which superseded Notice 75. According to Circular 37, PRC residents (including PRC institutions and individuals) shall, among other things, (i) register with the local SAFE branch regarding offshore enterprises they, for purpose of financing or/and investment,  directly established or indirectly control using assets and interests in onshore enterprises or offshore assets or interests they legally possess (“Special Purpose Vehicle”); (ii) amend registration regarding changes in the Special Purpose Vehicle, including the basic information of the Special Purpose Vehicle, and material changes such as the increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC individuals, equity transfer or exchange, merger or division; (iii) amend registration or deregister where, as a result of equity transfer, bankruptcy, dissolution, liquidation, expiration of business term, change of personal identity and etc., PRC individuals no longer possess rights and interests in the Special Purpose Vehicles, or where filings are no longer required.

 

Under Circular 37, failure to comply with the registration requirements will result in administrative penalties under Administrative Regulations on the Foreign Exchange of PRC. To the extent possible, we urge our PRC shareholders to make necessary registrations as required under Circular 37, however, it is unclear how it will be interpreted and implemented by the local branches of SAFE. Therefore, we cannot assure you that all relevant shareholders have made or will make and obtain all registrations required. In addition, under Circular 37, registrations are prerequisites for conducting subsequent businesses. Therefore, the inflow and outflow of funds and the settlement of foreign exchange will be limited should any PRC shareholder fail to make such registration.

 

On November 19, 2012, the SAFE issued the Notice on Further Improving and Adjusting Foreign Exchange Administration Policies on Direct Investment, or the “Notice 59” (which had been revised pursuant to the Notice of the SAFE on Repealing and Revising the Normative Documents concerning the Reform for Registered Capital Registration System promulgated on May 4, 2015 and taken effect from May 4, 2015). The Operating Rules for Foreign Issues with Regard to Direct Investment under Capital Account, or the “Operating Instruction”, an appendix to Notice 59, provides in detail the procedures, required documents and review standard of foreign exchange registration and reverse investment by domestic residents through offshore special purpose vehicles, or “SPVs”, owned or controlled by domestic residents. According to the Operating Instruction, domestic resident individuals shall register with the local SAFE branch where the assets or equities of their domestic enterprises are located. When assets or equity interests of domestic enterprises are located in different areas, such domestic residents shall select a SAFE branch office in the area, where one of the primary domestic enterprises is located, to comprehensively register with. Domestic resident individuals may establish SPVs overseas prior to the registration, however, such SPVs are not allowed to raise funds outbound, change equity interests or engage in reverse investment activity or make other substantial changes in capital or equity interests prior to the completion of the registration. Whenever SPVs change in financing matters, an alteration registration shall be made within 30 working days upon the receipt of the first batch of raised funds. The raised funds without alteration registration shall not be called back and utilized in the form of investment or foreign loan.

 

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On February 13, 2015, SAFE released the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving Policies for the Foreign Exchange Administration of Direct Investment (the “Circular 13”), which became effective on June 1, 2015. According to Circular 13, local banks shall examine and handle foreign exchange registration for overseas direct investment, including the initial foreign exchange registration and amendment registration under Circular 37.

 

To date, we have not received any communications from, or had contact with, the PRC government with respect to SAFE Rules. Neither do we have information regarding whether our shareholders who may be subject to SAFE Rules have made necessary applications, filings and amendments as required under SAFE Rules. However, to the extent possible, we urge our shareholders and beneficial owners who may be subject to SAFE Rules to make the necessary applications, filings and amendments as required under SAFE Rules. However, we cannot provide any assurance that all of our shareholders and beneficial owners who may be PRC residents will comply with our request to make or obtain any applicable registrations or comply with other requirements required by SAFE Rules. The failure or inability of our PRC resident shareholders or beneficial owners to make any required registrations or comply with other requirements may subject such shareholders or beneficial owners to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into or provide loans, including cash of GCBC, to our PRC subsidiaries, limit the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends or otherwise distribute profits to us, or otherwise adversely affect us.

 

In January 2007, SAFE promulgated the Detailed Rules for the Implementation of the Measures for the Administration of Individual Foreign Exchange, and the Operating Rules on the Foreign Exchange Administration of the Evolvement of Domestic Individuals in the Employee Stock Ownership Plans and Share Option Schemes of Overseas Listed Companies, or “Circular 78”. Circular 78 has then been superseded by the Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Issues concerning the Administration of Foreign Exchange Used for Domestic Individuals’ Participation in Equity Incentive Plans of Overseas Listed Companies, or “Circular 7”, which became effective from February 15, 2012. Under Circular 7, domestic individuals who participate in equity incentive plans of an overseas listed company shall, through the domestic company to which the said company is affiliated, collectively entrust a domestic agency to handle regarding issues and entrust an overseas institution to process the exercise of options, purchase and sale of corresponding stocks or equity, and transfer of proceeds. The domestic agency shall go through the foreign exchange registration procedures with the local office of the SAFE at the place where it is located for all individuals participating in the equity incentive plans and shall submit certain forms to the local office of the SAFE periodically to report and declare such plans. Moreover, any substantial or material change and termination or expiration of the equity incentive plans shall be reported to the local office of the SAFE by the domestic agency within time limitation. In respect of all the proceeds obtained by such employees from the overseas listed company through the equity incentive plans, the domestic agency may convert such proceeds into RMB for all the individuals with the bank and then transfer the proceeds obtained from such conversion to the respective domestic RMB accounts of the domestic individuals.

 

To implement the GCBC Incentive Plan, GCBC established The Magnum Opus International Trust (the “Trust”); and according to the Incentive Plan, the trustee, Magnum Trustee, subscribed a total of 7,080,000 shares for facilitating the grant and vesting of incentive RSUs and hold such shares for the benefit of such executives, directors and key employees as a class. During the year ended March 31, 2018, all the 7,080,000 RSUs granted and deposited in the Trust were fully vested. The form and structure of the Incentive Plan is not the same with the equity incentive plans under Circular 7, therefore we did not go through the procedures required by Circular 7. However, we cannot assure you that the arrangement of the Incentive Plan will not be identified by relevant authorities as an equity incentive plan under Circular 7, and thus that the procedures required by Circular 7 are applicable. Under such circumstance, we will incur costs to fulfill the procedural requirements, and may also be subject to regulatory measures and administrative sanctions, including, but not limited to fines, imposed by SAFE and its local branches.

 

The discontinuation of any preferential tax treatment currently available to us and the increase in the enterprise income tax in the PRC could in each case result in a decrease in our profits and materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

Prior to January 1, 2008, the basic enterprise income tax rate for foreign invested enterprises in the PRC was 33.0% , while the PRC government provided various incentives, including reduced tax rates, to foreign-invested enterprises established in a national level economic and technological development zone. Jiachenhong is registered and operating in a national level economic and technological development zone, and was entitled to a preferential enterprise income tax rate of 15.0%. In addition, Jiachenhong qualified for a tax holiday during which it was entitled to an exemption from enterprise income tax for two years commencing from its first profit-making year of operation and a 50% reduction of enterprise income tax for the following three years. In connection therewith, Jiachenhong was fully exempt from income tax in each of the years ended December 31, 2004 and 2005 and had been subject to enterprise income tax at a reduced rate of 7.5% since the year ended December 31, 2006. The tax holiday expired on December 31, 2008.

 

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On March 16, 2007, the National People’s Congress approved and promulgated a new tax law, the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or “EIT Law”, which took effect on January 1, 2008 and subsequently revised on February 24, 2017 and December 29, 2018. Under the EIT Law, foreign-invested enterprises and domestic companies are subject to a uniform tax rate of 25%. On December 26, 2007, the State Council issued the Notice of the State Council Concerning Implementation of Transitional Rules for Enterprise Income Tax Incentives, or “Circular 39”. Based on Circular 39, enterprises that enjoyed a preferential tax rate of 15% in accordance with previous laws, regulations and relevant regulatory documents are eligible for a graduated rate increase to 25% over a five-year transition period beginning January 1, 2008. For those enterprises which currently enjoy tax holidays, such tax holidays will continue until their expiration in accordance with previous tax laws, regulations and relevant regulatory documents. While the EIT Law equalizes the tax rates for foreign-invested enterprises and domestic companies, preferential tax treatment would continue to be given to companies in certain encouraged sectors and to those classified as HNTE enjoying special support from the government. Additionally, a company which may be concurrently eligible for both preferential treatment to be granted during the transition period and the tax incentives as provided in EIT Law and its implementing rules shall elect the most preferential treatment but it can only elect one tax treatment. Once elected, the company cannot make further changes. Following the effectiveness of the EIT Law, the effective tax rate of Jiachenhong had increased but subject to the eligibility for preferential treatment.

 

On August 31, 2007, the Ministry of Finance (the “MOF”) and the State Administration of Taxation (the “SAT”) promulgated the Notice Regarding the Issue on Application of Tax Laws by Enterprises, which was then abolished on February 21, 2011. In accordance with such notice, starting from January 1, 2008, enterprises established and registered during the period from March 17, 2007 to December 31, 2007 are required to pay enterprise income taxes at a rate of 25%. Since Nuoya was restructured as a foreign invested enterprise on August 17, 2007, a date that falls within the period from March 17, 2007 to December 31, 2007, Nuoya was deemed as established during that period and was required to pay enterprise income tax at a rate of 25% starting from January 1, 2008. Prior to January 1, 2008, Nuoya was subject to enterprise income tax at the standard rate of 33%.

 

On April 14, 2008, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the MOF and the SAT jointly promulgated the Administrative Measures for Determination of High-tech Enterprises, or the “Measures for Determination”, and the annex thereto (i.e. the High and New Technology Fields under the Key Support from the State). Under the Measures for Determination, the “high-tech enterprises” as mentioned in such Measures refer to the resident enterprises in sectors as listed in the High and New Technology Fields under the Key Support from the State, which have been registered for one year or longer within China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions), have incessantly devoted to the research and development as well as transformation of technological achievements, have formed their own independent core intellectual property rights and are carrying out business activities on such basis. On June 22, 2016, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the MOF and the SAT issued the Notice of Revision and Promulgation of the Guidelines for Determination and Administration of High-tech Enterprises (the “Guidelines”) which retroactively effected and replaced the Notice of Promulgation of the Guidelines for Determination and Administration of High-tech Enterprises, promulgated on July 8, 2008. Based on the Guidelines, the qualification for the enterprises were classified as high-tech enterprises prior to January 1, 2016, in accordance with previous Guidelines shall remain valid if the validity period of their qualification has not expired. For high-tech enterprises which were granted tax exemption and reduction treatment for a certain period by relevant tax law under previous Guidelines and whose tax holiday has not expired, the above-mentioned stipulations of Circular 39 shall continue to apply.

 

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Jiachenhong’s renewed HNTE certificate was dated October 30, 2014 and was approved by the relevant PRC tax authority in January 2015. Such status was valid retroactively as of January 1, 2014 and expired on December 31, 2016. As a result, Jiachenhong was subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. Jiachenhong’s HNTE status was redetermined by the relevant PRC tax authority in February 2018 and the renewed HNTE certificate was dated October 25, 2017 with a validity of 3 years. Such status is valid retroactively as of January 1, 2017 and will expire on December 31, 2019, and Jiachenhong is subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. Nuoya’s HNTE certificate was dated November 30, 2016 and was approved by the relevant PRC tax authority in March 2017. Such status was valid retroactively as of January 1, 2016 and expired on December 31, 2018. As a result, Nuoya was subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. Nuoya is in the process of reapplication for its HNTE certificate which, upon approved, will entitle it to the preferential income tax rate of 15% from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021. Lukou’s HNTE certificate was dated September 17, 2015 and was approved by the relevant PRC tax authority in January 2016. Such status was valid retroactively as of January 1, 2015 and expired on December 31, 2017. As a result, Lukou was subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. Lukou’s HNTE status was redetermined by the relevant PRC tax authority in March 2019 and the renewed HNTE certificate was dated November 30, 2018 with a validity of 3 years. Such status is valid retroactively as of January 1, 2018 and will expire on December 31, 2020, and Lukou is subject to a reduced tax rate of 15% during such period. We cannot assure you that Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou will be redetermined as an HNTE and thus continue to enjoy preferential tax treatment upon expiration. Furthermore, because the PRC government may adjust from time to time the encouraged sectors and the specific conditions for determination of high-tech enterprises in response to the development of national economics and technology, we cannot assure you that Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou will have their business operations continuously conform to the applicable conditions for determination of high-tech enterprises published by the government at any time. Once the business we are operating is considered by competent authorities to have substantive differences from the conditions for high-tech enterprise published by the government at that time, our certificates of high-tech enterprise may be revoked, and our position as a high-tech enterprise enjoying certain tax preferential treatment may be lost. Any further legislative changes to the tax regime could further increase the enterprise income tax rate applicable to, or provide for other adverse tax treatments for, our principal subsidiaries in the PRC, the result of which would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. We cannot assure you that Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou will be able to continue to enjoy our current preferential tax treatments.

 

Under the PRC EIT Law, we and/or our non-PRC subsidiaries may be classified as a “resident enterprise” of the PRC. Such classification could result in PRC tax consequences to us, our non-PRC resident enterprise investors and/or our non-PRC subsidiaries.

 

Under the EIT Law, enterprises are classified as resident enterprises and non-resident enterprises. An enterprise established outside of the PRC with “de facto management bodies” within the PRC is considered a “resident enterprise”, meaning that it can be treated in a manner similar to a PRC enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes. The implementing rules of the EIT Law define “de facto management bodies” as the managing bodies that in practice exercise “substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounting, and properties” of the enterprise; however, it remains unclear whether the PRC tax authorities would deem our managing body or the managing body of any of our non-PRC subsidiaries as being located within the PRC. Due to the short history of the EIT Law and lack of applicable legal precedents, the PRC tax authorities determine the PRC tax resident treatment of a non-PRC company on a case-by-case basis.

 

If the PRC tax authorities determine that we are, or any of our non-PRC subsidiaries is, a “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, a number of PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we and/or such subsidiary may be subject to the enterprise income tax at a rate of 25% on our and/or such subsidiary’s worldwide taxable income, as well as PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. Second, under the EIT Law and its implementing rules, dividends paid between “qualified resident enterprises” are exempt from enterprise income tax. As a result, if we and each of our non-PRC subsidiaries are treated as “qualified resident enterprises”, all dividends from our PRC subsidiaries to us (through our non-PRC subsidiaries) should be exempt from PRC tax.

 

If we or any of our non-PRC subsidiaries is determined to be a PRC “non-resident enterprise” and receives dividends from a subsidiary that is determined to be a PRC “resident enterprise” (assuming such dividends were considered sourced within the PRC), such dividends may be subject to a 10% PRC withholding tax. Any such tax on dividends could materially reduce the amount of dividends, if any, we could pay to our investors.

 

If we are determined to be a “resident enterprise” under the EIT Law, this could result in a situation in which a 10% PRC tax is imposed on dividends we pay to our enterprise (but not individual) investors that are not tax residents of the PRC (“non-resident investors”) and gains derived by them from transferring our ordinary shares, if such income is considered PRC-sourced income by the relevant PRC tax authorities. In such event, we may be required to withhold a 10% PRC tax on any dividends paid to our non-resident investors. Our non-resident investors also may be responsible for paying PRC tax at a rate of 10% on any gain realized from the sale or transfer of our ordinary shares in certain circumstances. We would not, however, have an obligation to withhold PRC tax with respect to such gain under the PRC tax laws.

 

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Moreover, on February 3, 2015, the SAT issued the Announcement on Several Issues concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Transfers of Properties by Non-Resident Enterprises (“Circular 7”, which is partly abrogated in 2017). Pursuant to Circular 7, in the event that nonresidential enterprises indirectly transfer PRC taxable properties (“PRC Taxable Properties”) without reasonable commercial purposes in order to evade PRC enterprise income tax, such indirect transfer will be deemed as a direct transfer of PRC Taxable Properties and, therefore, will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax. Circular 7 provides clearer criteria on how to assess reasonable commercial purposes and allows for safe harbor scenarios applicable to internal group restructurings. In addition, Circular 7 does not apply to situations where (1) the non-resident enterprise transferor obtains income from purchase and sale of equity interests of the same publicly-listed overseas enterprise in a public securities market; or (2) under the circumstance that the non-resident enterprise directly holds and transfers the PRC Taxable Property, income obtained from such transfer could be exempted from enterprise income tax in China in accordance with the applicable provisions of the applicable tax treaty or tax arrangement. Under Circular 7 and subject to the above exceptions, an indirect transfer of PRC Taxable Properties shall be directly deemed as having no reasonable commercial purposes if the following circumstances are satisfied: (i) more than 75% of the value of overseas enterprises’ shares directly or indirectly comes from PRC Taxable Properties; (ii) at any time within one year before the indirect transfer of PRC Taxable Properties, more than 90% the total amount of overseas enterprises’ assets (excluding cash) are directly or indirectly constituted by their investment within the PRC, or within one year before the indirect transfer of PRC Taxable Properties, more than 90% of the overseas enterprises’ income directly or indirectly derive from the PRC; (iii) the overseas enterprises and their controlling enterprises, which directly or indirectly hold PRC Taxable Properties, cannot justify the economic substance of the corporate structure; and (iv) overseas tax payment regarding indirect transfer of PRC Taxable Properties is lower than PRC tax payment regarding direct transfer of PRC Taxable Properties. Circular 7 also brings uncertainties to the offshore transferor and transferee of the indirect transfer of PRC Taxable Properties as they have to make self-assessment on whether the transaction should be subject to PRC tax and to file or withhold the PRC tax accordingly. On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or the “ Circular 37”, which came into effect on December 1, 2017. Circular 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of non-resident enterprise income tax. Pursuant to Circular 7 and Circular 37, both the transferor and the transferee may be subject to penalties under PRC tax laws if the transferee fails to withhold the taxes and the transferor fails to file the taxes.

 

As a result, where non-resident investors were involved in our private equity financing or share transfer of our company between two or more offshore parties, if such transactions were determined by the tax authorities as  lack of reasonable commercial purpose, we and our non-resident investors may become at risk of being taxed under SAT Circular 7 and Circular 37, and may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with SAT Circular 7 and Circular 37 or to establish that we/our non-resident investors should not be taxed under SAT Circular 7 and Circular 37, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

If any PRC tax applies to a non-resident investor, the non-resident investor may be entitled to a reduced rate of PRC tax under an applicable income tax treaty and/or a deduction for such PRC tax against such investor’s domestic taxable income or a foreign tax credit in respect of such PRC tax against such investor’s domestic income tax liability (subject to applicable conditions and limitations). Investors should consult their own tax advisors regarding the applicability of any such taxes, the effects of any applicable income tax treaties, and any available deductions or foreign tax credits.

 

Changes in PRC government policy on foreign investment in China may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Our subsidiaries in Beijing and Guangdong are foreign investment enterprises. As we conduct a significant portion of our businesses through foreign investment enterprises in the PRC, we are subject to restrictions on foreign investment policies imposed by the PRC law from time to time. If we cannot obtain approval from relevant authorities to engage in businesses that become restricted or prohibited for foreign investors, we may be forced to sell or restructure the businesses that have become restricted or prohibited for foreign investment. If we are forced to adjust our business portfolio as a result of changes in government policy on foreign investment, our business, financial condition and results of operations would likely be materially adversely affected. Our subsidiary, Lukou, of which 90% equity interest is held by our subsidiary, Jiachenhong, is a re-investment of foreign invested enterprises, and may be subject to restrictions on foreign investment policies equally.

 

Changes in PRC laws and regulations on labor and employee benefits may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

As we conduct a significant portion of our business through our subsidiaries in China, we are subject to PRC laws and regulations on labor and employee benefits. In recent years, the PRC government has implemented policies to strengthen the protection of employees and obligate employers to provide more benefits to their employees. In addition, an employment contract law came into effect in China on January 1, 2008. The PRC employment contract law and related legislations require more benefits to be provided to employees, such as an increase in pay or compensation for termination of employment contracts. As a result, we expect to incur higher labor costs, which would have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.

 

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Our management capability is confronted with challenges due to requirements by PRC government in relation to protection of personal information.

 

In February 2009, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Criminal Law Amendment (7) (“Amendment (7)”), which, among other things, provides that any government, financial institutions, telecommunications organizations, or transportation, education, health care institutions or similar institutions or their employees who illegally sell or provide personal information which is obtained in the process of performing their duties would constitute a crime. The aforementioned clause was replaced by relevant clause in Criminal Law Amendment (IX) (“Amendment (IX)”) promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on August 29, 2015. According to Amendment (IX), selling or providing, in violation of relevant provisions of the State law, citizens’ personal information would constitute a crime. Amendment (IX) came into effect on November 1, 2015. In the ordinary operations of our company, we have the opportunity to contact, obtain or be exposed to personal information of our subscribers and their close relatives. If we, our business partners or some of our employees are found to violate the criminal law by illegally providing or selling our subscribers’ private information, we will be confronted with lawsuit and our reputation will be ruined. Therefore, we may have to devote more resources and management efforts to reinforce our internal control system to ensure that our subscriber’s individual information will not be illegally disclosed. In spite of this, our subscribers’ information may also be unexpectedly disclosed, and in some cases, we may, based on due reasons and through lawful channels, provide our subscribers’ information to a third person. There is no assurance whether such person would not violate Amendment (IX), and use the information it receives from us in the agreed manners. The law does not provide clearly whether we will be prosecuted or will be required to bear other legal responsibilities in the event the person who receives personal information from us abuses such information. There is a possibility that we will be claimed by our subscribers for our failure in protecting their private information and such claim may be supported by the court. We may also be subject to investigation from criminal judiciary or even criminal penalties. Our corporate image may, as a result, also be materially adversely affected in such circumstances, which in turn may affect our ability to recruit new clients and our financial performance.

 

Risks to our Shareholders

 

There can be no assurance that any agreement will be executed with respect to the proposal made by Cordlife Singapore, or that this or any other transaction will be approved or consummated. The absence of a definitive offer to acquire our ordinary shares would likely have an effect on the market price of our ordinary shares.

 

On June 4, 2019, our Board of Directors received a non-binding proposal letter from Cordlife Singapore, pursuant to which Cordlife Singapore proposed to combine the businesses of Cordlife Singapore and the Company, by way of a statutory merger. Cordlife Singapore would issue approximately 2.5 billion ordinary shares at an issue price of SGD0.5 per ordinary share in exchange for all of the outstanding ordinary shares of the Company at $7.50 per ordinary share (the “CGL Proposal”).

 

On June 5, 2019, our Board of Directors formed a special committee of independent directors, consisting of Mr. Mark D. Chen, Ms. Jennifer J. Weng and Dr. Ken Lu, who are not affiliated with Cordlife Singapore, to evaluate the CGL Proposal. The special committee’s process is ongoing and the special committee intends to continue with its work, including evaluating the CGL Proposal as well as other proposals which the Company may receive, for as long as the special committee, in consultation with its advisors, deems necessary. As of the date of this report, no decisions have been made by the special committee with respect to the Company’s response to the CGL Proposal.

 

The public announcement of the CGL Proposal affected the Company’s stock price. There can be no assurance that any definitive agreement will be executed with respect to the CGL Proposal or that this or any other transaction will be approved or consummated. The absence of a definitive offer to acquire our ordinary shares, or changes in the proposal, as well as the potential commencement of the litigation regarding the CGL Proposal as described in “Information on the Company — Business Overview — Legal Proceedings” herein, would likely have an effect on the market price of our ordinary shares.

 

We are the subject of a pending lawsuit, which could affect our ability to enter into definitive agreements regarding the CGL Proposal or could otherwise have a material adverse effect on us.

 

On or about June 26, 2019, an originating summons was filed In the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, Financial Services Division naming the Company and certain directors thereof in connection with the CGL Proposal. The proceeding is captioned Jayhawk Capital Management, L.L.C., JHMS Fund, LLC and Kent C. McCarthy v. Global Cord Blood Corporation, Mark D. Chen, Jennifer Weng and Ken Lu, FSD Cause No. 122 of 2019 (RMJ), and challenges the CGL Proposal and alleges, among other things, that the consideration to be paid in such proposal is inadequate, as is the process by which the proposal is being evaluated due to the alleged lack of independence of certain members of the Special Committee. The proceeding seeks, among other relief, to enjoin defendants from consummating the CGL Proposal and to direct defendants to revoke the appointment of such members of the Special Committee. The summonses have been served on the Company and an initial hearing in the case was held on July 17, 2019. During the said hearing, the Court adjourned the plaintiffs’ application for interlocutory reliefs in view of certain undertakings to be provided by the defendants and ordered that the parties shall endeavour to agree to directions for the originating summons.

 

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The Company has reviewed the allegations contained in the summons and believes they are without merit. The Company intends to defend the litigation vigorously. As such, based on the information known to date, the Company does not believe that it is probable that a material judgment against it will result. The Company expects that one of the conditions to the closing of any merger is that no order by a court or other governmental entity shall be in effect that prohibits the consummation of the merger or that makes the consummation of the merger illegal. As such, if the plaintiffs are successful in obtaining an injunction prohibiting the defendants from completing the merger on the agreed-upon terms, then such injunction may prevent the merger from becoming effective, or from becoming effective within the expected timeframe. In addition, our amended memorandum and articles of incorporation require us to indemnify our directors for certain damages and claims, subject to certain limited exceptions. According to such documents, we are obligated to pay for certain costs and expenses of our directors and may be liable for substantial damages, costs and expenses if the plaintiffs prevail. Such litigation could also divert the attention of our management and our resources in general from day-to-day operations.

 

The market price for our ordinary shares may be volatile.

 

The market price for our ordinary shares is likely to be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors including the following:

 

·                  actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly operating results and changes or revisions of our expected results;

 

·                  changes in financial estimates or recommendation by securities research analysts;

 

·                  restatements conforming to the applicable accounting standards;

 

·                  conditions in the markets for cord blood banking service;

 

·                  changes in the economic performance or market valuations of companies specializing in cord blood banking services;

 

·                  announcements by us and our affiliates or our competitors of new products, acquisitions, strategic relationships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

·                  changes in key supplier(s) or the shareholding of our key supplier(s);

 

·                  addition or departure of our shareholders, senior management and key research and development personnel;

 

·                  fluctuations of exchange rates between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar;

 

·                  material litigation or investigation of any kind;

 

·                  changes in market or investors perception toward U.S. listed Chinese companies;

 

·                  change in controlling shareholder;

 

·                  material adverse event in relation to controlling shareholder;

 

·                  unfounded accusations by investors or non-investors about us or other U.S. listed Chinese companies;

 

·                  release or expiry of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding ordinary shares;

 

·                  merger, privatization or acquisition activity;

 

·                  change in business strategy;

 

·                  sales or perceived potential sales of our ordinary shares or instruments convertible into ordinary shares; and

 

·                  announcements relating to the CGL Proposal.

 

In addition, the securities market has from time to time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that are not related to the operating performance of particular companies. These market fluctuations may also have a material adverse effect on the market price of our ordinary shares.

 

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Cayman Islands law may be less protective of shareholder rights than the laws of the U.S. or other jurisdictions.

 

We are registered by way of continuation under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Law, Cap 22 (Law 3 of 1961, as consolidated and revised) of the Cayman Islands (the “Companies Law”) and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against our directors and us, the rights of minority shareholders to institute actions, and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, the latter of which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. Any shareholder of a company may petition the court which may make a winding up order if the court is of the opinion that it is just and equitable that the company should be wound up or, as an alternative to a winding up order, (a) an order regulating the conduct of the company’s affairs in the future, (b) an order requiring the company to refrain from doing or continuing an act complained of by the shareholder petitioner or to do an act which the shareholder petitioner has complained it has omitted to do, (c) an order authorizing civil proceedings to be brought in the name and on behalf of the company by the shareholder petitioner on such terms as the court may direct, or (d) an order providing for the purchase of the shares of any shareholders of the company by other shareholders or by the company itself and, in the case of a purchase by the company itself, a reduction of the company’s capital accordingly. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States.

 

As a result of all of the above, our shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, our directors or principal shareholders than they would as a shareholder of a U.S. company.

 

Your ability to bring an action against us or against our directors and executive officers, or to enforce a judgment against us or them, will be limited.

 

We are not incorporated in the United States. We conduct our business outside the United States, and substantially all of our assets are located outside the United States. Most of our directors and executive officers are non-U.S. citizens/residents, and substantially all of the assets of those persons are located, outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under U.S. securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands or the PRC may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and executive officers. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands or the PRC would (i) recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or our directors or officers predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States; or (ii) entertain original actions brought in the Cayman Islands or the PRC against us or our directors or officers predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States.

 

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ordinary shares may be adversely affected.

 

Our reporting obligations as a public company place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems. We must maintain financial and disclosure control procedures and corporate governance practices that enable us to comply, on a standalone basis, with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related SEC rules. Failure to maintain the necessary controls and procedures would make it difficult to comply with SEC rules and regulations with respect to internal control and financial reporting. We intend to continue to take further actions to continue to improve our internal controls. If we are unable to implement solutions to any weaknesses in our existing internal controls and procedures, or if we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls in the future, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud and investor confidence and the market price of our ordinary shares may be adversely impacted.

 

We have previously instituted changes to our internal controls and management systems to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. We had engaged external Sarbanes-Oxley consultants to advise us on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues and may do so again in the future. Section 404 requires us to perform an evaluation of our internal controls over financial reporting and file annual management assessments of their effectiveness with the SEC. The management assessment to be filed is required to include a certification of our internal controls by our chief executive officer and chief financial officer. In addition to satisfying requirements of Section 404, we may also make improvements to our management information system to computerize certain manual controls, establish a comprehensive procedures manual for U.S. GAAP financial reporting, strengthen our anti-corruption policy and increase the headcount in the accounting and internal audit functions with professional qualifications and experience in accounting and financial reporting under U.S. GAAP.

 

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Our auditors are required to attest to our evaluation of internal controls over financial reporting. Unless we maintain the adequacy of these controls as such standards are modified or amended from time to time, we may not be able to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. As a result, our auditors may be unable to attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting. This could subject us to regulatory scrutiny and result in a loss of public confidence in our management, which could, among other things, adversely affect the price of our ordinary shares and our ability to raise additional capital.

 

We may not be able to pay any dividends on our ordinary shares.

 

Under Cayman Islands law, we may only pay dividends out of our profits or our share premium account subject to our ability to service our debts as they become due in the ordinary course of business. Our ability to pay dividends will therefore depend on our ability to generate sufficient profits. We cannot give any assurance that we will declare dividends of any amounts, at any rate or at all in the future. Although our Board of Directors declared a dividend with respect to the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, future dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors, subject to obtaining all relevant approvals, and will depend upon our results of operations, our cash flows, our financial condition, the payment of cash dividends from our subsidiaries to us, our capital needs, expansion and acquisition opportunities available, regulatory environment, future prospects and other factors that our directors may deem appropriate. You should refer to “Information on the Company — Business Overview — Regulation — Dividend Distributions” in this report for additional information regarding our current dividend policy for additional legal restrictions on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to us.

 

In addition, due to the failure of the Measures for Administration of Blood Stations to define or interpret the terms “non-profit”, “for-profit” or “for the purpose of making a profit” as they relate to our business, we cannot assure you that the PRC government authorities will not request our subsidiaries to use their after-tax profits for their own development and restrict our subsidiaries’ ability to distribute their after-tax profits to us as dividends.

 

We incurred additional costs as a result of being a public company in the United States, which affected our profits.

 

We are subject to the reporting obligations of the SEC, which many consider to be more stringent, rigorous and expensive than operating a privately held company. In particular:

 

·                  We incur costs in order to comply with U.S. corporate governance requirements, including requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as new rules implemented by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or “FINRA”.

 

·                  We incur costs in implementing and verifying internal control procedures as required by section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the rules and regulations thereunder.

 

·                  We are required under U.S. rules and regulations to attract and retain additional independent directors to serve on our Board of Directors. We may encounter difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified independent directors to serve on our Board of Directors and our Audit Committee.

 

If we fail to attract and retain independent directors, we may be subject to SEC enforcement proceedings and delisting by the exchange on which we are listed at the time. The costs incurred to comply with various listing requirements, including but not limited to, U.S. corporate governance compliance related expenses, internal control expense, and directors and officers’ insurance related expenses may continue to increase in the future, and, in turn, will increase our operating expenses and reduce our profit.

 

The sale or availability for sale of substantial amounts of our ordinary shares could adversely affect their market price.

 

Sales of substantial amounts of our ordinary shares (or derivative instruments convertible into our ordinary shares) in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our ordinary shares and could materially impair our future ability to raise capital through offerings of our ordinary shares.

 

Volatility in the price of our ordinary shares may result in shareholder litigation that could in turn result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.

 

The financial markets in the United States and other countries have experienced significant price and volume fluctuations, and market prices of healthcare companies have been and continue to be extremely volatile. Volatility in the price of our ordinary shares may be caused by factors outside our control and may be unrelated or disproportionate to our results of operations. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a public company’s securities, shareholders have frequently instituted securities class action litigation against that company. Litigation of this kind could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.

 

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If we become directly subject to the scrutiny involving U.S. listed Chinese companies, we may have to expend significant resources to investigate and/or defend the matter, which could harm our business operations, stock price and reputation.

 

U.S. public companies that have substantially all of their operations in China have been the subject of intense scrutiny by investors, financial commentators and regulatory agencies. Much of the scrutiny has centered around financial and accounting irregularities and mistakes, a lack of effective internal controls over financial reporting and, in many cases, allegations of fraud. As a result of the scrutiny, the publicly traded stock of many U.S. listed China-based companies that have been the subject of such scrutiny has sharply decreased in value. Many of these companies are now subject to shareholder lawsuits and/or SEC enforcement actions that are conducting internal and/or external investigations into the allegations. If we become the subject of any such scrutiny, whether any allegations are true or not, we may have to expend significant resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend our company. Such investigations or allegations will be costly and time-consuming and distract our management from our business plan and could result in our reputation being harmed and our stock price could decline as a result of such allegations, regardless of the truthfulness of the allegations.

 

ITEM 4.                                                INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A.                                                                                     History and Development of the Company

 

We are a Cayman Islands company registered by way of continuation in the Cayman Islands on June 30, 2009.

 

GCBC, formerly known as CCBC, was formed through a business combination (the “Business Combination”), which involved the merger of Pantheon China Acquisition Corp. (“Pantheon”) with and into Pantheon Arizona Corp. (“Pantheon Arizona”), then a wholly owned subsidiary of Pantheon formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, with Pantheon Arizona surviving the merger (the “Merger”) and the conversion and continuation of Pantheon Arizona’s corporate existence from Arizona to the Cayman Islands (the “Redomestication”). Immediately following the Redomestication, the participating shareholders of approximately 93.94% of the issued and outstanding shares of CCBS completed a share exchange with Pantheon Arizona, and Pantheon Arizona changed its name to CCBC, resulting in CCBS becoming a subsidiary of CCBC and the participating shareholders becoming holders of CCBC’s ordinary shares (the “Share Exchange”). Subsequent to the Share Exchange, CCBC entered into agreements to exchange 3,506,136 newly issued CCBC shares for the remaining 6.06% of the issued and outstanding shares of CCBS on terms substantially similar to those of the Business Combination, resulting in CCBS becoming our wholly owned subsidiary. In connection with the Business Combination, we agreed to issue up to 9,000,000 ordinary share purchase warrants to our management pursuant to a warrant incentive scheme, subject to us achieving certain performance thresholds. Notwithstanding achievement of these thresholds, no warrants were ever issued, and on July 14, 2010 the scheme was cancelled.

 

CCBS was incorporated on January 17, 2008 under the Companies Law to become the direct holding company of CSC Holdings. CCBS has three operating subsidiaries in China: Jiachenhong, Nuoya and Lukou. As of March 31, 2019, CCBS holds an indirect 100.0% interest in each of Jiachenhong and Nuoya and an indirect 90.0% interest in Lukou. In addition, CCBS held an indirect 10.1% equity interest in Cordlife Singapore, a provider of cord blood banking services with operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (as well as brand presence in Myanmar and Vietnam).

 

Immediately following the Business Combination and the share exchange with CCBS’ remaining shareholders, Golden Meditech (a publicly traded company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and its primarily focus is in PRC healthcare industry) owned 46.3% of CCBC’s issued shares through its wholly-owned subsidiary, GM Stem Cells. The participating shareholders of CCBS (excluding Golden Meditech) owned 45.8% of CCBC’s issued shares, the public shareholders owned approximately 0.2% of CCBC’s issued shares, the management team of Pantheon prior to the Business Combination owned 2.0% of CCBC’s issued shares and the CCBC management team owned 5.7% of CCBC’s issued shares.

 

The Business Combination was accounted for in accordance with U.S. GAAP as a capital transaction in substance. Pantheon was treated as the “acquired” company for financial reporting purposes. This determination was primarily based on CCBS comprising the ongoing operations of the combined entity, the senior management of CCBS continued as the senior management of the combined company and CCBS shareholders retaining the majority of voting interests in the combined company. For accounting purposes, the Business Combination was treated as the equivalent of CCBS issuing stock and warrants for the net assets of Pantheon, accompanied by a recapitalization. Operations of the combined entity prior to the Business Combination are those of CCBS. The remaining 6.06% issued and outstanding shares of CCBS not exchanged in the Business Combination were recorded as redeemable non-controlling interest. Upon completion of the share exchange with the remaining 6.06% CCBS shares in August 2009, the carrying amount of such non-controlling interest was adjusted to reflect the change in CCBC’s ownership interest in CCBS. The difference between the fair value of the CCBC shares issued and the amount by which the non-controlling interest is adjusted, together with the transaction costs incurred, was recognized in equity attributable to CCBC.

 

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On November 19, 2009, CCBC was listed on the NYSE with a ticker symbol “CO”. On November 24, 2009, CCBC completed a public offering of 3,305,786 ordinary shares at a public offering price of $6.05 per share. An over-allotment issuance of 495,867 ordinary shares was completed in January 2010. Total gross proceeds raised (including the over-allotment issuance) amounted to $23 million. The proceeds were used for the expansion into new geographical markets, including applications for new licenses and acquisitions and investments, and for the construction and upgrading of facilities in existing geographical markets.

 

In May 2010, we invested in a 19.9% equity interest in Qilu, the exclusive cord blood banking operator in the Shandong province.

 

In June 2010, we entered into an agreement to underwrite the Cordlife’s rights issue which amounted to AUD11.6 million. On July 4, 2010, we terminated the underwriting agreement and were released from such obligation but continued to participate in the rights issue and took up our share entitlements on a pro-rata basis. The rights issue was completed on July 26, 2010 and we subscribed for 6,841,666 shares of Cordlife at a total cost of approximately AUD2.0 million. Prior to the restructuring of Cordlife, Cordlife was a provider of cord blood banking services with operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. After the restructuring, developing cord blood banking businesses in Indonesia, India and the Philippines were operated under LFC, which was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, while the more mature cord blood banking businesses in Singapore and Hong Kong were operated under Cordlife Singapore, which was listed on the Singapore Exchange on March 29, 2012. After the restructuring of Cordlife, we hold 24,366,666 shares in LFC; Cordlife Singapore was listed on the Singapore Exchange subsequently on March 29, 2012, and we hold 24,366,666 shares in Cordlife Singapore. In June 2013, Cordlife Singapore completed the acquisition of the cord blood and cord tissue banking businesses in Indonesia, India and the Philippines from LFC. After the acquisition, Cordlife Singapore operates cord blood banking businesses in both mature markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong, and developing markets such as Indonesia, India and the Philippines. Cordlife Singapore also acquired Stemlife, a Malaysia-based cord blood banking operator. In December 2013, LFC acquired an unlisted company which engaged in the provision of funeral and related services, and thereafter, LFC’s principal activities changed to the provision of funeral and related services. LFC’s issued share capital was consolidated on the basis that each parcel of three shares held by a shareholder was consolidated into one new share. After the share consolidation, we owned a total of 8,122,222 shares in LFC. In November 2014, we acquired 1,150,000 shares in Cordlife Singapore. In February 2018, we disposed of all of our shares in LFC to liquidate our non-core investment since we had no strategic proposition relating to funeral business. As of March 31, 2019, we owned 25,516,666 shares in Cordlife Singapore, which represents 10.1% equity interest. Our total investment in relation to Cordlife, Cordlife Singapore and LFC combined up to the date of this report amounted to RMB63.7 million, converted into RMB using the currency exchange rate as of March 31, 2019.

 

In September 2010, we announced the execution of a framework agreement to form a non-wholly owned subsidiary, Lukou, with the Zhejiang Provincial Blood Center. The new entity which completed business registration and regulatory approval procedures in February 2011, is 90% owned and controlled by us.

 

In November 2010, we completed a follow-on public offering of 7,000,000 shares at $4.50 per share. Total gross proceeds of $31.5 million raised are being used in building out our Zhejiang operation and for general working capital purposes.

 

In December 2010, we completed a warrant exchange offer to simplify our capital structure, which allowed warrant holders to receive one ordinary share for every eight warrants outstanding. We issued an aggregate of 1,627,518 ordinary shares upon closing of the warrant exchange offer, equal to approximately 2.2% of shares outstanding as of December 10, 2010, in exchange for 13,020,236 warrants. Any remaining warrants outstanding that were not exercised expired on December 13, 2010.

 

On April 27, 2012, we completed the sale of $65 million in aggregate principal amount of 7% senior unsecured convertible notes, which notes were convertible into ordinary shares at a conversion price of $2.838 per share to BCHIL. On August 26, 2015, BCHIL transferred the convertible notes to Excellent China Healthcare Investment Limited (“ECHIL”). On the same day, Magnum Opus 2 International Holdings Limited (“Magnum 2”) acquired from BCHIL the convertible notes through acquisition of all the issued and outstanding shares of ECHIL. On January 4, 2016, Golden Meditech acquired from ECHIL the convertible notes and subsequently transferred the convertible notes to GM Stem Cells. In April 2017, GM Stem Cells converted such convertible notes and we issued 22,903,454 ordinary shares in exchange for the cancellation of the convertible notes.

 

In August 2012, we entered into a share purchase agreement with Cordlife Singapore in which we agreed to sell to Cordlife Singapore, and Cordlife Singapore agreed to purchase, 7,314,015 of our ordinary shares for a total purchase price of approximately $20.8 million. Contemporaneously, CSC South entered into a shares repurchase agreement with Cordlife HK to repurchase the 10% of its shares held by Cordlife HK for approximately $16.8 million. Upon completion of the transactions on November 12, 2012, Nuoya became our indirect wholly owned subsidiary and Cordlife Singapore acquired 7,314,015 of our ordinary shares, representing approximately 10% of our issued ordinary shares as of the closing date. Such 7,314,015 ordinary shares were subsequently acquired by Golden Meditech in November 2015.

 

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On October 3, 2012, we completed the sale of $50 million in aggregate principal amount of 7% senior unsecured convertible notes, which notes are convertible into ordinary shares at a conversion price of $2.838 per share to Golden Meditech. In November 2014, Golden Meditech completed the sale of such convertible note to Cordlife Singapore and Magnum Opus International Holdings Limited (“Magnum Opus”) on a several and not joint basis, each 50% of the convertible notes. In May 2015, Golden Meditech has entered into agreements with Cordlife Singapore and Magnum Opus to purchase the convertible notes. The acquisitions of convertible notes from Cordlife Singapore and Magnum Opus were completed in November and December 2015, respectively, and the convertible notes were subsequently transferred to GM Stem Cells. In April 2017, GM Stem Cells converted such convertible notes and we issued 17,618,040 ordinary shares in exchange for the cancellation of the convertible notes.

 

In December 2012, Favorable Fort entered into a shares purchase agreement with Cordlife Services, pursuant to which Favorable Fort agreed to repurchase the 17% of its outstanding ordinary shares not indirectly owned by CCBC from Cordlife Services for a total purchase price of approximately $8.7 million. Upon completion of the transaction in February 7, 2013, Favorable Fort became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of CCBC and CCBC’s effective equity interest in Qilu increased from 19.9% to 24.0%.

 

Our annual general meeting in February 2011 resolved to adopt an Incentive Plan which has a mandate limit of granting rights to receive ordinary shares not exceeding 10% of our issued and outstanding share capital to directors, officers, employees and/or consultants of GCBC and our subsidiaries. Certain administrative provisions of the Incentive Plan were subsequently amended by our Board of Directors in August 2014. A total of 7,300,000 RSUs were issued and outstanding for each of the fiscal year 2015, 2016 and 2017. During the year ended March 31, 2018, all 7,300,000 RSUs granted were fully vested and no RSUs were issued and outstanding as of March 31, 2018 and 2019.

 

On April 27, 2015, our Board of Directors received a non-binding proposal letter from Golden Meditech, pursuant to which Golden Meditech proposed to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares of the Company not already directly or indirectly owned by Golden Meditech for $6.40 per ordinary share in cash in a “going private” transaction (the “GM Proposal”). On the same day, the Board of Directors formed a special committee of independent directors (the “Special Committee”), consisting of Mr. Mark Chen, Ms. Jennifer Weng and Dr. Ken Lu, who are not affiliated with Golden Meditech, to evaluate the GM Proposal and certain other potential transactions involving the Company. The Special Committee subsequently appointed Houlihan Lokey (China) Limited as its independent financial advisor, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP as its United States legal counsel and Maples & Calder as its Cayman Islands legal counsel to assist in evaluating GM Proposal and the Company’s other alternatives. On April 13, 2017, the Board of Directors of the Company adopted the recommendation of the Special Committee to terminate any further evaluation and negotiation regarding the GM Proposal. In making its recommendation, the Special Committee had taken into account various factors including but not limited to the pending transaction between GM Stem Cells and Nanjing Ying Peng, Nanjing Ying Peng’s future plans regarding the Company after the acquisition is completed and the overall viability of the proposal. The Special Committee’s recommendation was unanimous and the adoption of its recommendation by the full Board of Directors of the Company was unanimous, with the then Chairman Mr. Yuen Kam (our former chairman and director before January 31, 2018) abstaining.

 

On December 30, 2016, GM Stem Cells and Nanjing Ying Peng entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement (the “GM Sale Agreement”), pursuant to which GM Stem Cells agreed to sell to Nanjing Ying Peng the GM Sale Shares, representing approximately 65% equity interest of the Company on a fully diluted basis, for RMB5.764 billion in cash. GM Stem Cells and Nanjing Ying Peng also entered into a profit compensation agreement, pursuant to which GM Stem Cells agreed to provide certain undertakings to Nanjing Ying Peng with respect to the financial performance of the Company for each of the calendar years ending 31 December 2016, 2017 and 2018. The transaction as contemplated under the GM Sale Agreement was consummated on January 31, 2018 and GM Stem Cells ceased to own any shares of the Company. Nanjing Ying Peng, via its subsidiary, became a major shareholder of the Company. Following the entry of Nanjing Ying Peng, its authorized representative of the executive partner, Mr. Ping Xu, was appointed as a director of the Board of Directors of the Company. Simultaneously, Mr. Yuen Kam resigned from his positions as chairman and director of the Board of Directors and as chairman and member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Company, effective as of January 31, 2018. Following Mr. Kam’s resignation, Ms. Ting Zheng, chief executive officer of the Company, was appointed as the chairperson of the Board of Directors and the chairperson of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Mark D. Chen, one of the Company’s existing independent non-executive directors, also joined as a new member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

 

On March 16, 2018, the shareholders approved the change of the Company name from “China Cord Blood Corporation” to “Global Cord Blood Corporation” through an extraordinary general meeting to better reflect the future development direction and business strategy of the Company. The Company’s ordinary shares commenced trading under the new name on the NYSE with effect from March 22, 2018. The Company’s website address is changed to http://www.globalcordbloodcorp.com.

 

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Recent Developments

 

On June 4, 2019, our Board of Directors received a non-binding proposal letter from Cordlife Singapore, pursuant to which Cordlife Singapore proposed to combine the businesses of Cordlife Singapore and the Company, by way of a statutory merger. Cordlife Singapore would issue approximately 2.5 billion ordinary shares at an issue price of SGD0.5 per ordinary share in exchange for all of the outstanding ordinary shares of the Company at $7.5 per ordinary share.

 

On June 5, 2019, a special committee of independent directors, consisting of Mr. Mark D. Chen, Ms. Jennifer J. Weng and Dr. Ken Lu, who are not affiliated with Cordlife Singapore, was formed to evaluate the CGL Proposal. The special committee has been in discussions with Cordlife Singapore regarding the proposed transaction and such discussions are continuing. The special committee’s process is ongoing and the special committee intends to continue with its work, including evaluating the CGL Proposal as well as other proposals which the Company may receive, for as long as the special committee, in consultation with its advisors, deems necessary.

 

On or about June 26, 2019, an originating summons was filed In the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, Financial Services Division naming the Company and certain directors thereof in connection with the CGL Proposal. The proceeding is captioned Jayhawk Capital Management, L.L.C., JHMS Fund, LLC and Kent C. McCarthy v. Global Cord Blood Corporation, Mark D. Chen, Jennifer Weng and Ken Lu, FSD Cause No. 122 of 2019 (RMJ), and challenges the CGL Proposal and alleges, among other things, that the consideration to be paid in such proposal is inadequate, as is the process by which the proposal is being evaluated due to the alleged lack of independence of certain members of the Special Committee. The proceeding seeks, among other relief, to enjoin defendants from consummating the CGL Proposal and to direct defendants to revoke the appointment of such members of the Special Committee. The summonses have been served on the Company and an initial hearing in the case was held on July 17, 2019. During the said hearing, the Court adjourned the plaintiffs’ application for interlocutory reliefs in view of certain undertakings to be provided by the defendants and ordered that the parties shall endeavour to agree to directions for the originating summons. The Company has reviewed the allegations contained in the summons and believes they are without merit. The Company intends to defend the litigation vigorously.

 

As of the date of this report, the special committee is still considering and evaluating the proposal by Cordlife Singapore, but it has not made any decision regarding the CGL Proposal. See “Risk Factors — Risks to our Shareholders — There can be no assurance that any agreement will be executed with respect to the proposal made by Cordlife Singapore, or that this or any other transaction will be approved or consummated. The absence of a definitive offer to acquire our ordinary shares would likely have an effect on the market price of our ordinary shares.”.

 

B.                                    Business Overview

 

Overview

 

We are the leading provider of cord blood banking services in China. We provide cord blood processing and storage services for expectant parents interested in capturing the opportunities made available by evolving medical treatments and technologies such as cord blood transplants. We also preserve cord blood units donated by the public, provide matching services on such donated units and deliver matching units to patients in need of transplants. Our Beijing-based subsidiary, Jiachenhong, was the operator of the first licensed cord blood bank in China. The PRC government only grants one cord blood banking license per province or municipality. According to the Notice on Extension of Time Limit on Planning and Establishment of the Cord Blood Bank published by the NHFPC in December 2015, the NHFPC extended the planning and establishment timetable for cord blood banking and will not grant any new licenses before 2020 in addition to the seven existing cord blood banking licenses. Our operations currently benefit from multiple exclusive cord blood banking licenses issued in China, including our licenses for Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. We also have a 24.0% equity interest in Qilu, the operator of the exclusive licensed cord blood bank in the Shandong province.

 

Our cord blood banking network is the largest in China. The aggregate number of births in our operating regions, namely Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang, was estimated to be over 2.3 million in 2017, accounting for approximately 44% of the total newborn population in the seven provinces and municipalities that have been authorized or issued cord blood banking licenses to date, according to the China Statistical Yearbook 2018. We believe our leading market position and track record of growing our subscriber base positions us well to continue to expand our presence in China. According to the China Statistical Yearbook 2018, the nation has a newborn population of over 17.2 million in 2017; and according to the CIA World Factbook, China had the second largest newborn population in the world. Cord blood banking as a precautionary healthcare measure is still a relatively new concept in China, with penetration rates that we estimate to be approximately 1.2% of China’s overall newborn population. The estimated penetration rate in our operating regions is approximately 3%, 4% and 4% for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (based on the number of new subscriber sign-ups for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 divided by the number of newborns of calendar years ended December 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017 according to the China Statistical Yearbook). We expect the demand for cord blood banking services will continue to grow due to factors such as rapidly rising disposable income in the PRC and increasing public awareness of the benefits of cord blood and hematopoietic stem cell related therapies.

 

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Furthermore, we are also a significant shareholder with 10.1% equity interest (as of March 31, 2019) in Cordlife Singapore, which is listed on the Singapore Exchange and operates cord blood banking businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and the Philippines (as well as brand presence in Myanmar and Vietnam). Such strategic positioning provides us the strategic exposure in attractive markets such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, and strategic presence in mature markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong respectively.

 

We have developed a highly effective sales and marketing platform that has enabled us to consistently grow our cord blood subscriber base in the markets we serve. Our 782-person sales team has direct access to expectant parents through collaboration with 358 hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. We also cooperate with some local government family planning agencies and medical institutions and utilize a variety of marketing programs, including media advertising, seminars and pre-natal classes, to further educate expectant parents on the benefits of cord blood banking. Our accumulated subscriber base has grown from 23,322 in March 2007 to 750,273 in March 2019.

 

We generate substantially all of our revenues from subscription fees. The standard payment arrangement for our services consists of processing fees payable at the time of subscription and storage fees payable by our subscribers on an annual basis for as long as the contracts remain effective, which typically have a contract period of 18 years. The contracts can be terminated early by the parents at each anniversary of the contract or further extended, at the option of the children, after reaching adulthood. This payment structure provides us with a steady stream of recurring revenue and cash flow. For the year ended March 31, 2019, storage fee revenues represented 39.1% of our total revenues.

 

We recorded revenues and net income of RMB986.8 million ($147.0 million) and RMB295.2 million ($44.0 million), respectively, during our fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

 

Our Strengths

 

We are the leading provider of cord blood banking services in China. We believe the following strengths differentiate us from our competitors and enable us to maintain our leadership position:

 

Leading Market Presence.  We are the first and largest cord blood banking operator in China with an exclusive presence in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang, and an investment in Shandong. As of the date of this report, only seven licenses have been authorized in China, and we are the only operator with multiple licensed cord blood banks and the only China operator with a pan-Asian exposure. Amongst cord blood banking operators in China, we have the longest history of delivering cord blood banking services and have established strong brand recognition in delivering quality cord blood banking services, which has allowed us to grow our subscriber base from 23,322 in March 2007 to 750,273 in March 2019. According to the Notice on Extension of Time Limit on Planning and Establishment of the Cord Blood Bank published by the NHFPC in December 2015, the NHFPC extended the planning and establishment timetable for cord blood banking and will not grant any new licenses before 2020 in addition to the seven existing cord blood banking licenses. As the licensing process requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to preserve cord blood for use in stem cell transplants, we believe our familiarity with the regulatory framework, combined with our established track record and reputable brand, gives us a competitive advantage comparing to other PRC operators. Our leadership and track record also make us an attractive strategic partner for license holders and applicants and position us well to continue to grow our leading position.

 

Extensive Hospital Network.  We provide our services through collaboration with 358 hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. Our extensive hospital network provides us with a platform for performing cord blood collection services and allows our 782-person sales force to have direct access to expectant parents. Our focus on building an extensive hospital network by collaborating with hospitals has also contributed to our successful growth. We expect the number of our collaborating hospitals to increase over time, which will help us further penetrate the markets we currently serve.

 

Well-Developed and Effective Marketing Program.  Cord blood banking as a precautionary healthcare measure is a relatively new concept in China. To increase penetration in our existing markets, we have developed a comprehensive marketing program that aims to increase cord blood banking penetration in the markets we operate by educating expectant parents on the benefits of cord blood, including the following:

 

·                  We undertake various joint marketing efforts with our collaborating hospitals such as educational sessions at pre-natal classes, one-on-one discussions with expectant parents, and the assignment of designated staff members to answer questions from expectant parents. To ensure quality services we require these staff members to complete a training program before approaching prospective subscribers.

 

·                  We maintain cooperative relationships with several government agencies to educate the public concerning cord blood banking.

 

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·                  We educate the public on the benefits of cord blood banking through an extensive portfolio of promotional materials, including billboards social media and newsletters that offer information on the importance of cord blood and hematopoietic stem cell therapy.

 

Advanced Infrastructure in Place to Meet Market Demand.   We maintain an advanced infrastructure for the transportation, testing, processing and storage of cord blood and have devoted considerable management and financial resources in upgrading and improving our facilities and supporting infrastructure. Our facilities in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang are equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, storage cylinders, automated monitoring systems and advanced equipment to handle the testing, processing and storage of cord blood. In addition, the cord blood banks operated by our Beijing and Guangdong subsidiaries have been granted the AABB Accreditation with regard to cord blood processing and storage services. With our existing infrastructure in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang, we believe we have the ability to meet increasing market demand.

 

Capable and Experienced Management Team.   Our core management team consists of experienced managers and preeminent medical experts, all of whom have in-depth knowledge and significant experience in one or more emerging healthcare sectors in China. Ms. Ting Zheng, our chairperson and chief executive officer, has over ten years of experience in the field of corporate strategy in China’s healthcare industry. Mr. Albert Chen, our chief financial officer, is a CFA charterholder and has over ten years of experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Ms. Rui Arashiyama, our chief executive officer in the Guangdong and Zhejiang divisions, has over ten years of sales and marketing experiences in China and in-depth knowledge about China’s consumer market and regulatory environment. Ms. Xin Xu, our chief technology officer, has over twenty years of experience in Cryobiology research and lectured Cryobiology at Beijing Medical University. We believe our management’s complementary backgrounds, extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of China’s healthcare sector provide a strong foundation for our future growth.

 

Our Strategies

 

The cord blood banking industry in China is a relatively young industry with attractive opportunities due to China’s large population and continuous economic growth. Our goal is to grow our business and build a reputable, committed, caring and socially responsible healthcare company through the following strategies:

 

Further Penetrate Existing Markets We plan to further increase cord blood banking penetration in our existing markets by broadening our hospital network, expanding our sales and marketing team, and further promoting public understanding of the benefits of cord blood. Over the years, we have successfully expanded our network of collaboration with hospitals and aggregate subscriber base to 358 hospitals and 750,273 subscribers as of March 31, 2019. Our operational track record and in depth understanding of our markets allows us to further increase penetration and grow our existing markets.

 

Acquire the Right to Operate Additional Cord Blood Banks and Invest in Other Cord Blood Banks in China We intend to acquire the right to operate additional cord blood banks and invest in other cord blood banks in China through investments or acquisitions of existing operators of licensed cord blood banks and potential license applicants. We successfully completed the acquisition of a 90% ownership stake in Nuoya, which operates the Guangdong Cord Blood Bank, in May 2007. We further increased our equity interest in Nuoya and it became our wholly owned subsidiary in November 2012. In May 2010, we acquired 19.9% equity interest in Qilu, which operates the Shandong Cord Blood Bank. We further increased our equity interest in Qilu to 24.0% in February 2013. During the year ended March 31, 2011, we established a 90% owned subsidiary, Lukou, which exclusively operates the licensed cord blood bank in the Zhejiang province. We believe that our experience in license acquisition and our track record of growing our subscriber base and hospital network positions us to be the preferred strategic partner for license holders and potential applicants.

 

Expand Overseas Presence We believe there are significant opportunities to expand our cord blood banking services into other attractive markets. We own approximately 10.1% equity interest in Cordlife Singapore (as of March 31, 2019) which is listed on the Singapore Exchange. Cordlife Singapore is the leading cord blood banking operators in Asia, with operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (as well as brand presence in Myanmar and Vietnam), countries or region with approximately 52,000, 63,000, 24.3 million, 4.2 million, 0.6 million and 2.5 million annual births, respectively, according to the CIA World Factbook. We plan to leverage on and further enhance our collaboration with Cordlife Singapore as Cordlife Singapore gives us the exposure and knowledge about the Southeast Asia market. Additionally, we will continue to identify overseas opportunities and gradually expand our presence internationally. We believe our extensive expertise and track record will allow us to successfully become a multi regions operator.

 

Expand Service Portfolio.  Over the years, we had provided cord blood banking services to numerous parents in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. As of March 31, 2019, our accumulated subscriber base has reached 750,273 subscribers. Our subscriber base together with our extensive hospital network positioned us well and gave us a competitive advantage to commercialize other healthcare services in our respective markets. We intend to seek expansion and diversification opportunities by bringing in additional healthcare and therapeutic related services in order to better serve our existing and future subscribers’ medical needs. We intend to diversify our revenue stream by providing additional healthcare and therapeutic related services, which will potentially improve our revenue per subscriber.

 

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Our Revenue Model

 

The payment for our services consists of processing fees payable at the time of subscription or in certain circumstances by installments, depending on the payment option elected by subscribers, and 18 years of storage fees payable by our subscribers by a lump sum payment at the time of subscription or on an annual basis for as long as the contracts remain effective. For further information of our various payment options, please refer to “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — Factors Affecting Our Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Payment Methods for Subscribers”. Our payment structure enables us to enjoy a steady stream of long-term cash inflow. We expect such long-term cash flow to continue to increase as our subscriber base continues to grow. In addition, we generate a small portion of revenue from the fees we charge in providing matching units we collect from public donors to the hospitals for patients who are in need of transplants.

 

Our direct costs (cost of revenues) consist of fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs primarily relate to depreciation of our storage facilities, technical consulting fee for advisory services in relation to our operations and amortization of our operating rights in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces. Variable costs primarily relate to labor and raw material consumption. For the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, depreciation expenses, our most significant fixed cost, accounted for 20.9%, 16.6% and 16.6%, respectively, of our direct costs. Technical consulting fee accounted for 4.9%, 4.3%, and 3.2%, respectively, of our direct costs, and amortization expenses accounted for 3.2%, 2.5% and 2.5%, respectively, of our direct costs.

 

Our Cord Blood Banking Services

 

Our cord blood banking operations primarily consist of our subscription services, which involve the preservation of cord blood for the new born as a precautionary healthcare measure for the benefit of the children and other family members. Our subscription services accounted for 99.4%, 99.2% and 99.1% of our revenues for the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

We have developed hospital networks by entering into collaborative agreements with hospitals located in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang, where we operate licensed cord blood banks. Our collaborating hospitals collect the cord blood of the newborns of our subscribers and we reimburse them handling fees for the collection services performed.

 

Our subscribers are required to enter into a subscription contract with us prior to the birth of their children. The contract provides for the collection of cord blood from their newborns at one of our collaborating hospitals and preservation of the cord blood for an initial storage period up to 18 years. On the 18th anniversary, the child, who will have reached adulthood, will have the exclusive right to decide whether to extend the subscription for our services or to relinquish ownership of his or her cord blood for donation to our banks.

 

Prior to January 1, 2008, we offered our subscribers three payment options: (1) payment of a one-time processing fee of RMB5,000 and a storage fee of approximately RMB500 payable each year for a period up to 18 years; (2) payment of a one-time processing fee of RMB5,000 and an annual storage fee of approximately RMB500 in one lump sum with a discount at 20% on the total storage fees payable over the contract period; and (3) payment of a processing fee at an installment of RMB1,100 at the time of subscription and an annual installment of RMB300 payable each year at each anniversary of the subscription, in which case our subscribers pay an additional amount of RMB1,200 compared to payment options (1) and (2), as well as payment of the storage fee of approximately RMB500 payable each year for a period up to 18 years. Between January 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009, we suspended payment option (2) to our subscribers while we continued to offer payment options (1) and (3) to our subscribers. Starting from February 1, 2009, subscribers can choose to make an upfront payment for 18 years of storage fees but without any discount, together with the one-time processing fee of RMB5,000. On April 1, 2011, we increased such processing fee to RMB5,800.

 

Effective from April 1, 2011, subscribers in Beijing who choose payment option (2) will pay a one-time processing fee of RMB5,800 and an upfront payment for 18 years of storage fees (approximately RMB500 x 18) with no discount. Effective from April 1, 2011, subscribers in Guangdong who choose payment option (2) will pay an upfront payment for 18 years of storage fees (approximately RMB500 x 18) and a one-time processing fee of RMB4,640, representing a 20% discount of the one-time processing fee.

 

Also, effective from April 1, 2011, subscribers in Beijing who choose payment option (3) will pay an initial payment of RMB1,250 at the signing of the contract and an annual payment of RMB350 each year starting from the second year until the end of the eighteenth year, resulting in a surcharge of RMB1,400 to the amount of processing fees payable under the contract. Subscribers in Guangdong who choose payment option (3) between April 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011, will pay the processing fee by four annual installments. The first, second, third and fourth installment payments are RMB1,800, RMB1,700, RMB1,600 and RMB1,200 respectively. This resulted in a surcharge of RMB500 to the amount of processing fees payable under the contract. From July 1, 2011 onward, subscribers in Guangdong who choose to pay processing fee by installments (payment option (3)) will make an initial payment of RMB1,460, follow by four annual payments of RMB1,210 each, representing a surcharge of RMB500 to the amount of processing fees payable under the contract. Subscribers in Beijing and Guangdong choosing this option will also need to pay the storage fee which is approximately RMB500 per annum for a period of 18 years.

 

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Effective from April 1, 2013 in Guangdong and Zhejiang, and from May 1, 2013 in Beijing, the one-time processing fee and annual storage fee are increased to RMB6,800 and approximately RMB860, respectively. Subscribers who choose payment option (2) will pay a one-time processing fee of RMB6,800 and an upfront payment for 18 years of storage fees (approximately RMB602 x 18), representing a discount of approximately RMB4,640 (granted to storage service only) of the total storage fees payable over the contract period.

 

Effective from May 1, 2013, subscribers in Beijing who choose payment option (3) will pay a one-time processing fee of RMB6,800 in two equal installments, with one payment at the time of subscription and the other at the second year of the subscription. The storage fee will be paid commencing on the third year of subscription in subsequent four yearly installments of RMB3,380 each year, representing a discount of RMB1,960 (granted to storage service only) of the total storage fees payable over the contract period.

 

Payment option (3) was not offered to subscribers in Guangdong from April 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013. Effective from July 1, 2013, subscribers in Guangdong who choose payment option (3) will pay an initial payment of RMB1,820 at the signing of the contract and an annual payment of RMB1,420 each year starting from the second year until the end of the fifth year, resulting in a surcharge of RMB700 to the amount of processing fees payable under the contract. An annual storage fee of approximately RMB860 is payable for a period up to 18 years.

 

Starting from January 1, 2014, the annual storage fee payable by subscribers in Beijing who elected payment option (1) or (3) prior to May 1, 2013 increased by RMB35 or to approximately RMB535.

 

Payment option (3) is not offered to subscribers in Zhejiang before August 1, 2018. Effective from August 1, 2018, subscribers in Zhejiang who choose payment option (3) will pay an initial payment of RMB1,900 at the signing of the contract and annual payment of RMB850 each year starting from second year until the end of the eighth year, resulting in a surcharge of RMB1,050 to the amount of processing fees payable under the contract. An annual storage fee of approximately RMB860 is payable for a period up to 18 years.

 

Effective from April 1, 2019, the one-time processing fee is increased to RMB9,800 from RMB6,800, with annual storage fee remains approximately RMB860 payable each year for a period up to 18 years. Subscribers in Beijing who choose payment option (2) will pay a one-time processing fee of RMB9,800 and an upfront payment for 18 years of storage fees (approximately RMB602 x 18), representing a discount of approximately RMB4,640 (granted to storage service only) of the total storage fees payable over the contract period. Subscribers in Guangdong and Zhejiang who choose payment option (2) will pay a one-time processing fee of RMB9,800 and an upfront payment for 18 years of storage fees (approximately RMB436 x 18), representing a discount of approximately RMB7,640 (granted to storage service only) of the total storage fees payable over the contract period. Subscribers in Beijing who choose payment option (3) will pay a one-time processing fee of RMB9,800 in two equal installments, with one payment at the time of subscription and the other at the second year of the subscription. The storage fee will be paid commencing on the third year of subscription in subsequent four yearly installments of RMB3,440 each year, representing a discount of RMB1,720 (granted to storage service only) of the total storage fees payable over the contract period. Subscribers in Guangdong and Zhejiang who choose payment option (3) will pay a processing fee of RMB9,800 in ten equal installments (annual payment of RMB980 from the first year to the tenth year), and an annual storage fee of approximately RMB860 for a period of up to 18 years.

 

In response to changing market dynamics, we do offer some special promotion or discount to subscribers from time to time.

 

In addition, we offer recurring subscribers, medical practitioners, including doctors, nurses or other medical professionals, our services at a discount from time to time. See “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — Factors Affecting Our Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Average Revenue per Subscriber”. We offer one-stop-shop services for our subscribers. Following the signing of the subscription contract, we notify the collaborating hospital chosen by our subscriber so that the hospital can arrange for one of its certified medical practitioners to collect the cord blood of the newborns of our subscribers. The cord blood collected is then transported to our facilities for testing, processing and storage. We act as the custodian of the cord blood stored at our facilities during the term of the subscription contract.

 

Our remaining revenues are derived from matching services we provide and the matching cord blood unit we deliver to the hospitals for patients who are in need of transplants. These services accounted for 0.6%, 0.8% and 0.9% of our revenues for the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

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We accept and preserve cord blood units donated by the general public and have created a database containing information of the human leukocyte antigen profiles and characteristics of the donors on an anonymous basis. We require our donors to deliver their newborns at one of our collaborating hospitals. Another source of donations in the future may be the cord blood of the newborns of our former subscribers who cease subscription for our services at the end of 18 years and the cord blood units stored by our subscribers who fail to pay. We require our employees to fully inform all prospective subscribers of our policy of releasing cord blood units to our cord blood inventory in such circumstances, and our subscribers are required to give their consent to this policy when subscribing for our storage services. In the opinion of our PRC counsel, Commerce & Finance Law Offices, a consent of this nature is valid and enforceable under PRC law. Based on information available to us, treating cord blood units abandoned by former subscribers and releasing such units to cord blood bank inventory available to patients in need of transplants is a common practice followed by cord blood banking operators in China.

 

We search, upon request, for possible matches among the donated cord blood units stored in our cord blood banks and provide one or more matching units to the hospitals for patients who are in need of transplant. We also entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding the collaboration with Cordlife Singapore in which Cordlife Singapore, on behalf of its patients who are in need of cord blood stem cell therapy, can facilitate the process by providing relevant information to us, and we will perform searches for possible matching units among our donated cord blood samples in the PRC. For patients who reside in the PRC, we may seek Cordlife Singapore’s assistance or contacts to source possible cord blood unit matches in the relevant public cord blood registries in the regions such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Further, Jiachenhong is affiliated with AsiaCORD, an international organization for cord blood banking operators in Asia and also works with other cord blood banks to promote the usage of donated cord blood units. Up to the date of this report, there has been no shipment of cord blood units derive from this collaboration.

 

We charge a fee that reflects the costs of our matching services provided and the matching units delivered, as well as for the units used in supplementary therapies. We generally charge a fee of RMB15,000 for providing one matching unit in a cord blood transplant or providing one cord blood unit for supplementary therapies. For the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the number of successful matches found for cord blood transplants among the cord blood units donated by the public and stored at our facilities were 178, 231 and 370, respectively. In addition, during the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, there were 211, 324 and 230 donated units, respectively, used in supplementary therapies.

 

The following tables set forth, for the dates and periods indicated, certain information relating to our cord blood banking services in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang:

 

 

 

For the year ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

New subscriber sign-ups

 

89,438

 

91,820

 

74,976

 

Subscriber units used in medical treatments

 

72

 

31

 

24

 

New subscriber sign-ups (net)

 

89,366

 

91,789

 

74,952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New donations accepted

 

6,233

 

4,759

 

4,214

 

Donated units used in matching services

 

600

 

555

 

389

 

New donations accepted (net)

 

5,633

 

4,204

 

3,825

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

94,999

 

95,993

 

78,777

 

 

 

 

As of March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

Units deposited by subscribers (2)(3)(4)

 

750,273

 

661,618

 

575,040

 

Units contributed by donors (1)(3)

 

67,302

 

60,958

 

51,543

 

Total (1)(2)(4)

 

817,575

 

722,576

 

626,583

 

 


(1)                                     Excludes the matching units used during the relevant periods.

 

(2)                                     As of March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, includes 16,047, 45,931 and 54,917 subscribers respectively, who had been delinquent for over 24 months and we have ceased to recognize storage fee revenue from such delinquent subscribers.

 

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(3)                                     During the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, 74,952, 91,789 and 89,366 new subscribers were recruited and 3,825, 4,204 and 5,633 new donations were accepted. During the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the Company reclassified 4,180, 5,211 and 711 private cord blood units as donated cord blood units after the Company determined that the recoverability of these prior private cord blood banking subscribers was remote. These units are being treated as if they were donated cord blood units and will be part of the Company’s non-current inventories. Hence the units deposited by subscribers and units contributed by donors were 575,040 and 51,543, respectively as of March 31, 2017, 661,618 and 60,958, respectively, as of March 31, 2018 and 750,273 and 67,302, respectively, as of March 31, 2019.

 

(4)                                     Excludes subscriber units used in medical treatments.

 

The tables below indicate the number of donated units matched during each of the last three fiscal years and the accumulated number of matches using donated units as of the end of each such fiscal year:

 

 

 

Units

Donated units used during the year ended March 31, 2017

 

389

Donated units used during the year ended March 31, 2018

 

555

Donated units used during the year ended March 31, 2019

 

600

 

 

 

Units

Accumulated number of matches as of March 31, 2017

 

2,026

Accumulated number of matches as of March 31, 2018

 

2,581

Accumulated number of matches as of March 31, 2019

 

3,181

 

Preservation of Cord Blood

 

Preservation of cord blood consists of the following major steps:

 

·                  Collection.  Our subscribers and donors must give birth to their newborns at one of our collaborating hospitals in order to use our services. We communicate with the hospital to arrange for a certified medical practitioner to work on the case. When our subscribers or donors give birth to the newborn, the practitioner clamps the newborn’s umbilical cord at birth and drains the blood from the cord into specialized container. Although we are not responsible for the collection, we provide a kit that contains the medical apparatus necessary for the collection procedure.

 

·                  Transportation.  After collection, the cord blood is transferred to our cord blood bank within 24 hours in specialized containers where temperature changes can be controlled. If necessary, the cord blood retrieved is stored in a designated refrigeration unit at the maternity ward in the hospital prior to our arrival. We have a team of transportation specialists responsible for the delivery of cord blood units from our collaborating hospitals to our facilities in special containers to ensure the viability of the hematopoietic stem cells during transit. Each cord blood unit is assigned a barcode so that it can be tracked easily throughout processing, storage and restoration.

 

·                  Processing.  Cord blood undergoes processing and separation procedures which ultimately extract the hematopoietic stem cells for subsequent storage. At this stage, cell counts are conducted twice to calculate the cell recovery rate and the amount of nucleated cell, so as to ensure the quality requirements are met.

 

·                  Testing.  We conduct several tests on the cord blood unit to retrieve information that will be essential to its future use in a transplant. Such information includes volume of cord blood collected, number and viability of nucleated cells, sterility, blood type and density of hematopoietic stem cells, commonly known as cell count. We also test the maternal blood sample for infectious diseases, viruses and bacteria.

 

·                  Storage.  After processing and testing, we freeze the cord blood unit in a controlled manner and store the unit using liquid nitrogen. The liquid-nitrogen storage freezer in which the hematopoietic stem cells are stored after their initial processing is equipped with a thermostatic control to ensure storage at minus 196 degrees Celsius. The entire processing and storage of hematopoietic stem cells at our cord blood bank is documented and closely monitored to ensure the integrity of all cord blood units and the veracity of all data.

 

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Sales and Marketing

 

As of March 31, 2019, our total sales force (including after sales support) consists of 782 employees. Their compensation consists of base salary and performance-based bonus assessed on a monthly and quarterly basis. Newly hired sales staffs are required to successfully complete an intensive orientation training lasting for more than two months before approaching target subscribers. They are required to attend continuous on-the-job training and pass periodic performance evaluation.

 

Our hospital networks offer us the platforms where a significant portion of our sales and marketing activities are undertaken. We have established collaborative relationships with 358 hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang as of March 31, 2019.

 

A significant portion of our sales and marketing initiatives are targeted at educating expectant parents on the benefits of cord blood banking services. Our sales and marketing force gives thought to the input and comments they receive from prospective subscribers in promoting our services. Our sales and marketing activities consist primarily of the following:

 

·                  Activities targeting prospective parents.  We maintain our hospital networks which consist of 358 hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. We assign consultants to each hospital with which we collaborate, and the consultant oversees our sales initiatives and directly interacts with the prospective subscribers in that hospital. The arrangement enables us to interact directly with expectant parents, distribute promotional leaflets and marketing materials to expectant parents and their family members, and set up information booths at designated areas where members of our sales team can interact with potential subscribers and answer questions. We also work with various institutions or hospitals to organize pre-natal classes and other events for expectant parents.

 

·                  Education of the medical community.  To increase public awareness of the benefits associated with cord blood banking services, we educate obstetricians, childbirth educators, and hospitals on the benefits of cord blood preservation and offer educational seminars at our premises.

 

·                  Advertising efforts.  Cord blood banking as a precautionary healthcare measure is a relatively new concept in China. Most people are not aware of the medical benefits that hematopoietic stem cells offer for the child as well as the family. We attempt to inform and educate our potential subscribers about these benefits through distributing such information via government agencies whenever possible. To broaden the reach of our services to our target population, we advertise on billboards at hospitals and community centers, publish articles in newspapers, social media and publications, and sponsor government campaigns concerning personal healthcare awareness, such as conferences concerning the medical application of cord blood technology.

 

Raw Material Supplies

 

We require collection kits, liquid nitrogen and test reagents for our operations. Materials and supplies used in our cord blood banking business are mainly from United States and China. We periodically evaluate our terms with our existing raw material suppliers to determine whether we should seek potential suppliers with more favorable commercial terms. But certain materials or supplies may only be sourced from few suppliers in the United States and China. To date, we have not encountered any material shortage or significant price fluctuation that had a material adverse effect on our business.

 

To the extent possible, it is our policy to maintain more than one vendor for major raw materials and consumables supplies in order to diversify our supply source. A significant portion of our raw materials and consumables, however, have been sourced from few major suppliers. The following are purchases from suppliers that individually comprise 10% or more of our gross purchases for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

For the year ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

 

 

$

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

 

 

(in thousands except for percentages)

 

Beijing Jingjing Medical Equipment Co., Ltd. (1)(2)

 

3,538

 

23,741

 

30

 

 

 

 

 

Hangzhou Baitong Biological Technology Co., Ltd. (3)

 

 

 

 

7,670

 

10

 

 

 

China Bright Group Co. Limited (1)(4)

 

 

 

 

18,759

 

24

 

36,405

 

52

 

Beijing Chengmao Xingye Technology Development Co., Ltd. (5)

 

 

 

 

7,711

 

10

 

 

 

Total

 

3,538

 

23,741

 

30

 

34,140

 

44

 

36,405

 

52

 

 


(1)                                    An affiliate of Golden Meditech

 

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(2)                                    The purchases from Beijing Jingjing Medical Equipment Co., Ltd. were less than 10% of our gross purchases for the years ended March 31, 2017 and 2018.

 

(3)                                    The purchases from Hangzhou Baitong Biological Technology Co., Ltd were less than 10% of our gross purchases for the years ended March 31, 2017 and 2019.

 

(4)                                    The purchases from China Bright Group Co. Limited were less than 10% of our gross purchases for the year ended March 31, 2019.

 

(5)                                    The purchases from Beijing Chengmao Xingye Technology Development Co., Ltd. were less than 10% of our gross purchases for the years ended March 31, 2017 and 2019.

 

Cord blood collection services are performed in the same hospitals where our new subscribers give birth. Historically, a significant portion of our cord blood collection services have been performed through a limited number of hospitals but we are increasing the number of hospitals as our operation expands to multiple regions in China. For the year ended March 31, 2019, the top hospital accounted for approximately 2.3% of the total number of cord blood collection procedures performed for our subscribers.

 

Facilities

 

As of March 31, 2019, we maintain facilities in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. The following table sets forth certain information relating to the premises we occupy:

 

Premises

 

Nature of use

 

Terms of use

 

Area
occupied
(in square
meters)

Beijing

 

Laboratories, storage facilities for cord blood units and office space

 

Acquired in November 2006 for a consideration of RMB28.6 million for a term of 40 years.

 

9,600

Guangdong

 

Laboratories, storage facilities for cord blood units and office space

 

Acquired in June 2012 for a consideration of RMB100.0 million for a term of 44 years.

 

14,608

Zhejiang

 

Laboratories, storage facilities for cord blood units and office space

 

Acquired in January 2013 for a consideration of RMB87.3 million for a term of 50 years.

 

5,562

Total

 

 

 

 

 

29,770

 

Our facilities in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang are equipped with an enterprise resource planning system. The system has been customized to monitor our sales performance, testing processes and results for every cord blood unit that come through. The system also keeps real-time record of storage movement within cord blood facilities, handle billing matters and track customer hotline interactions.

 

Quality Assurance

 

Our cord blood banking operations in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang have been accredited with GB/T19001 (equivalent to ISO-9001), which is the national standards for quality control in China. Our Beijing Cord Blood Bank and Guangdong Cord Blood Bank also received the AABB Accreditation with regard to cord blood processing and storage services. Our laboratories in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang comply with the Good Laboratory Practice, or “GLP”, standards.

 

The operating procedures and standards at our facilities comply with relevant regulations and industry standards promulgated by the MOH, NHFPC and NHC for the operation of cord blood banks, including the Standards on Administration of Quality of Blood Bank Laboratory promulgated in May 2006, and the Standard Technique Operation Procedures of Blood Bank (2015) promulgated in December 2015 and being replaced in April 2019, and the Standard Technique Operation Procedures of Blood Bank(2019) promulgated in April 2019 by NHC. We have adopted quality assurance measures to ensure the quality of cord blood units transported, processed and stored by us. In particular, we maintain GLP-certified clean rooms where hematopoietic stem cells are processed prior to storage and later restored for therapeutic use. The information and record system concerning hematopoietic stem cells at our cord blood banks are computerized to ensure the integrity of all cord blood units and the veracity of all related data.

 

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We maintain a comprehensive quality assurance program to ensure that we are in compliance with applicable quality standards. To illustrate, our collaborating hospitals collect the cord blood from the newborns of our subscribers with a collection kit containing the necessary tools and instruments that we prepare in advance. We also take charge of the transportation of the cord blood from the hospitals to our facilities in order to minimize transportation risk. When the cord blood arrives at our facilities, we begin processing and testing, including physical examination, whole blood cell and flow-cytometry counting, cultivation tests and microbe tests such as HIV, bacterial and virus tests. The testing results are verified by our officer in charge. Qualified cord blood units will then undergo a computer-controlled preparatory freezing process through which the cord blood units will be lowered to -90°C prior to cryopreservation. Throughout the process, our staff will monitor and verify that all information in relation to every cord blood unit is properly and accurately documented.

 

For the cord blood units in storage, we conduct random examinations on a routine basis to ensure the stored units are suitable for transplants if needed. In addition, we also conduct routine examinations, including checking the dust level in all GLP certified clean rooms, examining the accuracy of all measuring and testing equipment and testing the ultraviolet light output in each clean room and bacteria and mycosis cultivation in the air. We continuously monitor the temperature level, the humidity level, the air pressure difference among various clean rooms, and the layout of our equipment and apparatuses.

 

We are responsible for quality assurance in connection with our cord blood banking services. In the event that the cord blood stored at our banks are found to be unfit for use in a transplant due to our mishandling or other fault or errors attributable to us, we have agreed under our subscription contract to compensate the subscriber in an amount equal to twice the fees paid by the subscriber. We have procured insurance to cover this liability. See “— Insurance”.

 

Competition

 

To date, only seven cord blood banking licenses have been issued by PRC government authorities. According to the Notice on Extension of Time Limit on Planning and Establishment of the Cord Blood Bank published by the NHFPC in December 2015, the NHFPC extended the planning and establishment timetable for cord blood banking and will not grant any new licenses before 2020 in addition to the seven existing cord blood banking licenses. We are the operator of the sole licensed cord blood bank in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. We also have an investment of 24.0% equity interest in Qilu, the exclusive cord blood banking operator in the Shandong province (our controlling shareholder controls 76.0% of Qilu). The operators of the other three licensed cord blood banks are Zhongyuan Union Cell & Gene Engineering Corp., Ltd. in Tianjin, Shanghai Stem Cell Technology Co., Ltd. in Shanghai and Sichuan Neo-life Stem Cell Biotech Inc. in Sichuan. The NHC has been following a “one license per region” policy, which precludes more than one cord blood banking licensee from operating in the same region.

 

We will seek to expand our geographical coverage by acquiring other licenses or, if available, acquiring or collaborating with potential applicants for licenses in the other regions. Hence, we may need to compete with existing cord blood banking operators as well as other new market entrants for such licenses or acquisitions. These companies may have greater financial resources, stronger marketing capabilities and higher level of technological expertise and quality control standards than us. In addition, we may face competition from foreign-invested cord blood banking service providers in China with longer operating history, greater capital resources, better management and higher level of technological expertise than us.

 

In addition, our ability to compete depends on the efficacy and safety of cord blood transplants compared to other medical treatments and remedies as well as the efficacy and safety of cord blood transplants using the patients’ own cord blood or the cord blood from related family members compared to cord blood from an unrelated public donor.

 

Employees

 

As of March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, we had 1,044, 1,136 and 1,261 full-time employees, respectively. The following table sets forth the number of employees based in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang respectively and categorized by function as of March 31, 2019:

 

 

 

Beijing

 

Guangdong

 

Zhejiang

 

Sales and marketing and after-sales support and services

 

218

 

382

 

182

 

Laboratory function

 

64

 

119

 

51

 

Management and administration

 

87

 

100

 

58

 

Total

 

369

 

601

 

291

 

 

As a committed and socially responsible healthcare company, we believe that people are the most important asset of our business. As a result, we aim to remunerate our employees based on their experience, job requirements and performance. Our compensation package typically consists of the basic salary, discretionary bonuses, share options or restricted share units. Our employees are not represented by any collective bargaining agreement, and we have never experienced a strike. We believe we have been successful in maintaining a harmonious relationship with our employees.

 

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Insurance

 

Currently, we maintain insurance coverage of RMB50.0 million ($7.5 million) to cover our liabilities arising from collection, testing and processing of cord blood units and an additional RMB339.5 million ($50.6 million) in aggregate to cover liabilities arising from storage of donated cord blood units in Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang. We also maintain property insurance policies for facilities, machinery and office equipment for our Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang operations to cover damages from accidents. However, we do not maintain any property insurance policies covering losses due to fire, earthquake, flood and other disasters, nor do we maintain business interruption or cyber security related insurance. Under our insurance policies, the insurance company will provide reimbursement if the cord blood unit of subscriber is destroyed or unfit to use due to our mishandling; provided, however, the payments to which we are entitled in each incident are limited to RMB200,000 ($29,801) per person and RMB10.0 million ($1.5 million) in the aggregate.

 

We have not received any material claims, nor are we aware of any material claims pending or threatened, from our subscribers. Under our subscription contract, the subscriber has agreed to liquidated damages in an amount equal to twice the fees paid by him or her in the event that the cord blood stored at our banks are found to be unfit for use in a transplant due to our mishandling or other fault or errors attributable to us. However, we cannot assure you that a subscriber in such circumstances will not challenge the enforceability of the liquidated damages clause. Some PRC courts and arbitration tribunals in unrelated civil suits have awarded claimants damages in excess of the amount of liquidated damages previously agreed by them in contracts.

 

We believe our insurance coverage is consistent with typical industry practices. However, our business and prospects could nonetheless be adversely affected in the event our insurance coverage is insufficient to cover our losses. See “Key Information — Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover the risks related to our business, and our insurance costs may increase significantly.”

 

Intellectual Property

 

We consider our trademark critical to the success of our business. In this regard, we have completed the trademark registration process and have been licensed by the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People’s Republic of China to use our trademarks (which had been reorganized as the Trademark Office of National Intellectual Property Administration since March 2018) to use our trademarks, as of the date of issuance of this report, we had 89 registered trademarks. We also recognize the need to protect our trademark and will continue to take commercially viable steps to enforce our trademark rights against potential infringers.

 

We acquired certain patented research and development in progress relating to the use of cord blood stem cells in medical treatments. We do not have registered patents for the technologies we use for cord blood collection, testing, processing or storage. These technologies are not trade secrets and are not subject to regulation by administrative laws in China. We are not involved in or threatened with any material claim for infringement of any intellectual property right, either as a claimant or a respondent.

 

Information Technology

 

Our information technology system was developed by an independent third party and tailored to our unique business and operational needs. To ensure our information technology system is capable of handling our constantly evolving business environment and our expanding subscriber base, we retain software developers to maintain and upgrade our system.

 

We maintain close contact with our system developers to ensure our system is capable of handling the increasing amount of data as our subscriber base continues to grow and we continue to build on this platform in order to develop a larger and more comprehensive database and management system nationwide.

 

Research and Development

 

We conducted research and development activities internally. Research and development expense incurred during the years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 amounted to RMB10.4 million, RMB12.7 million and RMB14.7 million ($2.2 million), respectively.

 

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Cooperation with Peking University People’s Hospital

 

In June 2006, Jiachenhong entered into a cooperation agreement on an exclusive basis with Peking University People’s Hospital (“PEKU”) for a term of 20 years. PEKU would assist Jiachenhong to promote the subscription of cord blood banking services to expectant parents at the hospital, provide assistance in examining hereditary diseases, monitor the quality control of the cord blood units collected and provide technical and consulting services to Jiachenhong. In return, PEKU was entitled to an annual advisory fee of RMB2.0 million for providing technical consultancy services. The annual advisory fee was increased to RMB2.6 million since October 2013. In September 2017, Jiachenhong and PEKU renewed the cooperation agreement for a term of 4 years commencing in September 2017. In return for the technical consultancy services provided, PEKU is entitled to an annual advisory fee of RMB3.0 million ($0.4 million).

 

Cooperation with Guangdong Women and Children’s Hospital and Health Institute

 

In November 2009, Nuoya entered into a cooperation agreement on an exclusive basis with Guangdong Women and Children’s Hospital and Health Institute (“GWCH”) for a term of 20 years. GWCH would assist Nuoya to establish distribution networks at the hospital to promote the subscription of cord blood banking services to expectant parents, provide assistance in examining hereditary diseases, monitor the quality control of the cord blood units collected, provide technical and consulting services to Nuoya. In return, GWCH was entitled to an annual advisory fee of RMB2.0 million for providing technical consultancy services. In February 2014, Nuoya and GWCH entered into a supplementary agreement pursuant to which the annual advisory fee increased to RMB3.2 million ($0.5 million) commencing in October 2013.

 

Cooperation with Zhejiang Provincial Blood Center

 

In December 2010, Lukou entered into a cooperation agreement with Zhejiang Provincial Blood Center, pursuant to which Zhejiang Provincial Blood Center would provide assistance in examining hereditary diseases, monitor the quality control of the cord blood units collected, provide technical and consulting services, and provide laboratories and storage facilities to Lukou to support Lukou’s cord blood banking business in the Zhejiang province. In return, Zhejiang Provincial Blood Center is entitled to an advisory fee for providing technical consultancy services and assistances.

 

Investments in LFC and Cordlife Singapore (Cordlife before the restructuring on June 30, 2011)

 

Cordlife was a publicly traded company on the Australian Securities Exchange, with cord blood banking services as its main business line. We acquired 11,730,000 shares of Cordlife for a cash consideration of AUD8.0 million in July 2007 and an additional 5,795,000 shares for a cash consideration of AUD2.4 million for the year ended March 31, 2009. In June 2010, we entered into an agreement to underwrite Cordlife’s rights issue for a total capital raise of AUD11.6 million. On July 4, 2010, we terminated the underwriting agreement and were released from such obligation but continued to participate in the rights issue and took up our share entitlements on a pro-rata basis. The rights issue was completed on July 26, 2010 and we subscribed for 6,841,666 shares of Cordlife at a total cost of AUD2.0 million, satisfied in cash. In June 2011, shareholders of Cordlife approved a capital reduction scheme by way of distribution in specie. The scheme involves a spin-off of Cordlife’s more mature cord blood banking business. The restructuring and distribution in specie were subsequently completed and effective on June 30, 2011. Right after the restructuring, we owned 24,366,666 shares in both LFC and Cordlife Singapore. Cordlife Singapore was subsequently listed on the Singapore Exchange on March 29, 2012. In December 2013, LFC’s issued share capital was consolidated on the basis that each parcel of three shares held by a shareholder was consolidated into one new share. After the share consolidation, we owned a total of 8,122,222 shares in LFC. In November 2014, we acquired 1,150,000 shares in Cordlife Singapore at a consideration of approximately RMB4.6 million. In February 2018, the Company disposed of all of its shares in LFC to liquidate its non-core investment since the Company had no strategic proposition relating to funeral business. As of March 31, 2019, we owned 25,516,666 shares in Cordlife Singapore, which represents 10.1% equity interest. Currently, Cordlife Singapore is a provider of cord blood banking services in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (as well as brand presence in Myanmar and Vietnam).

 

Our investments in Cordlife Singapore are accounted for as investment in equity securities and are stated at fair value in our consolidated balance sheets as of March 31, 2019. Prior to April 1, 2018, remeasurements of fair value are recognized as other comprehensive income or loss, as the case may be, or impairment losses in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income for the corresponding periods to the extent of impairment losses considered to be other-than-temporary. We did not consolidate or account for under the equity method our share of LFC’s or Cordlife Singapore’s operating results and net assets during such period. Having considered the extent of the decline in the fair value of the ordinary shares of LFC, the length of time to which the market value of the shares had been below cost, and the financial condition and near-term prospects of LFC, management concluded that the decline in value on the investment in LFC was other-than-temporary. As a result, impairment loss of RMB2.5 million was recognized in earnings, which was transferred from other comprehensive income, during the year ended March 31, 2017. In February 2018, the Company disposed of all of its shares in LFC. The unrealized loss was recognized in earnings, which was transferred from other comprehensive income, during the year ended March 31, 2018.

 

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Upon the adoption of ASU No. 2016-01 since April 1, 2018, changes in fair value of our investments in Cordlife Singapore was recognized through net income.

 

Investment in Qilu

 

We have invested in a 19.9% equity interest in Qilu, the exclusive cord blood banking operator in the Shandong province for a cash consideration of approximately $20.5 million in May 2010. In December 2012, Favorable Fort entered into a shares purchase agreement with Cordlife Services, pursuant to which Favorable Fort agreed to repurchase the 17.0% of its outstanding ordinary shares not indirectly owned by GCBC from Cordlife Services for a total purchase price of approximately $8.7 million. Upon completion of the transaction in February 2013, Favorable Fort became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of GCBC and GCBC’s effective equity interest in Qilu increased from 19.9% to 24.0% (76.0% owned by our controlling shareholder). Pursuant to the memorandum of Qilu, existing shareholders are entitled to the right of first refusal on future transfers of Qilu equity interest. We do not have any representation on the Board of Directors of Qilu and do not have control or significant influence in Qilu both before and after February 2013. Therefore, we do not consolidate or account for under the equity method our share of Qilu’s operating results and net assets, but recognize the investment at cost minus impairment losses, if any, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for the identical or a similar investment of Qilu. Qilu operates in the Shandong province. Based on China Statistical Yearbook 2018, over 1.7 million babies were born within the Shandong province during 2017.

 

Investment in Lukou

 

In September 2010, we entered into a framework agreement to form an indirect non-wholly owned subsidiary with the Zhejiang Provincial Blood Center. Pursuant to the framework agreement, we then established a non-wholly owned subsidiary, Lukou, and acquired the right to operate the cord blood bank in the Zhejiang province for a cash consideration of $12.5 million during the year ended March 31, 2011. Lukou is 90% owned by us and is the exclusive cord blood banking operator in the Zhejiang province to provide cord blood stem cells collection and storage services for expectant parents as well as preserving cord blood units donated by the public.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

We are not currently a party to any material legal proceedings. From time to time, we may be subject to various claims and legal actions arising in the ordinary course of business or as a result of the CGL Proposal.

 

Our Industry

 

Overview

 

The cord blood banking industry preserves cord blood from childbirth to capture the opportunities made available by evolving medical treatments and technologies such as stem cell transplants. Cord blood is blood contained within the umbilical cord and the placenta which may be collected immediately upon childbirth for the purpose of harvesting stem cells. Stem cells may potentially develop into other cell types in the human body, a unique property known as plasticity. In other words, stem cells have the ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division and differentiate into cells with a defined or specialized function. As stem cells grow and proliferate, the differentiated cells that they generate can replace lost or damaged cells, thereby contributing to the ability to potentially renew and repair lost or damaged tissues in the human body.

 

Due to the ability to develop into different cell types in the human body, stem cells can potentially be used to treat a wide range of diseases. Compared with approximately 210 major types of differentiated cells, couple of major types of stem cells in the human body including:

 

·                  Hematopoietic stem cells.  Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the bone marrow of adults, human blood from an infant’s placenta and umbilical cord, and mobilized peripheral blood. They are the early precursor cells capable of differentiating into blood cells and immune system cells in the body. They also have been shown to have the capability of differentiating into specialized cells of other systems, including neural, endocrine, skeletal, respiratory and cardiac systems, under specific conditions.

 

·                  Mesenchymal stem cells.  Mesenchymal stem cells are found in the bone marrow of adults and are capable of differentiating into musculoskeletal tissues.

 

·                  Neural stem cells.  Neural stem cells are found in the brain tissues of adults and are capable of differentiating into neural tissues.

 

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Cord blood is rich in hematopoietic stem cells. It can be collected by obstetricians or dedicated collection staff after the umbilical cord has been detached from the newborn. The blood sample then undergoes further processing to remove red blood cells and plasma before it can be cryopreserved and stored in refrigerated containers at extremely low temperature. All cellular activities would cease until it is thawed for use in medical treatments.

 

Compared with other medical treatments, transplants using cord blood have a number of distinct benefits. First, while the collection of embryonic stem cells with current technology results in the destruction of the embryo, and the collection of bone marrow stem cells involves a painful medical procedure for the donor, the collection of cord blood stem cells occurs after the umbilical cord is detached from the newborn during the normal course of delivery and causes no discomfort or harm to the baby. Second, cord blood of newborns contains relatively higher concentration of hematopoietic stem cells with superior proliferative capacity compared with hematopoietic stem cells extracted from bone marrow and peripheral blood in adults. Third, due to the relative premature development of the immune system in cord blood samples, hematopoietic stem cells extracted from cord blood allow for transplants with lower immunologic barriers that would otherwise be prohibitive. Fourth, cord blood transplants result in lower incidence of graft-versus-host disease, a situation whereby the donor’s T-cell attacks the recipient tissues after the transplant. Fifth, hematopoietic stem cells from umbilical cord have a higher chance of matching family members.

 

Depending on the source of stem cells, stem cell transplants consist of three types: (i) autologous transplant using the patient’s own stem cells; (ii) allogeneic transplant using stem cells of third parties, such as a family member or an unrelated donor; and (iii) syngeneic transplant using stem cells of an identical twin. Matching of human leukocyte antigen, or “HLA”, a marker used by the immune system to recognize whether particular cells belong to or are foreign to the body, is critical for the success of allogeneic stem cell transplants. HLA tissue types are hereditary. Therefore, the chance of finding a match is higher from a sibling or other family members. Nonetheless, approximately 70% of patients are unable to find a matching unit in the family.

 

Global Cord Blood Banking Industry

 

Cord blood banking industry typically provides two types of services. The first type of services, also known as private cord blood banking services, generally involve collection, testing, processing and storage of cord blood for expectant parents who choose to subscribe for such services for the benefit of their children and other family members. The cord blood unit deposited is available only to the child or a family member when stem cells are needed for a transplant to treat the medical condition of the child or a family member. The second type of services, also known as public cord blood banking services, generally involve collection of cord blood from the parents who intend to donate the cord blood of their newborns. The donated cord blood is subsequently made available for anyone if it is a match for patients in need of stem cell transplants or for medical research. Some cord blood banks only provide private cord blood banking services, others only provide public cord blood banking services and still others provide both. Cord blood banks that only provide public cord blood banking services are typically non-profit organizations. Therefore, revenues generated by cord blood banks that provide private cord blood banking services are the key drivers behind promoting the cord blood banking industry.

 

Global Demand for Cord Blood Banking Services

 

The demand for the global cord blood banking industry is driven by an increasing awareness of the wide range of diseases that stem cells can be used to treat. Improved healthcare has resulted in increased life expectancy with a larger aging population. An aging population has led to a higher rate of disease incidence and increased demand for medical care, including stem cell therapies. Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat over 80 types of diseases. As medical science continues to discover new application of cord blood stem cell therapies, many other diseases could potentially be treated. The expanded application of stem cell transplants is likely to further stimulate the demand for and the growth of cord blood storage worldwide.

 

The demand for cord blood banking services can be measured in terms of penetration rates, which are affected not only by the number of newborns but also by the degree of awareness among expectant parents of the benefits of cord blood stem cell therapies, the value that the parents place on those benefits and the cost of those benefits relative to the parents’ ability to pay. Economic growth generally favors expenditures on precautionary healthcare measures. Sales and marketing activities launched by cord blood banking service providers also stimulate demand by educating expectant parents regarding the availability of these services and the potential benefits to subscribers in terms of keeping their options open for treating future health problems through stem cell therapies.

 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the world has over 7.6 billion in June 2019 and the number of newborns is approximately 136 million worldwide in 2018. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population and number of newborns worldwide will continue to grow.

 

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Global Supply of Cord Blood Banking Services

 

The success of stem cell transplants depends on the availability of stem cell supplies. In response to the increasing utilization of stem cells in medical treatments, cord blood banks have increased in number significantly worldwide to provide the cord blood units necessary for medical treatments. In addition, there are a number of international public cord blood bank programs or organizations such as World Marrow Donor Association, National Marrow Donor Program and the International NetCord Foundation that provide matching units donated by the public to patients in need of transplants worldwide. Certain cord blood banks in the world are affiliated with these organizations. The advantage of affiliation with such international organization is the ability to share the database of genetic profiles of the cord blood units stored at the cord blood banks registered with such international organizations. The sizeable database containing increased number of genetic profiles increases the possibility to find a matching unit for patients in need of transplants.

 

Cord Blood Banking Industry in China

 

Based on historical evidence, we believe that revenue from storing cord blood units in consideration for subscription fees is expected to be the primary driver for the cord blood banking industry in China in the future.

 

Current Market Conditions

 

According to the Notice on Extension of Time Limit on Planning and Establishment of the Cord Blood Bank published by the NHFPC in December 2015, the NHFPC extended the planning and establishment timetable for cord blood banking and will not grant any new licenses before 2020 in addition to the seven existing cord blood banking licenses.

 

Under current PRC government policy, cord blood banks are only permitted to operate in the regions in which they are licensed to operate. Moreover, the application process for a cord blood banking license in China is time-consuming during which time the applicant usually incurs significant initial investments, including costs to apply for a license and construct the facility. For example, in respect of the seven cord blood banking licenses issued by the PRC government authorities to date, it took each applicant several years to obtain a cord blood banking license. This may deter potential cord blood banking operators with fewer financial resources from entering into the cord blood banking industry.

 

Drivers for Future Growth

 

Future demand for the cord blood banking industry in China is expected to be driven mainly by the following factors:

 

·                  Large number of newborns.   According to the China Statistical Yearbook 2018, China had a population of over 1.3 billion persons and over 17.2 million newborns as of and for the year ended December 31, 2017. The large number of newborns in China provides substantial potential for cord blood banking operators in China to grow their subscriber base. Even a single region in China can have a very significant population. Guangdong, with a population of over 111 million people in 2017, has a larger population than many countries in the world, and there are two other regions in China of similar size and even Beijing has a sizable population of over 21 million at the end of 2017.

 

·                  Growth in GDP and urban disposable income and increasing focus on healthcare.   According to the China Statistical Yearbook 2018, GDP per capita in China grew by 6.5%, 7.3% and 10.6% in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. As average disposable income still growing, families are likely to spend an increased proportion of their disposable income on healthcare, including subscriptions for cord blood banking services. According to the China Statistical Yearbook 2018, China’s healthcare expenditures grew from RMB458.7 billion in 2000 to RMB5,259.8 billion in 2017, more than tenfold jump.

 

·                  Increasing public awareness of the benefits associated with cord blood banking services.  Operators of cord blood banks in China focus their sales and marketing efforts in hospitals and pre-natal clinics to increase the public awareness of the benefits associated with cord blood banking by providing potential customers education on cord blood banking procedures and potential benefits. Continuous customer education, increased subscriber base and expanded sales and marketing networks enable the operators to tap into a potentially sizeable market with increased penetration rates and enlarged subscriber base.

 

·                  Additional diseases that stem cells can be used to treat.  Based on publicly available information, cord blood stem cells can be used to treat approximately 80 types of diseases. As stem cell therapy continues to develop in China and elsewhere in the world, medical practitioners are likely to continue to discover additional diseases that can be treated by stem cell therapies.

 

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Regulation

 

We operate our business in China under a legal regime consisting of the State Council, which is the highest authority of the executive branch of the PRC central government, and several ministries and agencies under its authority including:

 

·                  the NHC (formerly known as NHFPC);

 

·                  the State Administration for Market Regulation;

 

·                  the SAFE;

 

·                  the MOC; and

 

·                  the NDRC.

 

The State Council and these ministries and agencies have issued a series of rules that regulate a number of different substantive areas of our business, which are discussed below.

 

PRC Regulation on the Cord Blood Banking Industry

 

The NHC is responsible for the regulation and supervision of cord blood banks in China, including promulgation of rules and regulations in response to the developments in the cord blood banking industry. Cord blood banking is an emerging industry in China. Therefore, the regulatory framework of the cord blood banking industry in China is under development and may not be as fully developed as that in other countries.

 

China adopted the Blood Donation Law in 1997 to prohibit the buying and selling of blood and to establish principles and regulations for the safe handling of blood supplies. In 1999, China adopted the Trial Measures for the Administration of Cord Blood Stem Cells Bank to regulate the establishment and operation of the cord blood banks. In 2001, China adopted the Trial Cord Blood Stem Cells Bank Establishment Guidelines to implement Trial Measures for the Administration of Cord Blood Bank. In 2002, China adopted the Provisional Cord Blood Stem Cells Bank Technical Guidelines, which regulate the way and activities that we handle the cord blood which we process and store. In 2005, the MOH further adopted the Measures for Administration of Blood Stations, or the “Measures” (which had been revised in 2009, 2016 and 2017, respectively), to regulate the operation of blood stations in general. In addition, the DOHs of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shandong have promulgated relevant rules to regulate the operation of blood stations at the province-level. The Measures specify that cord blood banks are special blood stations that are subject to regulation under the Measures.

 

Since the cord blood banking business is relatively new in China and the regulation of this industry is a new subject for the NHC, current PRC laws and regulations on this subject, including the Measures, principally regulate donation of cord blood units by the public and the collection and supply of such units. Current PRC laws and regulations fail to provide a clear, consistent and well-developed regulatory framework for the provision of fee-based commercial cord blood banking services. This presents uncertainties and risks regarding fee-based commercial cord blood banking services in China, including our business, as described in the following five paragraphs.

 

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The Measures define a blood station as a non-profit public-welfare health institution that collects and supplies blood for clinical use. Neither collection nor supply of cord blood from donors may be conducted for the purpose of making a profit. The purchase and sale of donors’ cord blood is also prohibited. The Measures prohibit anyone from collecting or providing cord blood without a valid blood station license. The Measures also state that the government shall not approve a for-profit blood bank. The Measures do not define or interpret the terms “non-profit”, “for-profit” or “for the purpose of making a profit”. Since the effectiveness of the Measures, all of our cord blood banks have obtained blood station licenses from their local DOHs/LHFPCs/LHCs. The Guangdong Cord Blood Bank operated by our subsidiary Nuoya obtained its blood station license from the Guangdong DOH in June 2006. The Zhejiang Cord Blood Bank license was endorsed by Zhejiang DOH in September 2010. The Beijing Cord Blood Bank operated by our subsidiary Jiachenhong, which first obtained a cord blood banking license under the Provisional Cord Blood Bank Establishment and Operation Guidelines in 2002 and then extended that license several times during the course of 2005 and 2006, obtained its blood station license from the Beijing DOH in June 2007. All of our cord blood banks clearly stated to the competent health authorities as part of their license applications that their businesses combined subscription services with matching services. Furthermore, during the application process and after the applications were approved, the competent health authorities have been inspecting and regulating the entire businesses of our cord blood banks, including both for-profit and non-profit services. All the evidence indicates that the NHC and its regional LHCs are aware of the current business practices in the cord blood banking industry in China, which include the fact that the cord blood banks and their operators are providing subscription services for a fee in China and that such operators are companies incorporated in China. Currently, there is no evidence that the competent health authorities have any intention of prohibiting the provision of for-profit subscription services by these cord blood banking operators, or any intention of revoking their licenses, ordering them to terminate their business or cancelling their qualifications based on the fact that they provide for-profit services. Shandong Cord Blood Bank operated by Qilu first obtained the permission from Shandong DOH to commence operation in May 2009.

 

According to answers by the spokesman of the MOH to questions from reporters on February 18, 2008, it appears that the MOH is of the position that operators of licensed cord blood banks are permitted to provide cord blood banking services for a fee. However, to date, neither the NHC nor any LHC has made any formal clarification on how they interpret, administer or enforce current laws and regulations applicable to the cord blood banking industry in China. All of the above present certain risks and uncertainties to our business. In particular, see “Key Information — Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — If PRC regulators order operators of the licensed cord blood banks in China to cease their fee-based commercial cord blood banking operations, our results of operations and liquidity would be materially adversely affected.” and “Key Information — Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — Our business and financial results may be materially adversely affected as a result of regulatory changes in the cord blood banking industry in China.”

 

In 2004, the year before the Measures were adopted in final form but after the Measures were already in effect in provisional form, the Shanghai DOH shut down a cord blood banking operator that had been operating in Shanghai on the grounds that it was operating cord blood collection services without a license. The operator of that cord blood bank sued in court to overturn the administrative decision of the Shanghai DOH, arguing, among other things, that their business was not subject to the provisional Measures. The court ruled to uphold the administrative decision. While court rulings in the Chinese legal system have no precedential authority, we believe that we must maintain and periodically renew our blood station licenses in order to continue operating our cord blood banking business, and that we must continue providing our matching services in order to maintain and periodically renew our blood station licenses.

 

The Measures emphasize the regulation of cord blood bank’s non-profit activities of collecting and storing cord blood from donors as well as supplying cord blood for clinical use, but they fail to provide clear stipulations regarding certain other activities that are frequently carried out in connection with cord blood banking, including cord blood banks’ offering fee-based commercial services of storing cord blood entrusted to them by subscribers for the benefit of those subscribers and not of the general public. As far as we know, all the operations of fee-based commercial services of storing cord blood in China, including without limitation, the operations of Jiachenhong, Nuoya, Lukou and Qilu, all have the same business model and structure.

 

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Our PRC legal counsel, Commerce & Finance Law Offices, is of the opinion that, save for the uncertainty regarding fee-based commercial cord blood banking services in China, including our business, as described in the preceding four paragraphs and this paragraph (i) our cord blood banking business currently complies with current PRC laws and regulations, including without limitation the Measures, applicable to us; and (ii) our business operations do not violate the terms set forth in the blood station licenses of the three cord blood banks operated by us, the Beijing Cord Blood Bank operated by our subsidiary Jiachenhong, the Guangdong Cord Blood Bank operated by our subsidiary Nuoya and the Zhejiang Cord Blood Bank operated by our subsidiary Lukou. To our understanding, Shandong Cord Blood Bank operated by Qilu, also possesses similar business operations, however, we cannot assure you that the PRC government and the competent health authorities will continue their current regulatory practice and not prohibit provision of for-profit subscription services. Among others, due to the failure of the Measures to define or interpret the terms “non-profit”, “for-profit” or “for the purpose of making a profit”, we cannot assure you that the PRC government authorities will not request our subsidiaries or other cord blood banking operators to use their after-tax profits for their own development and restrict our subsidiaries’ ability to distribute their after-tax profits to us as dividends. Further, the PRC government and the competent health authorities may change their regulatory position and prohibit for-profit subscription services, or require that a special or a separate permit, license or authorization be obtained for the provision of such services. In such event, we may have to shut down or suspend our business to apply for the special or a separate permit, license or authorization. We may be subject to administrative penalties and/or claims for operation without a license. There is no assurance that we will be able to obtain the license. We may be forced to shut down our business if the cord blood banks we are operating are unable to obtain the license. Also, there is no assurance that we will be able to operate new licensed cord blood bank to expand our business. If any of the above circumstances occurs, our business, our investment and financial condition would be materially adversely affected.

 

According to a Circular of Guiding Principles for the Planning of Blood Collection and Supply Institutions issued by the MOH on December 16, 2005, only one license shall be issued in any given region, and the licensed cord blood bank is not permitted to set up branches or blood stations outside the designated region in which it is licensed. The application process for a blood station license commences with the applicant’s submission to the DOH/LHFPC/LHC of a written notice concerning its intention to construct and operate a cord blood bank. Upon satisfaction of a series of complex and stringent requirements, the applicant may submit its formal application for a license. The facilities of the applicant will be inspected by the DOH/LHFPC/LHC. As provision of cord blood banking services concerns public health, the DOH/LHFPC/LHC scrutinizes the application and exercises its discretion by taking into account relevant laws and regulations and other considerations such as public health to ensure that the potential licensee is committed to the industry and is capable of providing high-quality services before granting a license. Due to the stringent application requirements, the application process can be quite time-consuming. For example, the Beijing Cord Blood Bank operated by Jiachenhong received its cord blood banking license in September 2002 after a six-year application process, and the Guangdong Cord Blood Bank operated by Nuoya received its blood station license in June 2006 after a seven-year application process.