20-F 1 d373353d20f.htm FORM 20-F Form 20-F
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM
20-F
 
 
 
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022
OR
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ___________ to ___________.
OR
 
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:
001-33602
 
 
HOLLYSYS AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES LTD.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
Not Applicable
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
British Virgin Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
No. 2 Disheng Middle Road,
Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area,
Beijing, P. R. China 100176
(Address of principal executive offices)
Chuan (Arden) XIA, Tel: (86 10) 5898 1386, Email:
xiachuan@hollysys.com
Address: No. 2 Disheng Middle Road, Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area,
Beijing, P.R. China 100176
(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 each exchange on which registered
Ordinary Shares, $0.001 par value per share
 
HOLI
 
The NASDAQ Global Select Market
Preferred Share Purchase Rights
 
N/A
 
The NASDAQ Global Select Market
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
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or ordinary shares as of the close of the period covered by the annual report (June 30, 2022): 61,962,449 ordinary shares.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  ☐  Yes    ☒  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.  ☐  Yes    ☒  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.  ☐  Yes    ☒  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).  ☒  Yes    ☐  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      Accelerated filer     Non-accelerated filer  
           
Emerging growth company                   
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.  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
 
U.S. GAAP  ☒           International Financial Reporting Standards as issued             Other  ☐
            by the International Accounting Standards Board            
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.
☐  Item 17                 ☐  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).
Yes  ☐                 
No  
 
 
 
 

HOLLYSYS AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES LTD.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM
20-F
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2022
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
        
Page
 
PART I
 
ITEM 1.
    
 
5
 
ITEM 2.
    
 
5
 
ITEM 3.
    
 
5
 
ITEM 4.
    
 
40
 
ITEM 4A.
    
 
68
 
ITEM 5.
    
 
69
 
ITEM 6.
    
 
83
 
ITEM 7.
    
 
93
 
ITEM 8.
    
 
93
 
ITEM 9.
    
 
95
 
ITEM 10.
    
 
95
 
ITEM 11.
    
 
108
 
 
1

        
Page
 
ITEM 12.
    
 
109
 
PART II
 
ITEM 13.
    
 
110
 
ITEM 14.
    
 
110
 
ITEM 15.
    
 
110
 
ITEM 16A.
    
 
111
 
ITEM 16B.
    
 
112
 
ITEM 16C.
    
 
112
 
ITEM 16D.
    
 
112
 
ITEM 16E.
    
 
112
 
ITEM 16F.
    
 
113
 
ITEM 16G.
    
 
114
 
ITEM 16H.
    
 
114
 
ITEM 16I.
    
 
114
 
PART III
 
ITEM 17.
    
 
115
 
 
2

        
Page
 
ITEM 18.
    
 
115
 
ITEM 19.
    
 
115
 
 
3

USE OF CERTAIN DEFINED TERMS
Except as otherwise indicated by the context, references in this annual report to:
 
   
“Hollysys,” “we,” “us,” or “our,” and the “Company,” refer to the combined business of Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd., a BVI company, and its consolidated subsidiaries, HI, HAP, HAIP, PTHAI, Bond Group, Concord Group, CSHK, GTH, Clear Mind, World Hope, Helitong, Hollysys Group, Hangzhou Hollysys, Hangzhou System, Hollysys Industrial Software, Beijing Hollysys, Hollysys Electronics, Xi’an Hollysys, Hollysys Investment, HollySys Smart Energy, Shandong Lukang, Xuzhou HollySys, Hollysys Intelligent, HollySys System Integration, HollySys Control, HollySys Education, Xiamen HollySys, and Chengdu HollySys Transportation;
 
   
“HI” refers to Hollysys International Pte. Limited, a Singapore company;
 
   
“HAP” refers to Hollysys (Asia Pacific) Pte. Limited, a Singapore company;
 
   
“HAIP” refers to Hollysys Automation India Private Limited, an India Company;
 
   
“Bond Group” refers to a group of our subsidiaries, including Bond Corporation Pte. Ltd. (“BCPL”), a Singapore company, Bond M&E Pte. Ltd. (“BMSG”), a Singapore Company, Bond M&E Sdn. Bhd. (“BMJB”), a Malaysia company, and Bond M&E (KL) Sdn. Bhd. (“BMKL”), a Malaysia company;
 
   
“Concord Group” refers to a group of our subsidiaries, including Concord Corporation Pte. Ltd. (“CCPL”), a Singapore company, and CCPL’s subsidiaries, Concord Electrical Sdn. Bhd. (“CESB”), a Malaysia company, Concord Corporation Pte. Ltd., Dubai Branch (“CCPL Dubai”), Concord Electrical Contracting Ltd. (“CECL”), a Qatar company, Concord M Design and Engineering Company Limited. (“CMDE”), a Macau company, and Concord Electrical, Inc. (“CEI”), a Philippines company;
 
   
“CSHK” refers to Concord Solutions (HK) Limited, a Hong Kong company;
 
   
“PTHAI” refers to PT Hollysys Automation Indonesia, an Indonesian company;
 
   
“GTH” refers to Gifted Time Holdings Limited, a BVI company;
 
   
“Clear Mind” refers to Clear Mind Limited, a BVI company;
 
   
“World Hope” refers to World Hope Enterprises Limited, a Hong Kong company;
 
   
“Helitong” refers to Beijing Helitong Science & Technology Exploration Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Hollysys Group” refers to Hollysys Group Co., Ltd., formerly known as Beijing Hollysys Science & Technology Co., Ltd, a PRC company;
 
   
“Hangzhou Hollysys” refers to Hangzhou Hollysys Automation Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Hangzhou System” refers to Hangzhou Hollysys System Engineering Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Hollysys Industrial Software” refers to Beijing Hollysys Industrial Software Company Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Beijing Hollysys” refers to Beijing Hollysys Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Hollysys Electronics” refers to Beijing Hollysys Electronics Technology Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
1

   
“Xi’an Hollysys” refers to Xi’an Hollysys Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Hollysys Investment” refers to Hollysys (Beijing) Investment Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“HollySys Smart Energy” refers to HollySys Smart Energy Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Shandong Lukang” refers to Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical Engineering Design Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Xuzhou HollySys” refers to Xuzhou HollySys Valve Technology Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Hollysys Intelligent” refers to Beijing Hollysys Intelligent Technologies Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“HollySys System Integration” refers to Beijing HollySys System Integration Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“HollySys Control” refers to Beijing HollySys Control Technology Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“HollySys Education” refers to Beijing HollySys Education Technology Co., Ltd, a PRC company;
 
   
“Xiamen HollySys” refers to Xiamen HollySys Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“Chengdu HollySys Transportation” refers to HollySys Intelligent Transportation Technology (Chengdu) Co., Ltd., a PRC company;
 
   
“RMB” and “CNY” refer to Renminbi, the legal currency of China; “SGD” and “S$” refer to the Singapore dollar, the legal currency of Singapore; “US dollar,” “$” and “US$” refer to the legal currency of the United States; “MYR” refers to the Malaysian Ringgit, the legal currency of Malaysia; “AED” refers to the United Arab Emirates Dirham, the legal currency of the United Arab Emirates; “HKD” refers to the Hong Kong dollar, the legal currency of Hong Kong; “MOP” refers to the Macau Pataca, the legal currency of Macau; “INR” refers to the Indian Rupee, the legal currency of India; “QAR” refers to the Qatar Riyal, the legal currency of Qatar; “IDR” refers to Indonesia Rupiah, the legal currency of Indonesia, and “PHP” refers to Philippine Peso, the legal currency of Philippines;
 
   
“BVI” refers to the British Virgin Islands;
 
   
“China,” “PRC” and “mainland China” refer to the People’s Republic of China, and only in the context of describing PRC rules, laws, regulations, regulatory authority, and any PRC entities or citizens under such rules, laws and regulations and other legal or tax matters in this annual report, excludes Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau;
 
   
“Hong Kong” and “Hong Kong SAR” refer to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China;
 
   
“Macau” refers to the Macau Special Administrative Region of China;
 
   
“Exchange Act” refers to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended; and
 
   
“Securities Act” refers to the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
In addition, we have listed below certain technical terms we use to describe our business and industry:
 
   
CTCS-2: Chinese Train Control System Level 2
 
   
CTCS-3: Chinese Train Control System Level 3
 
   
TCC: Train Control Center
 
   
ATP: Automation Train Protection
 
   
DCS: Distributed Control System
 
   
DEH: Digital Electro-Hydraulic
 
   
GW: Gigawatt
 
2

   
IIoT: Industrial Internet of Things
 
   
MW: Megawatt
 
   
PaaS: Platform as a Service
 
   
PLC: Programmable Logic Controller
 
   
SaaS: Software as a Service
 
   
SCADA: Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
 
3

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This annual report contains forward-looking statements and information relating to us that are based on the current beliefs, expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections of our management regarding our company and industry. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe harbor” provision under Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this annual report, the words “may,” “will,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan” and similar expressions, as they relate to us or our management, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements reflect management’s current view of us concerning future events and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including among many others: our potential inability to achieve similar growth in future periods as we did historically, a decrease in the availability of our raw materials, the emergence of additional competing technologies, changes in domestic and foreign laws, regulations and taxes, changes in economic conditions, uncertainties related to China’s legal system and economic, political and social events in China, the volatility of the securities markets, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other risks and uncertainties which are generally set forth under the heading “Item 3. Key information—D. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report. Should any of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should the underlying assumptions about our business and the commercial markets in which we operate prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described as anticipated, estimated or expected in this annual report.
All forward-looking statements included herein attributable to us or other parties or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Except to the extent required by applicable laws and regulations, we undertake no obligations to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this annual report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
 
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PART I
 
ITEM 1.
IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS
Not applicable.
 
ITEM 2.
OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE
Not applicable.
 
ITEM 3.
KEY INFORMATION
Implications of Being a Holding Company
Our investors hold securities of Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd., which is not an operating company but a BVI holding company that conducts operations in China mainly through its Chinese operating subsidiaries and in Southeast Asia and the Middle East mainly through Concord Group and Bond Group. Investors in our company should note that they are purchasing equity securities of a BVI holding company rather than equity securities issued by our operating subsidiaries. Under our current corporate structure, as a BVI holding company, Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd. may rely on dividend payments from Helitong, which is a wholly foreign-owned enterprise incorporated in China, to fund any cash and financing requirements. Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries are permitted to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, our PRC subsidiaries are required to allocate at least 10% of their accumulated profits each year, if any, to fund statutory reserves of up to 50% of the registered capital of the enterprise. Allocations from these statutory surplus reserves may only be used for specific purposes and are not distributable to us in the form of loans, advances, or cash dividends. As a result, our Chinese subsidiaries are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of its net assets to us in the form of dividends, loans or advances. As an offshore holding company, we will be permitted under PRC laws and regulations to provide funding from the proceeds of our offshore fund-raising activities to our subsidiaries in China only through loans or capital contributions, subject to the satisfaction of the applicable government registration and approval requirements. Before providing loans to our PRC subsidiaries, we will be required to make filings about details of the loans with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the PRC (the “SAFE”) in accordance with relevant PRC laws and regulations. Our PRC subsidiaries that receive the loans are only allowed to use the loans for the purposes set forth in these laws and regulations. Under regulations of the SAFE, Renminbi is not convertible into foreign currencies for capital account items, such as loans, repatriation of investments and investments outside of China, unless the prior approval of the SAFE is obtained and prior registration with the SAFE is made. Investors in our securities should note that, to the extent cash in the business is in the PRC or a PRC entity, the funds may not be available to fund operations or for other use outside of the PRC due to interventions in or the imposition of restrictions and limitations on the ability of Hollysys or its subsidiaries by the PRC government to transfer cash. For the description of how cash is transferred through our organization, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Holding Company Structure.” For related risks, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China.”
Risks Associated with Operations in China
Our activities are primarily conducted in the PRC through our Chinese operating subsidiaries. These subsidiaries are required to, and have obtained, from PRC authorities all permits or approvals required to engage in our business in China, including the business licenses from local authorities for their operations. While we believe we are currently not required to obtain permissions from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (the “CSRC”), the Cyberspace Administration of China (the “CAC”) or other entity in China for our operations in China, we cannot assure you that we will not be required to obtain the approval of the CSRC, the CAC or of potentially other regulatory authorities to maintain the listing status of our ordinary shares on the NASDAQ or to conduct offerings of securities in the future. In addition, while we do not have any variable interest entity based in China, we face risks and uncertainties as to whether and how the recent PRC regulatory developments, such as those relating to data and cyberspace security and anti-monopoly concerns, would apply to us. The PRC government has also recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over securities offerings and other capital markets activities that are conducted overseas and foreign investment in China-based companies. See “Item 4. Information of the Company—B. Business Overview—Recent Regulatory Development.”
Given the uncertainties of interpretation and implementation of relevant laws and regulations and the enforcement practice by relevant government authorities, we may be required to obtain additional licenses, permits, filings, or approvals for the business operations in the future. If we are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures. Furthermore, it is highly uncertain how existing or new laws or regulations or detailed implementations and interpretations will be modified or promulgated with respect to the approvals we need for our operations. If we inadvertently conclude that certain approvals are not required, or applicable laws, regulations, or interpretations change, we may be required to obtain approval in the future. We may not be able to obtain required approvals in a timely and cost-effective manner, or at all, which may adversely affect our operations, financial condition and reputation. In addition, the PRC government may intervene in or influence our operations at any time, or may exert more control over our future overseas offerings or foreign investments in us, which could result in a material change in our operations, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to continue to offer or continue to offer securities to investments, and could cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China” for more details.
 
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The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (the “HFCA Act”) was enacted on December 18, 2020. The HFCA Act states that if the auditor of a U.S. listed company’s financial statements is not subject to PCAOB inspections for three consecutive “non-inspection” years after the law becomes effective, the SEC is required to prohibit the securities of such issuer from being traded on a U.S. national securities exchange, such as the NASDAQ, or in U.S. over-the-counter markets. On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which if enacted into law would amend the HFCA Act and require the SEC to prohibit an issuer’s securities from trading on U.S. stock exchanges if its auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspections for two consecutive “non-inspection” years instead of three. On February 4, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which contained, among other things, an identical provision.
On September 22, 2021, the PCAOB adopted PCAOB Rule 6100 Board Determinations under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which provides a framework for making determinations as to whether PCAOB is unable to inspect an audit firm in a foreign jurisdiction, which the SEC approved on November 5, 2021. On December 2, 2021, the SEC adopted final amendments to its rules implementing the HFCA Act. On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued its report notifying the SEC of its determination that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely accounting firms headquartered in China or Hong Kong, including our independent registered public accounting firm, Union Power HK CPA Limited.
Based on the HFCA Act, PCAOB Rule 6100 and the implementing rules of the SEC, we expect that we will be identified as a “commission-identified issuer” following the filing of this annual report. Accordingly, if the PCAOB is not able to inspect our auditor, our securities may be prohibited from trading on the Nasdaq or other U.S. stock exchange by 2024, or 2023 if the Accelerating Foreign Companies Accountable Act is enacted into law. On August 26, 2022, the PCAOB signed a Statement of Protocol with the CSRC and the Ministry of Finance of the PRC, taking the first step toward opening access for the PCAOB to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong. By the end of 2022, the PCAOB is required to assess whether China remains a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is not able to inspect and investigate completely auditors registered with the PCAOB. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—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, our investors are deprived of the benefits of such inspection. In addition, the enactment of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act and the adoption of any rules, legislations or other efforts to increase U.S. regulatory access to audit information could cause uncertainty and our securities listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market could be delisted or prohibited from being traded “over-the-counter” if we are unable to meet the PCAOB requirement in time.”
A. [Reserved]
B. Capitalization and Indebtedness
Not applicable.
C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds
Not applicable.
D. Risk Factors
Summary of Risk Factors
An investment in our capital stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below, together with all of the other information included in this annual report, before making an investment decision.
 
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If any of the following risks actually occurs, our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations could suffer. In that case, the trading price of our capital stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Below please find a summary of the principal risks we face, organized under relevant headings. All the legal and operational risks associated with being based in and having operations in the PRC also apply to our operations in Hong Kong and Macau.
Risks Related to our Business
Risks and uncertainties related to our business include, but are not limited to, the following:
 
   
We commit substantial resources to new product and service development and acquisition opportunities in order to stay competitive and grow our business, and we may fail to offset the increased cost of such investment with a sufficient increase in net sales or margins.
 
   
Our businesses and financial performance may be affected by changes in the PRC government policies promoting infrastructural development, such as high-speed rail and urban mass transit. Any decrease in public expenditures on, or any change in the public procurement policies or industry standards relating to, such industries may affect our business.
 
   
Our capital and human resources committed to product and service offerings may not always achieve anticipated results and we may not be able to develop new product and service offerings that meet market demand or successfully introduce new products in a timely manner.
 
   
Loss of major customers or changes in their orders may have an adverse impact on our business.
 
   
We do not have long-term purchase commitments from our customers, and we are exposed to potential volatility in our turnover.
 
   
An increase in our contract backlog may reflect our inability to perform our contracts on a timely basis instead of our ability to expand our business.
 
   
We may face risks associated with our international operations and expansion, which could result in significant additional costs for our business operations.
 
   
If we fail to accurately estimate the overall risks or costs under the contracts with our customers, or the time needed to complete the relevant projects under such contracts, we may experience cost overruns, schedule delays, lower profitability or even losses under such contracts when we perform such contracts.
 
   
Our products may contain design or manufacturing defects that could result in product liability claims and cause us to suffer losses, and such defects could adversely affect demand for our products and services.
 
   
Since we use a variety of raw materials and components in our production, shortages or price fluctuations of raw materials and the inability of key suppliers to meet our quantity or quality requirements could increase the cost of our products, undermine our product quality and adversely impact our business.
Risks Related to Doing Business in China
While we do not have any variable interest entity based in China, we face risks and uncertainties as to whether and how the recent PRC regulatory developments, such as those relating to data and cyberspace security and anti-monopoly concerns, would apply to us. Risks and uncertainties related to doing business in China include, but are not limited to, the following:
 
   
Changes in the economic and political policies of the PRC government could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and may result in our inability to sustain our growth and expansion strategies. For details, see page 24 of this annual report.
 
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Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system, including uncertainties regarding the enforcement of laws, and sudden or unexpected changes in policies, laws and regulations in China, could adversely affect us. For details, see page 24 of this annual report.
 
   
The PRC government may intervene in or influence our operations at any time, or may exert more control over our future overseas offerings or foreign investments in us, which could result in a material change in our operations, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors, and could cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless. For details, see page 25 of this annual report.
 
   
PRC regulations regarding acquisitions impose significant regulatory approval and review requirements, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions. For details, see page 25 of this annual report.
 
   
The approval, filing or other requirements of the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required under PRC law in connection with our issuance of securities overseas, or maintenance of the listing status of our ordinary shares could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ordinary shares. For details, see page 26 of this annual report.
 
   
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, our investors are deprived of the benefits of such inspection. In addition, the enactment of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act and the adoption of any rules, legislations or other efforts to increase U.S. regulatory access to audit information could cause uncertainty and our securities listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market could be delisted or prohibited from being traded “over-the-counter” if we are unable to meet the PCAOB requirement in time. For details, see page 28 of this annual report.
Risks Related to our Shares
Risks and uncertainties related to our shares include, but are not limited to, the following:
 
   
The market price of our ordinary shares is volatile, leading to the possibility of its value being depressed at a time when you want to sell your holdings.
 
   
Share prices of companies with business operations primarily in China have fluctuated widely in recent years, and the trading prices of our ordinary shares are likely to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.
Risks Related to Our Business
We commit substantial resources to new product and service development and acquisition opportunities in order to stay competitive and grow our business, and we may fail to offset the increased cost of such investment with a sufficient increase in net sales or margins.
The success of our business depends in great measure on our ability to keep pace with, or even lead, changes that occur in our industry and expand our product and service offerings. Traditionally, the automation and control systems business was relatively stable and slow moving. Successive generations of products offered only marginal improvements in terms of functionality and reliability. However, the emergence of computers, computer networks and electronic components as key elements of the systems that we design and build has accelerated the pace of change in our industry. Where there was formerly as much as a decade or more between successive generations of automation systems, the time between generations is now as little as two to three years. Technological advances and the introduction of new products, new designs and new manufacturing techniques by our competitors could adversely affect our business unless we are able to respond with similar advances. To remain competitive, we must continue to incur significant costs in product development, equipment and facilities and to make capital investments and seek complementary acquisitions. These costs may increase, resulting in greater fixed costs and operating expenses than we have incurred to date. As a result, we could be required to expend substantial funds for and commit significant resources to the following:
 
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research and development activities on existing and potential product solutions;
 
   
additional engineering and other technical personnel;
 
   
advanced design, production and test equipment;
 
   
manufacturing services that meet changing customer needs;
 
   
technological changes in manufacturing processes;
 
   
expansion of manufacturing capacity; and
 
   
acquiring technology through licensing and acquisitions.
Our future operating results will depend to a significant extent on our ability to continue providing new product and service solutions that compare favorably on the basis of time to market, cost and performance, with competing third-party suppliers and technologies. However, we may develop new products and services that do not gain market acceptance, which would result in the failure to recover the significant costs for design and manufacturing for new product solutions or service development, thus adversely affecting operating results.
Our businesses and financial performance may be affected by changes in the PRC government policies promoting infrastructural development, such as high-speed rail and urban mass transit. Any decrease in the public expenditures on, or any change in the public procurement policies or industry standards relating to, such industries may affect our business.
Our business includes providing high-speed rail signaling systems that ensure operational safety of passenger trains. The development of the PRC high-speed rail signaling system industry is dependent upon state planning and investment in high-speed rail transportation projects. The nature, scale and timetable of these projects may be affected by a number of factors, including the overall state investment in high-speed rail transportation projects and approval of such new projects. By the end of 2021, the total length of China’s high-speed railway was over 40,000 kilometers. We cannot predict whether the total annual investment in and the market size of the PRC high-speed railway industry will continue to grow in the future. If the total annual investment or the market size declines, our business and financial position may be adversely affected.
We have also provided our SCADA system, or supervisory control and data acquisition system, to a number of China’s subway lines over the past years. Although the PRC government has historically been supportive of the development of the urban mass transit industry, its industrial policy may change from time to time and it may adopt new policies or measures to further regulate the urban mass transit industry due to changes in macroeconomic trends or certain unexpected events.
The spending patterns and priorities of Chinese policymakers cannot be predicted with certainty. We cannot assure you that the generally favorable policies will remain in force in the future. If the PRC government reduces its public investment in, or changes any industrial standards relating to the high-speed railway industry, railway or urban mass transit industry in the PRC, if any of our major customers changes its procurement or bidding policy, or if our rail transportation projects face challenges, there could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.
 
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Our capital and human resources committed to product and service offerings may not always achieve anticipated results and we may not be able to develop new product and service offerings that meet market demand or successfully introduce new products in a timely manner.
We are a technology-driven company. To maintain our leading position in the industry and meet the requirement of safety and efficiency, we have to continuously improve existing technology, product and service offerings, and design and develop new technology, product and service offerings that closely follow technology development trends and customer needs. However, we cannot guarantee that our capital and human resources activities will always keep pace with market demand and technological advances or yield the anticipated results. The products and services, which we have spent substantial capital and human resources to develop, may not be able to deliver expected commercial returns when they are developed due to changing technology trends and market demands. If we encounter delays in technology development, fail to meet changing market demands, underestimate or fail to follow technological trends, or if our competitors respond more quickly than we do, our business or operating results may be materially and adversely affected. Failure to develop and introduce new product and service solutions in the areas of industrial automation, rail transportation and mechanical and electrical solutions on a timely basis or at all could adversely affect our competitiveness and profitability.
Loss of major customers or changes in their orders may have an adverse impact on our business.
We have developed significant customer relationships with several local urban mass transit providers and railway authorities in respect of the high-speed train system in China and other geographies. For example, we currently have major contracts with the MTR Corporation Limited in Hong Kong, and the Land Transport Authority of Singapore. We expect to continue to rely on our current major customers for a portion of our revenue in the future. Moreover, due to the nature of our business, the contract value of a single contract tends to be large. As such, our cash flows may become dependent on those customers’ payment practices and overall public funding policies, including the lengthening of collection times under contracts that have been performed. If our major customers significantly reduce, modify, postpone or cancel their purchase orders with us, we may not be able to get substitute orders with similar terms from other customers in a timely manner or at all. If we are not able to enter into contracts with our major customers on terms favorable to us or at all, our business and financial position may be adversely affected.
We do not have long-term purchase commitments from our customers, and we are exposed to potential volatility in our turnover.
Our business with our customers has been, and we expect it will continue to be, conducted on the basis of actual purchase orders received from time to time. Our customers are not obligated in any way to continue to place orders with us at the same or increased levels or at all. In addition, our customers may change or delay or terminate orders for products and services without notice for reasons unrelated to us, including lack of market acceptance for the products that our system was designed to control.
We cannot assure you that our customers will continue to place purchase orders with us at the same volume or same margin, as compared to prior periods, or at all. We may not be able to locate alternative customers to replace purchase orders or sales. As a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations may vary from period to period and may fluctuate significantly in the future.
An increase in our contract backlog may reflect our inability to perform our contracts on a timely basis instead of our ability to expand our business.
Our backlog indicates our ability to sell our products and services and increase our revenue, which represents the amount of unrealized revenue to be earned from the contracts that we have won. Backlog is not a standard financial measure that has been defined by generally accepted accounting principles, and may not be indicative of future operating results. The amount of our aggregate backlog is based on the assumption that our relevant contracts will be performed in full in accordance with their terms. The termination or modification of any one or more major contracts may have a substantial and immediate effect on our backlog. We cannot guarantee that the amount estimated in our backlog will be realized in full, in a timely manner, or at all, or that, even if it is realized, such backlog will result in profits as expected. As a result, you should not rely on our backlog information presented in this report as an indicator of our future earnings.
 
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We may face risks associated with our international operations and expansion, which could result in significant additional costs for our business operations.
A core component of our growth strategy is international expansion. As we continue to expand our international operations, we will be increasingly susceptible to the risks associated with overseas expansion. We have a limited operating history outside of the PRC and management of our international operations requires significant resources and management attention. Entering into new markets presents challenges, including, among others, the challenges of supporting a rapidly growing business in new environments with diverse cultures, languages, customs, legal systems, alternative dispute systems and economic, political and regulatory systems. We expect to incur significant costs associated with expanding our overseas operations, including hiring personnel internationally. The risks and challenges associated with overseas expansion include:
 
   
uncertain political and economic climates;
 
   
lack of familiarity and burdens of complying with foreign laws, accounting and legal standards, regulatory requirements, tariffs and other barriers;
 
   
unexpected changes in regulatory requirements, taxes, trade laws, tariffs, export quotas, custom duties or other trade restrictions;
 
   
lack of experience in connection with the localization of our applications, including translation into foreign languages and adaptation for local practices, and associated expenses and regulatory requirements;
 
   
difficulties in adapting to differing technology standards;
 
   
longer sales cycles and accounts receivable payment cycles and difficulties in collecting accounts receivable;
 
   
difficulties in managing and staffing international operations, including differing legal and cultural expectations for employee relationships and increased travel, infrastructure and legal compliance costs associated with international operations;
 
   
challenges to our corporate culture resulting from a dispersed workforce;
 
   
difficulties in managing, growing, and staffing international operations, including in countries in which foreign employees may become part of labor unions, employee representative bodies, or collective bargaining agreements, and challenges relating to work stoppages or slowdowns;
 
   
fluctuations in exchange rates that may increase the volatility of our foreign-based revenue and expenses;
 
   
potentially adverse tax consequences, including the complexities of foreign value-added tax, goods and services tax and other transactional taxes;
 
   
reduced or varied protection for intellectual property rights in some countries;
 
   
difficulties in managing and adapting to differing cultures and customs;
 
   
difficulties in implementing and maintaining the financial systems and processes needed to enable compliance across multiple offerings, services and jurisdictions;
 
   
data privacy laws which require that customer data be stored and processed in a designated territory subject to laws different from those of the PRC;
 
   
new and different sources of competition as well as laws and business practices favoring local competitors and local employees;
 
   
compliance with anti-bribery laws, including compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”);
 
   
increased financial accounting and reporting burdens and complexities; and
 
   
restrictions on the transfer of funds across borders or repatriation of earnings.
 
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In addition, in our international business expansion to Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, we may not be able to find adequate and qualified local engineers to bid and complete sizable rail transportation orders and industrial automation projects, and because of visa requirements, we may have difficulties relocating adequate engineers from China to various foreign countries and have them stay there long enough to finish the projects, which could have an adverse impact on our international business expansion. With operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Middle East, we are subject to numerous, and sometimes conflicting, legal requirements on matters as diverse as import/export controls, trade restrictions, tariffs, taxation, sanctions, government affairs, anti-corruption, whistle blowing, internal and disclosure control obligations, data protection and privacy and labor relations and regulatory requirements that are specific to our clients’ industries. Non-compliance with these regulations in the conduct of our business could result in fines, penalties, criminal sanctions against us or our officers, disgorgement of profits, prohibitions on doing business and adverse impact on our reputation. Gaps in compliance with these regulations in connection with the performance of our obligations to our clients could also result in exposure to monetary damages, fines and/or criminal prosecution, unfavorable publicity, restrictions on our ability to process information and allegations by our clients that we have not performed our contractual obligations. Many countries also seek to regulate the actions that companies take outside of their respective jurisdictions, subjecting us to multiple and sometimes competing legal frameworks in addition to our home country rules. Due to the varying degree of development of the legal systems of the countries in which we operate and plan to operate, local laws might be insufficient to defend us and preserve our rights. We could also be subjected to risks to our reputation and regulatory action on account of any unethical acts by any of our employees, partners or other related individuals. As a result of these factors, international expansion may be more difficult, take longer and not generate the results we anticipate, which could negatively impact our growth and business.
If we fail to accurately estimate the overall risks or costs under the contracts with our customers, or the time needed to complete the relevant projects under such contracts, we may experience cost overruns, schedule delays, lower profitability or even losses under such contracts when we perform such contracts.
We derive the majority of our total consolidated revenues from the integrated solutions contracts that we have won through a competitive bidding process. The purpose of an integrated solutions contract is to furnish an automation system that provides the customer with a total solution for the automation or process control requirement being addressed. These contracts require us to complete projects at a fixed price, and therefore expose us to the risk of cost overruns. Cost overruns, whether due to efficiency, estimates or other reasons, could result in lower profit or losses. Other variations and risks inherent in the performance of fixed-price contracts such as delays caused by technical issues, and any inability to obtain the requisite permits and approvals, may cause our actual risk exposure and costs to differ from our original estimates.
In addition, we may be unable to deliver products or complete projects in accordance with the schedules set forth under the integrated solutions contracts. Our projects and our manufacturing and sales of products could be delayed for a number of reasons, including those relating to market conditions, policies, laws and regulations of the PRC and other relevant jurisdictions, availability of funding, transportation, disputes with business partners and subcontractors, technology and raw materials suppliers, employees, local governments, natural disasters, epidemics (such as COVID-19), power and other energy supplies, and availability of technical or human resources.
We cannot guarantee that we will not encounter cost overruns or delays in our current and future delivery of products and the completion of projects. If such cost overruns or delays were to occur, our costs could exceed our budget, and our profits on the relevant contracts may be adversely affected.
Our products may contain design or manufacturing defects that could result in product liability claims and cause us to suffer losses, and such defects could adversely affect demand for our products and services.
Our products are very complex, integrated systems, often with elements designed specifically for the particular situation of a customer. These products may have dormant design or manufacturing issues or defects that are not detected until they are put into actual use. Also, we manufacture spare parts for maintenance and replacement purposes after the completion of integrated solutions contracts. While there have been no significant issues or defects identified as of the date of this annual report, any issues or defects in the design, manufacture and spare parts we provide may result in returns, claims, delayed shipments to customers or reduced or cancelled customer orders and other forms of damages asserted against us. A product issue or defect or negative publicity concerning defective products or services of ours could adversely affect our results of operations, reputation, customer satisfaction and market share.
 
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Moreover, we are active in the conventional and nuclear power generation and railway control systems sectors. Each of these sectors poses a substantially higher risk of liability in the event of a system failure than is present in the industrial process controls markets in which we have traditionally competed. In certain jurisdictions that impose strict liability on product defects, we could be held liable for injuries or accidents involving our products even if the defects are not caused by us. We may be held liable for any damages or losses incurred in connection with or arising from defective products manufactured or designed by us, and if the damages or losses are severe, we may also be subject to administrative penalties imposed by the government. If our products or services are proven to be defective and have caused personal injury, property damage or other losses to rail passengers, we may be held responsible under liability claims under the laws of the PRC or other jurisdictions in which our products or services are sold, used or provided. We may need to devote substantial funds and other financial and administrative resources to rectifying or preventing potential product liability incidents, which could adversely affect our working capital, cash flow and results of operation.
As a practice, we generally do not carry large amounts of product liability insurance for our products, and we may not be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage in the future or may experience difficulties in obtaining the insurance coverage we need, which could negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. The typical industrial practice is for the customers to obtain insurance to protect against their own operational risks. Any claims against us, regardless of their merits, could materially and adversely affect our financial condition. If we recall any of our products or are punished by governmental authorities, our business activities, financial condition and results of operations, as well as reputation, could be adversely affected.
Since we use a variety of raw materials and components in our production, shortages or price fluctuations of raw materials and the inability of key suppliers to meet our quantity or quality requirements could increase the cost of our products, undermine our product quality and adversely impact our business.
Our major requirements for raw materials include bare printed circuit boards, electronic components, chips, cabinets and cables. Although we believe the sources of supply for these raw materials and components are generally adequate, any shortages or price increases could lead to higher costs of sales in the future. Our inability to pass on all or any raw material price increases to our customers or suppliers or offset the price fluctuations through commodity hedges could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Moreover, we procure our major raw materials, bare printed circuit boards, from suppliers based on our requirements and design considerations. Our suppliers may not be able to scale production or adjust the delivery of products during times of volatile demand. In addition, we cannot guarantee that our suppliers have developed adequate and effective quality control systems. Our vendors’ inability to meet our volume requirements or quality standards may materially and adversely affect our brand and reputation, as well as our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may experience material disruptions to our productions and business operations.
We primarily manufacture the hardware of our products in Beijing and Hangzhou facilities and on certain occasions outsource the production to third-party manufacturers. These facilities may be affected by natural or man-made disasters and other external events, including but not limited to fire, natural disasters, epidemics (such as COVID-19), weather, manufacturing problems, diseases, strikes, transportation interruption, government regulation, supply chain disruption or terrorism. Any such disruptions or facility downtime could prevent us from meeting customer demand for our product and require us to make unexpected capital expenditures. In such circumstances, we may not be able to find new leases on terms acceptable to us, or at all. Any of these disruptions may force us to cease operations, shift production to other third-party manufacturers or cease certain parts of our business operations, which could incur substantial costs or take a significant time to re-start production or operations, each of which may adversely impact our business and results of operations.
 
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Security breaches or disruptions of our information technology systems could adversely affect our business.
We rely on information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business processes and activities. Additionally, we collect and store certain data, including proprietary business information, and may have access to confidential or personal information in certain of our businesses, which is subject to privacy and security laws and regulations, and customer-imposed controls. These information technology networks and systems may be susceptible to damage, disruptions or shutdowns due to failures during the process of upgrading or replacing software, databases or components; power outages; telecommunications or system failures; terrorist attacks; natural disasters; employee error or malfeasance; server or cloud provider breaches; and computer viruses or cyberattacks. Cybersecurity threats and incidents can range from uncoordinated individual attempts to gain unauthorized access to information technology networks and systems to more sophisticated and targeted measures, known as advanced persistent threats, directed at us, our products, customers and/or third-party service providers. Despite the implementation of cybersecurity measures (including access controls, data encryption, vulnerability assessments, continuous monitoring, and maintenance of backup and protective systems), our information technology networks and systems may still be vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and other electronic security breaches. It is possible for such vulnerabilities to remain undetected for an extended period, up to and including several years. In addition, it is possible a security breach could result in theft of trade secrets or other intellectual property or disclosure of confidential customer, supplier or employee information. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to prevent security breaches or other damage to our information technology systems, nor can we guarantee that our internal control and compliance programs will be able to adequately address all or any of such breaches. Disruptions caused by any such breaches or damage could have an adverse effect on our operations, as well as expose us to litigation, liability or penalties under privacy laws, increased cybersecurity protection costs, reputational damage and product failure.
Our failure to comply with cybersecurity and data protection laws and regulations could lead to government enforcement actions and significant penalties against us, and adversely impact our operating results.
The regulatory framework for the collection, use, safeguarding, sharing, transfer and other processing of personal information and important data worldwide is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. For example, regulatory authorities in China have implemented and are considering a number of legislative and regulatory proposals concerning cybersecurity and data protection.
The PRC Cyber Security Law, which took effect in June 2017, created China’s first national-level data protection regime for “network operators,” which may include all organizations in China that provide services over the internet or another information network. Specifically, the Cyber Security Law provides that China adopts a multi-level protection scheme, under which network operators are required to perform obligations of security protection to ensure that the network is free from interference, disruption or unauthorized access, and to prevent network data from being disclosed, stolen or tampered.
In addition, the PRC Data Security Law was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 10, 2021 and took effect on September 1, 2021. The Data Security Law establishes a tiered system for data protection in terms of their importance, data categorized as “important data,” which will be determined by governmental authorities in the form of catalogs, are required to be treated with a higher level of protection. Specifically, the Data Security Law provides that operators processing “important data” are required to appoint a “data security officer” and a “management department” to take charge of data security. In addition, such an operator is required to evaluate the risk of its data activities periodically and file assessment reports with relevant regulatory authorities.
Numerous regulations, guidelines and other measures have been or are expected to be adopted under the umbrella of, or in addition to, the Cyber Security Law and Data Security Law. For example, Regulations on the Security Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure (the “CII Protection Regulations”) was promulgated by the State Council of the PRC on July 30, 2021 and became effective on September 1, 2021. According to the CII Protection Regulations, critical information infrastructure (the “CII”) refers to any important network facilities or information systems of the important industry or field such as public communication and information service, energy, transportation, water conservancy, finance, public services, e-government affairs and national defense science, which may endanger national security, people’s livelihood and public interest in the case of damage, function loss or data leakage. Regulators supervising specific industries are required to formulate detailed guidance to recognize the CII in the respective sectors, and a critical information infrastructure operator, or a CIIO, must take the responsibility to protect the CII’s security by performing certain prescribed obligations. For example, CIIOs are required to conduct network security test and risk assessment, report the assessment results to relevant regulatory authorities, and timely rectify the issues identified at least once a year.
 
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Additionally, in November 2021, the CAC issued the Cyber Data Security Administration Regulations (Draft for Comments), which, among other things, stipulates that a data processor that processes “important data” or listed overseas must conduct an annual data security review by itself or by engaging a data security service provider and submit the annual data security review report for a given year to the relevant municipal counterpart of the CAC before January 31 of the following year. As of the date of this annual report, such administration regulations have not been adopted. In January 2022, the CAC and several other administrations also jointly promulgated the amended Cybersecurity Review Measures (the “Cybersecurity Review Measures”), which became effective on February 15, 2022, and superseded and replaced the current cybersecurity review measures that became effective in June 2020. Pursuant to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, a CIIO that purchases network products and services, or conducts data process activities, which affect or may affect national security will be subject to the cybersecurity review. The Cybersecurity Review Measures also expands the cybersecurity review to “internet platform operators” in possession of personal information of over one million users if such operators intend to list their securities in a foreign country. See “—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The approval, filing or other requirements of the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required under PRC law in connection with our issuance of securities overseas or maintenance of the listing status of our ordinary shares could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ordinary shares.” Alternatively, relevant governmental authorities in the PRC may initiate a cybersecurity review if they determine an operator’s network products or services or data processing activities affect or may affect national security.
Furthermore, the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities requires (i) speeding up the revision of the provisions on strengthening the confidentiality and archives management relating to overseas issuance and listing of securities and (ii) improving the laws and regulations relating to data security, cross-border data flow, and management of confidential information. The Personal Information Protection Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on August 20, 2021 and took effect on November 1, 2021, integrates the various rules with respect to personal information rights and privacy protection and applies to the processing of personal information within mainland China as well as certain personal information processing activities outside mainland China, including those for the provision of products and services to natural persons within China or for the analysis and assessment of acts of natural persons within China. We may have access to confidential or personal information in certain of our businesses. Although we endeavor to comply with our privacy policies and other documentation regarding the protection of personal information, we may at times fail to do so or may be perceived to have failed to do so. Moreover, despite our efforts, we may not be successful in achieving compliance if our employees or contractors fail to comply with these policies and documentation.
Since the Cyber Security Law, Data Security Law and relevant regulations are relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to their interpretation and implementation. Any change in laws and regulations relating to privacy, data protection and information security and any enhanced and scrutinized governmental enforcement action of such laws and regulations could greatly increase our cost in providing our products and services, limit their use or adoption or require certain changes to be made to our operations. We cannot assure you that we will be compliant with the laws and regulations described above in all respects, and we may be ordered to rectify and terminate any actions that are deemed illegal by the government authorities and become subject to fines and other government sanctions, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Specifically, given the uncertainties surrounding the interpretation and implementation of the Cyber Security Law, Data Security Law and relevant regulations, we cannot rule out the possibility that we, or certain of our customers or suppliers may be deemed as a CIIO, or an operator processing “important data.” First, if we are deemed as a CIIO, our purchase of network products or services, if deemed to be affecting or may affect national security, will need to be subject to cybersecurity review, before we can enter into agreements with relevant customers or suppliers, and before the conclusion of such procedure, these customers will not be allowed to use our products or services, and we are not allowed to purchase products or services from our suppliers. There can be no assurance that we would be able to complete the applicable cybersecurity review procedures in a timely manner, or at all, if we are required to follow such procedures. Any failure or delay in the completion of the cybersecurity review procedures may prevent us from using certain network products and services, and may result in fines of up to ten times the purchase price of such network products and services being imposed upon us, if we are deemed a CIIO using network products or services without having completed the required cybersecurity review procedures. If the reviewing authority is of the view that the use of such network products or services by us, or by certain of our customers or suppliers, involves risk of disruption, is vulnerable to external attacks, or may negatively affect, compromise, or weaken the protection of national security, we may not be able to provide such products or services to relevant customers, or purchase products or services from relevant suppliers. This could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and business prospects. Second, the notion of “important data” is not clearly defined by the Cyber Security Law or the Data Security Law. In order to comply with the statutory requirements, we will need to determine whether we possess important data, monitor the important data catalogs that are expected to be published by local governments and departments, perform risk assessments and ensure we are complying with reporting obligations to applicable regulators. We may also be required to disclose to regulators business-sensitive or network security-sensitive details regarding our processing of important data, and may need to pass the government security review or obtain government approval in order to share important data with offshore recipients, which can include foreign licensors, or share data stored in China with judicial and law enforcement authorities outside of China. If judicial and law enforcement authorities outside China require us to provide data stored in China, and we are not able to pass any required government security review or obtain any required government approval to do so, we may not be able to meet the foreign authorities’ requirements. The potential conflicts in legal obligations could have an adverse impact on our operations in and outside of China.
 
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Our goodwill is subject to impairment review and any goodwill impairment may negatively affect our reported results.
Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the estimated fair value of net tangible and identifiable intangible assets acquired. Our outstanding goodwill as of June 30, 2022 was related to the acquisition of Hollysys Industrial Software in July 2017, Shandong Lukang in August 2019 and Hollysys Intelligent in August 2021. Based on our quantitative assessment for Hollysys Intelligent and qualitative assessment for Hollysys Industrial Software and Shandong Lukang, the goodwill was not impaired as at June 30, 2022.
However, there are uncertainties surrounding the amount and timing of future expected cash flows for Hollysys Industrial Software, Shandong Lukang and Hollysys Intelligent. In the future, if actual future cash flows being less than forecasted or delays in the timing of when those cash flows are expected to be realized, goodwill impairment might be triggered. Further, the timing of when actual future cash flows are received could differ from our estimates, which are based on historical trends and do not factor in unexpected delays in project commencement or execution.
In addition, we might make acquisitions and execute other forms of business combination, which would record goodwill, from to time in the future.
We may experience delays or defaults in payment of accounts receivables or in release of retention by our customers, which may adversely affect our cash flow and working capital, financial condition and results of operations.
In line with the industry practice, we typically have a long receivable collection cycle. We have in the past faced, and may face in the future, the risk that customers may delay their settlement with us or delay or fail to pay us as scheduled especially due to the impact of COVID-19 or financial distress of our customers. Furthermore, defaults in payments to us on projects for which we have already incurred significant costs and expenses can materially and adversely affect our results of operations and reduce our financial resources that would otherwise be available to fund other projects. We cannot assure you that payments from customers will be made in a timely manner or at all, or that delays or defaults in payments will not adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our operations require certain permits, licenses, approvals and certificates, the revocation, cancellation or non-renewal of which could significantly hinder our business and operations, and we are subject to periodic inspections, examinations, inquiries and audits by regulatory authorities.
We are required to obtain and maintain valid permits, licenses, certificates and approvals from various governmental authorities or institutions under relevant laws and regulations for our businesses of design and integration, equipment manufacturing and system implementation services. We must comply with the restrictions and conditions imposed by various levels of governmental agencies to maintain our permits, licenses, approvals and certificates. If we fail to comply with any of the regulations or meet any of the conditions required for the maintenance of our permits, licenses, approvals and certificates, our permits, licenses, approvals and certificates could be temporarily suspended or even revoked, or the renewal thereof, upon expiry of their original terms, may be delayed or rejected, which could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
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We are subject to periodic inspections, examinations, inquiries and audits by regulatory authorities and may be subject to suspension or revocation of the relevant permits, licenses, approvals or certificates, or fines or other penalties due to any non-compliance identified as a result of such inspections, examinations, inquiries and audits. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain or renew our existing permits, licenses, approvals and certificates or obtain future permits, licenses, approvals and certificates required for our continued operation on a timely basis or at all. In the event that we fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations or fail to maintain, renew or obtain the necessary permits, licenses, approvals or certificates, our qualification to conduct various businesses may be adversely impacted.
As we expand our business outside of mainland China, we will encounter the increasing need for international certifications and compliance with the regulation of different governments, which if not obtained and complied with may adversely impact our business.
We are expanding our business outside of mainland China, including seeking business opportunities in Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and the Middle East. For our marketing both in China and in other jurisdictions, we seek international certifications and have obtained certificates such as the European Safety Standard Certification Level 4. As we operate in jurisdictions other than China, we will have to comply with local laws, some of which relate to various safety and quality requirements for the kinds of products we provide. The failure to have any necessary or beneficial certifications and the failure to comply with local laws will have an adverse impact on our marketing and business, and may result in additional costs and expenses.
We are exposed to risks associated with public project contracts.
Due to the nature of our industry, we are exposed to risks associated with public project contracts. For example, many of our contracts are for large and high-profile high-speed railway or urban mass transit infrastructure projects, which can result in increased political and public scrutiny of our work. Certain of our customers are affiliated with government authorities. Such customers may delay making payments for our projects, and it may take a considerably longer period of time to resolve disputes with these customers than resolving disputes with customers in private sectors.
Moreover, such government-affiliated customers may require us to undertake additional obligations, change the type of our services, equipment used or other terms of service, or purchase specific equipment, or modify other contractual terms from time to time for the social benefit or other administrative purposes, resulting in additional costs incurred by us, which may not be reimbursed by such customers in full. If any early termination by any government-affiliated customers occurs or if government-affiliated customers fail to renew their contracts with us in the future, our backlog may be reduced and our investment plan may be hindered, which may have a material adverse effect on our business and financial performance.
Many of our competitors have substantially greater resources than we do, allowing them to compete on an advantageous basis, and any increased competition from foreign and PRC domestic competitors within the industries where we operate could negatively impact our market share in the industry.
We operate in a very competitive environment. Our principal offering is a comprehensive suite of automation systems for a wide spectrum of industrial market clientele, ranging from power, chemical, petrochemical, to nuclear, metallurgy, building materials, food-beverage, pharmaceutical and other industries. Many of our competitors are better established and more experienced than we are, have longer operating history than we do, have substantially greater financial resources, operate in more international markets, and are substantially more diversified than we are. As a result, they are in a stronger position to compete effectively with us.
Multi-national companies including Honeywell (US), ABB (Sweden), Siemens (Germany), Emerson (US), Yokogawa (Japan) and Hitachi (Japan) account for the majority of the global automation market share. In domestic market, except the multi-national companies, our main local competitor is Supon. These large competitors are also in a better position than we are to weather any extended weaknesses in the market for automation and control systems.
 
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Additionally, if major competitors increase their investments in the China or our targeted overseas markets or collaborate with our existing competitors, we may face even more intense competition. We may not be able to compete successfully with existing industry leaders in new business areas into which we intend to expand. This may in turn affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Other emerging companies or companies in related industries may also increase their participation in our market, which would add to the competitive pressures that we face.
Our business operations are largely dependent on our senior management and our ability to attract and retain engineering talents.
The stability of our business operations and the continuing growth of our business depend on the continuing services of our senior management and engineering talents. In the industries in which we operate, industry experience, management expertise and strategic direction are crucial. If we lose the services of our senior management and engineering staff, we may not be able to recruit a suitable or qualified replacement and may incur further costs and expenses to recruit and/or train new employees. In particular, any sudden loss of a member of our senior management or engineering staff may disrupt our strategic direction and leadership. As we continue to expand our business, we will need to continue to attract and retain experienced management personnel with extensive experience in the industries in which we operate.
We believe that competition for experienced personnel in the areas of industrial automation, rail transportation and mechanical and electrical solutions is intense. Competition for such qualified personnel could lead to higher emoluments and other compensations in order to attract and retain such personnel and an increase in our operating costs. If we are not able to retain the members of our senior management or engineering staff required to achieve our business objectives, this may materially and adversely affect our business operations and our prospects.
Our control systems are used in infrastructure projects such as subway systems, railways and nuclear plants; to the extent that our systems do not perform as designed, we could be found responsible for the damage resulting from that failure.
We face potential responsibility for the failure of our control systems in performing the various functions for which they are designed and the damages resulting from any such problem. To the extent that we contract to provide control systems in larger scale projects, the level of damages for which we may be held responsible is likely to increase. To the extent that any of our installed control systems do not perform as designed for their intended purposes, and we are held responsible for the consequences of those performance failures and resulting damages, there may be an adverse impact on our business, business reputation, revenues and profits. We do believe our control systems have so far performed as designed, and there are no claims asserted against us based on any significant, non-performance event. Notwithstanding our record, no assurance can be given that no claims will be sought in the future based on the design and performance of our control systems.
Industry and economic conditions may adversely affect the markets and operating conditions of our customers, which in turn can affect demand for our products and services and our results of operations.
We operate in a cyclical industry that is sensitive to general economic conditions in the PRC and abroad. Rapid growth in the PRC economy and urban population could lead to an increased demand for high-speed railway, urban transportation and power plants, which could in turn foster demand for control system products and services in high-speed rail transportation, urban mass transit and power sectors. Changes in market supply and demand could also have a substantial effect on our product prices, business, revenue and financial condition. Macroeconomic conditions (such as the government’s announcement of economic stimulus policies to encourage the construction of public infrastructure or the termination of such policies), supply and demand imbalances and other factors beyond our control, including import and export policies, value-added tax and export taxes could have a major impact on our market share, and the demand for and prices of our products. Increased demand for rail transportation and increased operating margins may result in a larger amount of new investments in the relevant industries and increased production in the overall industry, which may cause supply to exceed the demand and lead to a period of lower prices. This cycle of rising and falling demand may repeat itself. Any of these cyclical factors may adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations and prospects.
 
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We are striving to expand our sales into the international market. Our overseas business extends to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Any economic downturn may result in reduced funding for public infrastructures including railway or urban mass transit infrastructures and a decreased demand for our transportation control system products and services in the international market. Moreover, any economic downturn may negatively impact the ability of our international customers to obtain financing, which may lead to their unwillingness to purchase our products. Therefore, the general demand for our products and their selling price could decline. Any adverse changes in the global market and economic conditions and any slowdown or recession of the global economy could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. See “—Our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected by any economic slowdown in China as well as globally, or tensions in international trade and rising political tensions, particularly between U.S. and China.”
We may not be able to sufficiently protect our intellectual property.
Our business primarily relies on a combination of copyright, patent, trademark and other intellectual property laws, nondisclosure agreements and other protective measures to protect our proprietary rights. As of June 30, 2022, we held 409 software copyrights, 419 authorized patents, 261 patent applications and 58 registered trademarks.
Our competitors may independently develop proprietary technology similar to ours, introduce counterfeits of our products, misappropriate our proprietary information or processes, infringe on our patents, brand name and trademarks, or produce similar products that do not infringe on our patents or successfully challenge our patents. Our efforts to defend our patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights against competitors or other violating entities may be unsuccessful. We may be unable to identify any unauthorized use of our patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights and may not be afforded adequate remedies for any breach. In particular, in the event that our registered patents and our applications do not adequately describe, enable or otherwise provide coverage of our technologies, samples and products, we would not be able to exclude others from developing or commercializing these technologies, samples and products.
We also utilize unpatented proprietary know-how and trade secrets and employ various methods to protect our intellectual property. We have generally entered into confidentiality agreements (which include, in the case of employees, non-competition provisions and intellectual property right ownership provisions) with our key research and development personnel. These agreements provide that all confidential information developed or made known to the individual during the course of the individual’s relationship with us is to be kept confidential and not disclosed to third parties except in circumstances specified in the agreements. In the case of employees, the agreements provide that all of the technology which is conceived by the individual during the course of employment is our exclusive property. However, these agreements may not provide meaningful protection or adequate remedies in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our proprietary information. In addition, it is possible that third parties could independently develop information and techniques substantially similar to ours or otherwise gain access to our trade secrets.
In the event that any misappropriation or infringement of our intellectual property occurs in the future, we may need to protect our intellectual property or other proprietary rights through litigation. Litigation may divert our management’s attention from our business operations and possibly result in significant legal costs, and the outcome of any litigation is uncertain. In addition, infringement of our intellectual property rights may impair the market value and share of our products, damage our reputation and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our intellectual property may become obsolete and may not be able to protect us from the competition.
The markets in which our businesses operate may experience rapid and significant changes due to the introduction of innovative and disruptive technologies. Our operating results depend to a significant extent on our ability to maintain our technological leadership, anticipate and adapt to changes in our markets and to optimize our cost base accordingly. Introducing new products and technologies requires a significant commitment to research and development, which in return requires an expenditure of considerable financial resources that may not always result in success. Our results of operations may suffer if we invest in technologies that may not be used or integrated as expected, or are not accepted in the marketplace, or if our products, solutions or systems are not introduced to the market in a timely manner, particularly compared to our competitors, or become obsolete. Our patents and other intellectual property may not prevent competitors from independently developing or selling products and services that are similar to or duplicate our products and services.
 
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Our acquisition strategies may not be successful, which could adversely affect our business and increase our financial expenses.
In addition to organic growth, we may supplement our business expansion through acquisitions of an operating business or specific assets. Examples of our past acquisitions are the acquisitions of Concord Group in 2011 and Bond Group in 2013, which were undertaken to accelerate the development of our mechanical and electrical solutions business in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Implementing our acquisition strategies may expose us to the following risks, among others, which could have adverse effects on our business, financial condition, operating results and future prospects:
 
   
unidentified or unforeseeable liabilities or risks may exist in the potential assets or business to be acquired;
 
   
failure to assimilate acquired business and personnel into our operations or failure to realize anticipated cost savings or other synergies from the acquisition;
 
   
integration challenges related to implementing or improving internal controls, procedures and/or policies at a business that prior to the acquisition lacked the same level of controls, procedures and/or policies;
 
   
incurring additional debts which could reduce our available funds for operations and other purposes as a result of increased debt repayment obligations;
 
   
inability to retain employees;
 
   
the assumption of certain known and unknown liabilities of the acquired business;
 
   
loss of customers; and
 
   
disruption of our ongoing business and diversion of resources and management attention from existing businesses and strategic matters.
We may not be able to consummate acquisitions or dispositions on favorable terms or at all. Our ability to consummate acquisitions will be limited by our ability to identify appropriate acquisition candidates, to negotiate acceptable terms for purchase and our access to financial resources, including available cash and borrowing capacity. In addition, we cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively integrate businesses we acquire or that any acquisitions will generate long-term benefits for us. Any failure to effectively integrate or benefit from acquisitions we make may have material adverse effects on our business, financial condition, operating results and future prospects.
Our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected by any economic slowdown in China as well as globally, or tensions in international trade and rising political tensions, particularly between U.S. and China.
The success of our business depends on consumer spending. We currently derive a substantial majority of our revenue from China and are also expanding into international markets. As a result, our revenue and net income are impacted to a significant extent by economic conditions in China and globally, as well as economic conditions specific to infrastructural development. The global economy, markets and levels of consumer spending are influenced by many factors beyond our control, including consumer perception of current and future economic conditions, political uncertainty (including the potential impact of political and regulatory uncertainties in the United States), levels of employment, inflation or deflation, real disposable income, interest rates, taxation and currency exchange rates.
The growth of the PRC economy has slowed in recent years. Further disruptions or continuing or worsening slowdown could significantly reduce domestic commerce in China. A further decrease in economic growth rates or an otherwise uncertain economic outlook in China or any other markets in which we may operate could have a material adverse effect on consumer spending and therefore adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
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Recently there have been changes in international trade policies and rising political tensions, particularly between the U.S. and China, but also as a result of the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia. For instance, the U.S. government has in the past imposed, additional, new, or higher tariffs on certain products imported from China to penalize China for what it characterizes as unfair trade practices. China has responded by imposing additional, new, or higher tariffs on certain products imported from the United States. Although the United States and China entered into the Economic and Trade Agreement between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China as a phase one trade deal, effective on February 14, 2020, it is uncertain whether there will be any further material changes to tariff policies. There have also been concerns about the relationships among China and other Asian countries and the relationship between the United States and certain Asian countries, which may result in or intensify potential conflicts in relation to territorial, regional security and trade disputes. Any further escalation in geopolitical tensions or a trade war, or news and rumors of any escalation, could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and/or the trading prices of our securities. Specifically, the current and future actions or escalations by either the United States or China that affect trade relations may cause or contribute to further slowdowns in Chinese economic growth, the depreciation of the RMB and global economic turmoil, which has the potential to adversely impact our supply chain for our products and potentially have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations, and we cannot provide any assurance as to whether such actions will occur or the form that they may take.
We are subject to litigation risks.
In our ordinary course of business, we may be involved in claims relating to our employees, customers or suppliers or other third parties from time to time. In addition, claims may be brought against us for alleged defective or incomplete work, liabilities for defective products, delayed or improper delivery of products and services, personal injuries and deaths, breaches of warranty, delayed payments to our suppliers, labor disputes or late completion of projects or other contracts. If we were found to be liable for any of the claims, we would have to incur additional costs. Both claims brought against us and by us, if not resolved through negotiation, may be subject to lengthy and expensive litigation or arbitration proceedings. Charges associated with claims brought against us and write-downs associated with claims brought by us could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow. Moreover, legal proceedings resulting in judgments or findings against us may harm our reputation and damage our prospects for future contract awards. In addition, any legal proceedings may divert our management’s attention from our business.
The dispute in connection with the ownership of Ace Lead Profits Limited (“Ace Lead”) may adversely impact us.
We were made aware of a shareholders dispute regarding ownership of Ace Lead Profits Limited, one of our shareholders, reporting to own 4,144,223 ordinary shares of our company, which represents 6.69% of our total outstanding shares as of September 2, 2022. Ace Lead Profits Limited is wholly owned and controlled by Mr. Baiqing Shao, and Mr. Baiqing Shao was reported to be deemed to be a beneficial owner of the shares held by Ace Lead Profits Limited.
In August 2016, Dr. Changli Wang, the then sole shareholder of Ace Lead, one of our record shareholders, transferred his single share in Ace Lead to Mr. Baiqing Shao for a nominal consideration. We were notified that Dr. Wang indicated that, as Mr. Shao had stepped down as our chairman and chief executive officer since July 2020, he should no longer be entitled to any share in Ace Lead and he should immediately transfer the share in Ace Lead to one or more persons designated by Dr. Wang. As of the date of this annual report, Mr. Shao has not transferred the share in ACE Lead to any designees of Dr. Wang.
Our board of directors has received notice from Hollysys Committee on Trust Interests (the “Committee”) that a legal action has been commenced in the Hong Kong High Court against Mr. Shao and Ace Lead on March 9, 2021 disputing the beneficial ownership of the Company’s shares held by Ace Lead and the beneficial ownership of the shares of Ace Lead held by Mr. Shao (the “Legal Action”), and the Hong Kong High Court will hold a hearing on jurisdiction dispute on October 19, 2022. We cannot predict the outcome of the Legal Action, and the ongoing litigation proceedings in connection with the ownership of Ace Lead may cause us or our management, including Dr. Wang, to incur significant time, resources and cost or divert their attention from our business, which could have a negative impact on our business, results of operations, and growth prospects.
 
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If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.
We are subject to reporting obligations under U.S. securities laws. Under these laws, we are required to include in our annual report on Form 20-F a management report on our internal control over financial reporting containing management’s assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, under the U.S. securities laws, an independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.
As reported in this annual report on Form 20-F, our management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of June 30, 2022, and our independent registered public accounting firm has issued an attestation report regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of June 30, 2022. However, if we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, our management and our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able to conclude that we have effective internal control over financial reporting. This could in turn result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements and negatively impact the trading price of our ordinary shares. Furthermore, we have incurred and anticipate that we will continue to incur considerable costs, management time and other resources in an effort to continue to comply with these and other requirements of the U.S. securities laws.
Our employees or third parties may commit fraud or other misconduct that is beyond our control despite the internal control measures in place.
Fraud and other misconduct which may be committed by our employees or third parties can be difficult to prevent or deter despite our internal control measures in place. Such illegal actions could subject us to financial losses and harm our business and operations. For example, if our employees or any third parties we cooperate with commit any misconduct and cause economic losses to our customers or project owners, we may be held responsible for compensating the harmed parties. In addition to potential financial losses, improper acts of our employees or third parties could subject us to third-party claims, regulatory investigations and reputational losses. Any fraud or other misconduct committed by our employees or third parties could have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may be exposed to liabilities under the FCPA, and other anti-corruption laws and sanctions-related laws and regulations, and any determination that we violated these laws could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We are subject to the FCPA, a U.S. federal law which prohibits improper payments or offers of payments to foreign governments and their officials and political parties by U.S. persons and issuers as defined by the statute, for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. We have operations, agreements with third parties, and substantially all of our sales outside of the United States, mostly in China, but also in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The PRC and other governments in the markets in which we operate also strictly prohibit bribery of government officials. Our activities in China, in particular, create the risk of unauthorized payments or offers of payments by our employees, consultants, sales agents, or distributors, as they may not always be subject to our control. It is our policy to implement safeguards to discourage these practices by our employees. However, our existing safeguards and any future improvements may prove to be less than effective, and our employees, consultants, sales agents, or distributors may engage in conduct for which we might be held responsible. Violations of the FCPA, Chinese anti-corruption laws and other applicable anti-corruption laws may result in severe criminal or civil sanctions, and we may be subject to other liabilities, which could negatively affect our business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, the U.S. government may seek to hold us liable for successor liability FCPA violations committed by companies in which we invest or which we acquire.
 
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In addition, as a result of our overseas operations, we may be exposed to risks arising from economic sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and other countries or regions against investments and commercial activities with individuals, entities and governments in various regions and countries. While we are in the process of strengthening our compliance program, we may not have control over third parties who may purchase products from us for use in countries and regions subject to sanctions. This may expose us to potential sanctions-related liabilities and have a material adverse effect on our business and reputation.
An outbreak of disease or similar public health threat, or fear of such an event, could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.
With operations in China and other countries worldwide, we are subject to numerous risks outside of our control, including risks arising from natural disasters, such as fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, unusual weather conditions, epidemics (including COVID-19 pandemic) and other global health emergencies, supply chain disruption, terrorist acts or disruptive global political events, or similar disruptions that could materially adversely affect business and financial performance.
Any public health emergencies, including a real or potential global pandemic such as those caused by the avian flu, SARS, Ebola, coronavirus, or even a particularly virulent flu, could decrease demand for our products and services. The outbreak of COVID-19, which has been declared by the World Health Organization to be a “pandemic,” has spread across many countries and is impacting worldwide economic activity. A public health epidemic, including COVID-19, poses the risk that we or our employees, suppliers, consumers, and other business partners may be prevented from conducting business activities for an indefinite period of time, including due to shutdowns that may be requested or mandated by governmental authorities. Given the interconnectivity of the global supply chain and global economy, and the possible rate of future global transmission, the impact of COVID-19 may extend beyond the areas which are currently known to be impacted. While we have seen gradual recovery of our overall business as well as the supply chain, customer bidding, project execution and cash collection resulting from improving health statistics in China since March 2020, the potential downturn brought by and the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic may be difficult to assess or predict, and any associated negative impact on our business in China and overseas will depend on many factors beyond our control. Major factors include the extent of resurgences of the disease and its variants, vaccine distribution and other actions taken to contain the impact of COVID-19. The measures taken by the governments of countries affected could disrupt the demand from our customers, our sales efforts, the delivery of our products and services, reduce our customers’ ability to pay and adversely impact our oversea business, financial condition and results, or results of operations.
Our business is subject to risks associated with political, economic, financial or other conditions or developments in various jurisdictions, including the United States.
We sell our products to various overseas jurisdictions. Our activities may be impacted by any increase in the use of export control restrictions and sanctions to target certain countries and companies, any expansion of the extraterritorial jurisdiction of export control laws, or a complete or partial ban on technology products sales to certain companies could impact not only our ability to continue supplying products to certain customers or source products from certain suppliers. While we take precautions to prevent our products or services to be provided or sourced in violation of these laws, we cannot guarantee that the precautions we take will always be effective to ensure continued compliance with these laws and regulations, including if purchasers of our products bring our products and services into sanctioned countries without our knowledge, or there is a further tightening of export control measures on our customers or supplies. For example, any violations of sanctions or export control laws in the United States can result in significant fines or penalties, including criminal penalties for willful conduct. Risks of cross-border sales, including those related to export and import control, economic sanctions and international trade, could negatively affect our business and financial status and therefore the market value of your investment.
Increasing focus with respect to environmental, social and governance matters may impose additional costs on us or expose us to additional risks. Failure to comply with the laws and regulations on environmental, social and governance matters may subject us to penalties and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
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The PRC government and public advocacy groups have been increasingly focused on environment, social and governance, or ESG, issues in recent years, making our business more sensitive to ESG issues and changes in governmental policies and laws and regulations associated with environment protection and other ESG-related matters. Investor advocacy groups, certain institutional investors, investment funds, and other influential investors are also increasingly focused on ESG practices and in recent years have placed increasing importance on the implications and social cost of their investments. Regardless of the industry, increased focus from investors and the PRC government on ESG and similar matters may hinder access to capital, as investors may decide to reallocate capital or to not commit capital as a result of their assessment of a company’s ESG practices. Any ESG concern or issue could increase our regulatory compliance costs. If we do not adapt to or comply with the evolving expectations and standards on ESG matters from investors and the PRC government or are perceived to have not responded appropriately to the growing concern for ESG issues, regardless of whether there is a legal requirement to do so, we may suffer from reputational damage and the business, financial condition, and the price of our ordinary shares could be materially and adversely effected.
Risks Related to Doing Business in China
Changes in the economic and political policies of the PRC government could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and may result in our inability to sustain our growth and expansion strategies.
We conduct a substantial portion of our business in China through our subsidiaries. Accordingly, our results of operations, financial condition and prospects are to a significant extent affected by economic and political developments in China. In particular, the PRC government continues to exercise significant control over the economic growth of the PRC through allocating resources, controlling payments of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatments to particular industries or companies. In recent years, the PRC government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces in reforming the economy. These economic reform measures may be adjusted or modified or applied inconsistently from industry to industry, or across different regions of the country. As a result, some of these measures may benefit the overall economy of the PRC, but may have an adverse effect on us.
Although China is committed to expanding its energy production with nuclear power and building a high-speed railway network, both these industries experienced setbacks due to higher than expected accidents, such as the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and a fatal high-speed railway accident near Wenzhou, China in 2011. Moreover, future accidents in these two sectors could adversely affect these sectors and our business. The PRC has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies as measured by GDP in recent years. However, economic activity in the PRC has slowed down recently and it may not return to the levels of previous years. In an effort to support the growth of the Chinese economy, the PRC government has implemented and may continue to implement various monetary and other economic measures to expand investments in infrastructure projects, increase liquidity in the credit markets and encourage employment. However, there is no assurance that these monetary and economic measures will succeed. If the Chinese economy continues to experience a slowdown or experiences a recession, there may be a delay or reduction in, or cancellation of, projects available to us and demand for the services and products we provide in our various business segments may grow at a lower-than-expected rate or otherwise decrease. We cannot assure you that we will be able to make timely adjustments to our business and operational strategies so as to capture and benefit from the potential business opportunities presented to us as a result of the changes in the economic and other policies of the PRC government. The PRC government will continue to make adjustments to its economic policy objectives and measures in the future, which may include or result in a significant reduction in its budget for investments in infrastructure and other projects. This could have an adverse effect on our business and operations. Moreover, unfavorable financing and other economic conditions for the industries that we serve could negatively impact our customers and their ability or willingness to fund capital expenditures in the future or pay for past services.
Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system, including uncertainties regarding the enforcement of laws, and sudden or unexpected changes in policies, laws and regulations in China, could adversely affect us.
 
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Our activities are primarily conducted in the PRC, hence our business operations are regulated primarily by PRC laws, rules and regulations. PRC laws and regulations are based on written statutes, and past court judgments may have limited value as precedents. Because PRC laws and regulations are still evolving, and because of the limited number and non-binding nature of published cases, there exist uncertainties about their interpretation and enforcement. In particular, because these laws, rules and regulations are relatively new, and because of the limited number of published decisions and the non-precedential nature of these decisions, and because the laws, rules and regulations often give the relevant regulator significant discretion in how to enforce them, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws, rules and regulations involve uncertainties and can be inconsistent and unpredictable. Therefore, it is possible that our existing operations may be found not to be in full compliance with relevant laws and regulations in the future. In addition, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all, and which may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until after the occurrence of the violation.
Any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. These uncertainties may impede our ability to enforce the contracts we have entered into and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The PRC government may intervene in or influence our operations at any time, or may exert more control over our future overseas offerings or foreign investments in us, which could result in a material change in our operations, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors, and could cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless.
Our operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. The PRC government has significant oversight and discretion over the conduct of our business and may intervene with or influence our operations at any time. The PRC government has published new policies that significantly affected certain industries, and we cannot rule out the possibility that it will in the future release regulations or policies regarding our industry that could require us to seek permission from PRC authorities to continue to operate our business, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Furthermore, the PRC government has also recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over securities offerings and other capital markets activities that are conducted overseas and foreign investment in China-based companies. Any such action, once taken by the PRC government, could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or in extreme cases, become worthless.
As there are still regulatory uncertainties in this regard, we cannot assure you that we will be able to comply with new laws and regulations in all respects, and we may be ordered to rectify, suspend or terminate any actions or services that are deemed illegal by the regulatory authorities and become subject to material penalties, which may materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
PRC regulations regarding acquisitions impose significant regulatory approval and review requirements, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions.
On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”), the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration of Taxation (the “SAT”), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (now known as State Administration for Market Regulation), the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or the SAFE, jointly adopted the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, which came into effect on September 8, 2006 and were amended on June 22, 2009 by MOFCOM. The M&A Rules, and other adopted regulations and rules concerning mergers and acquisitions established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time consuming and complex. For example, the M&A Rules require that MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise, if (i) any important industry is concerned, (ii) such transaction involves factors that impact or may impact national economic security, or (iii) such transaction will lead to a change in control of a domestic enterprise which holds a famous trademark or PRC time-honored brand. In addition, in 2011, the General Office of the State Council promulgated a Notice on Establishing the Security Review System for Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, also known as Circular 6, which officially established a security review system for mergers and acquisitions of domestic enterprises by foreign investors. Further, MOFCOM promulgated the Regulations on Implementation of Security Review System for the Merger and Acquisition of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, effective 2011, to implement Circular 6. Under Circular 6, a security review is required for mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors having “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions by which foreign investors may acquire the “
de facto
control” of domestic enterprises with “national security” concerns.
 
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In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the above-mentioned regulations and other relevant rules to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from MOFCOM or its local counterparts, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions. It is unclear whether our business would be deemed to be in an industry that raises “national defense and security” or “national security” concerns. However, MOFCOM or other government agencies may publish explanations in the future determining that our business is in an industry subject to the security review, in which case our future acquisitions in the PRC, including those by way of entering into contractual control arrangements with target entities, may be closely scrutinized or prohibited. Our ability to expand our business or maintain or expand our market share through future acquisitions would as such be materially and adversely affected, which creates significant uncertainty as to whether transactions that we may undertake would subject us to fines or other administrative penalties and negative publicity and whether we will be able to complete strategic acquisitions in the future in a timely manner or at all.
The approval, filing or other requirements of the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required under PRC law in connection with our issuance of securities overseas or maintenance of the listing status of our ordinary shares could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ordinary shares.
The M&A Rules purport to require offshore special purpose vehicles that are controlled by PRC companies or individuals and that have been formed for the purpose of seeking a public listing on an overseas stock exchange through acquisitions of PRC domestic companies or assets to obtain CSRC approval prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock exchange. The interpretation and application of the regulations remain unclear. If CSRC approval under the M&A Rules is required for any of our future offerings of securities overseas or to maintain the listing status of our ordinary shares, it is uncertain whether it would be possible for us to obtain the approval, and any failure to obtain or delay in obtaining CSRC approval for our future issuance of securities overseas would subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC and other PRC regulatory agencies.
Furthermore, the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over “illegal securities activities” and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies, and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies, although such opinions did not specify the definition of “illegal securities activities.” Such opinions further provided that the special provisions of the State Council on overseas offerings and listings by those companies limited by shares will be revised and therefore the duties of domestic industry competent authorities and regulatory agencies will be clarified. As of the date of this annual report, no official national guidance and related implementation rules have been issued in relation to these recently issued opinions and the interpretation and implementation of these opinions remain unclear at this stage. In addition, new rules or regulations promulgated in the future could impose additional requirements on us.
 
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Additionally, the amended Cybersecurity Review Measures, or Cybersecurity Review Measures, was promulgated by the CAC and several other administrations in January 2020 and became effective on February 15, 2022. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, an “internet platform operator” who has personal information of more than one million users and is seeking to list its securities in a foreign country, must apply to the relevant cybersecurity review office for a cybersecurity review. Given the current nature of our business in China, we do not believe we are an “internet platform operator” who has personal information of more than one million users and is required to file for a cybersecurity review pursuant to the Cybersecurity Review Measures. However, we cannot guarantee that the relevant PRC regulatory agency will take a view that is not contrary to or otherwise from the opinion stated above. If the CSRC or other relevant PRC regulatory agencies subsequently determine that prior approval is required for any of our future offerings of securities overseas or to maintain the listing status of our ordinary shares, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain such approval in a timely manner, or at all. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies also may take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, not to proceed with such offering or maintain the listing status of our ordinary shares. If we proceed with any of such offering or maintain the listing status of our ordinary shares without obtaining the approval of the relevant PRC regulatory agency, to the extent it is required, or if we are unable to comply with any new approval requirements which might be adopted for offerings that we have completed prior to the publication of the above-referenced opinions, we may face regulatory actions or other sanctions from the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies. These regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on our operations in China, limit our ability to pay dividends outside of China, limit our operating privileges in China, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from the offering of securities overseas into China or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ordinary shares.
On December 24, 2021, the CSRC issued two draft regulations relating to overseas listing, namely the Provisions of the State Council on the Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments) and Administrative Measures for the Filing of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments). These draft regulations stipulate that PRC domestic companies that seek to offer and list securities in overseas markets directly or indirectly shall fulfill the filing procedures with and report relevant information to the CSRC. Pursuant to these draft regulations, if the issuer meets the following conditions, its offering and listing will be determined as an “indirect overseas offering and listing by a PRC domestic company” and is therefore subject to the filing requirement: (i) the revenues, profits, total assets or net assets of the Chinese operating entities in the most recent financial year accounts for more than 50% of the corresponding data in the issuer’s audited consolidated financial statements for the same period; (ii) the majority of senior management in charge of business operation are Chinese citizens or have domicile in PRC, and its principal place of business is located in PRC or main business activities are conducted in PRC. In a Q&A released on its official website, the respondent CSRC official indicated that the CSRC will start applying the filing requirements to new offerings and listings. New initial public offerings and refinancing by existing overseas listed Chinese companies will be required to go through the filing process. As for the other filings for the existing companies, the regulator will grant adequate transition period to complete their filing procedures. On April 2, 2022, the CSRC published the Provisions on Strengthening the Management of Confidentiality and Archives Related to the draft Overseas Issuance of Securities and Overseas Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Public Comments), or the Draft Confidentiality and Archives Management Provisions relating to Overseas Listing, for public comments. In the overseas listing activities of domestic companies, domestic companies, as well as securities companies and securities service institutions providing relevant securities services hereof, should establish a sound system of confidentiality and archival work, shall not disclose state secrets, or harm the state and public interests. Where a domestic company provides or publicly discloses to the relevant securities companies, securities service institutions, overseas regulatory authorities and other entities and individuals, or provides or publicly discloses through its overseas listing entity, any document or material involving any state secret or any work secret of organs and organizations, it shall report to the competent authority for approval in accordance with the law, and submit to the secrecy administration department for filing. Domestic companies shall not provide accounting records to an overseas accounting firm that has not performed the corresponding procedures. Securities companies and securities service organizations shall comply with the confidentiality and archive management requirements, and keep the documents and materials properly. Securities companies and securities service institutions that provide domestic enterprises with relevant securities services for overseas issuance and listing of securities shall keep such archives they compile within the territory of the PRC and shall not transfer such archives to overseas institutions or individuals, by any means such as carriage, shipment or information technology, without the approval of the relevant competent authorities. If the archives or duplicates of such archives are of important value to the state and society and needed to be taken abroad, approval shall be obtained in accordance with relevant provisions. As advised by our PRC legal counsel, the period for public comment on these draft regulations has ended and their provisions and anticipated adoption or effective date are subject to changes and thus their interpretation and implementation remain substantially uncertain. It also remains unclear on whether a US-listed company, like us, is subject to the CSRC filing procedures, to maintain the listing of its securities in a foreign country. As of the date of this annual report, we cannot predict the impact of these regulations on maintaining the listing status of our ordinary shares and/or other securities, or any of our future offerings of securities overseas in a foreign country.
 
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Moreover, if there are any other approvals, filings and/or other administration procedures to be obtained from or completed with the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies as required by any new laws and regulations for any of our future proposed offering of securities overseas or the listing of the ordinary shares, we cannot assure you that we can obtain the required approval or complete the required filings or other regulatory procedures in a timely manner, or at all. Any failure to obtain the relevant approvals or complete the filings and other relevant regulatory procedures may subject us to regulatory actions or other sanctions from the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
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, our investors are deprived of the benefits of such inspection. In addition, the enactment of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act and the adoption of any rules, legislations or other efforts to increase U.S. regulatory access to audit information could cause uncertainty and our securities listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market could be delisted or prohibited from being traded “over-the-counter” if we are unable to meet the PCAOB requirement in time.
The registered public accounting firm that issues the audit report included in this annual report, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the United States and professional standards.
Our current auditor is located in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB has determined it is currently unable to conduct full inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities.
Inspections of other firms that the PCAOB has conducted outside China, including outside Hong Kong, have identified deficiencies in those firms’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which can be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality. The lack of PCAOB inspections in China, including Hong Kong, prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditors’ audit procedures and quality control procedures as they relate to their work, and/or their affiliated independent registered public accounting firms’ work, in China, including Hong Kong. As a result, we and investors are deprived of the benefits of such regular inspections.
The inability of the PCAOB to conduct full inspections of auditors in mainland China and Hong Kong makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures and quality control procedures as compared to auditors who primarily work in jurisdictions where the PCAOB has full inspection access. In addition, the SEC may initiate proceedings against our independent registered public accounting firm, whether in connection with an audit of our company or China-based companies, which could result in the imposition of penalties against our independent registered public accounting firm, such as suspension of its ability to practice before the SEC. All of these could cause our investors and potential investors in our ordinary shares and other securities to lose confidence in our audit procedures, reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.
In May 2013, the PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the CSRC, and the PRC Ministry of Finance, which established a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations undertaken by the PCAOB, the CSRC or the PRC Ministry of Finance in the United States and the PRC. The PCAOB continued to discuss with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance on joint inspections in the PRC of PCAOB-registered audit firms that provide auditing services to Chinese companies that trade on U.S. stock exchanges. In December 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement on regulatory access to audit and other information internationally that cites the ongoing challenges faced by them in overseeing the financial reporting of companies listed in the United States with operations in China, the absence of satisfactory progress in discussions on these issues with Chinese authorities and the potential for remedial action if significant information barriers persist. In April 2020, the SEC and the PCAOB issued another joint statement reiterating the greater risks of insufficient disclosures from companies in many emerging markets, including China, compared to those from U.S. domestic companies. In discussing the specific issues related to these risks, the statement again highlighted the PCAOB’s inability to inspect audit work and practices of accounting firms in China with respect to U.S. reporting companies.
 
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In recent years, U.S. regulators have continued to express their concerns about challenges in their oversight of financial statement audits of U.S.-listed companies with significant operations in China. More recently, as part of increased regulatory focus in the United States on access to audit information, the United States enacted the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (the “HFCA Act”) in December 2020. The HFCA Act includes requirements for the SEC to identify issuers whose audit reports are prepared by auditors that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a restriction imposed by a non-U.S. authority in the auditor’s local jurisdiction. The HFCA Act also requires public companies on this SEC list to certify that they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government and make certain additional disclosures in their SEC filings. In addition, if the auditor of a U.S. listed company’s financial statements is not subject to PCAOB inspections for three consecutive “non-inspection” years after the law becomes effective, the SEC is required to prohibit the securities of such issuer from being traded on a U.S. national securities exchange, such as the NASDAQ, or in U.S. over-the-counter markets. On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which if enacted into law would amend the HFCA Act and require the SEC to prohibit an issuer’s securities from trading on U.S. stock exchanges if its auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspections for two consecutive “non-inspection” years instead of three. On February 4, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which contained, among other things, an identical provision. If this provision is enacted into law and the number of consecutive non-inspection years required for triggering the prohibitions under the HFCA Act is reduced from three years to two, then our ordinary shares could be prohibited from trading in the United States as early as 2023.
On September 22, 2021, the PCAOB adopted PCAOB Rule 6100 Board Determinations under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which provides a framework for making determinations as to whether PCAOB is unable to inspect an audit firm in a foreign jurisdiction, which the SEC approved on November 5, 2021. On December 2, 2021, the SEC adopted final amendments to its rules implementing the HFCA Act. On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued its report notifying the SEC of its determination that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely accounting firms headquartered in China or Hong Kong, including our independent registered public accounting firm, Union Power HK CPA Limited. In March 2022, the SEC began identifying “commission-identified issuers” that are not in compliance with the accounting-related procedures of the HFCA Act and could be subject to potential delisting from U.S. exchanges over time. On August 26, 2022, the PCAOB signed a Statement of Protocol with the CSRC and the Ministry of Finance of the PRC, taking the first step toward opening access for the PCAOB to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong. By the end of 2022, the PCAOB is required to assess whether China remains a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is not able to inspect and investigate completely auditors registered with the PCAOB. There is no assurance that the PCAOB will be able to complete such inspections and investigations in mainland China and Hong Kong and reassess its determination in a timely and adequate manner or at all. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if, in the future, we have been identified by the SEC for three consecutive years (or two consecutive years if the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act is signed into law) as a “commission-identified issuer” whose registered public accounting firm is determined by the PCAOB that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a position taken by one or more authorities in China, the SEC may prohibit our ordinary shares from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States by 2024 (or 2023 if the Accelerating Foreign Companies Accountable Act is signed into law). The potential delisting would substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our ordinary shares when you wish to do so, and the risk and uncertainty associated with delisting would have a negative impact on the price of our ordinary shares. Also, such a delisting would significantly affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, which would have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and prospects. If our ordinary shares are delisted from the U.S. exchange and are prohibited from trading in the over-the-counter market in the U.S., there is no certainty that we will be able to list on a non-U.S. exchange or that a market for our ordinary shares will develop outside of the U.S.
We may be subject to fines and legal sanctions imposed by SAFE or other Chinese government authorities and our ability to further grant restricted shares or share options to, and to adopt additional share incentive plans for, our directors and employees may be restricted if we or the participants of our share incentive plans fail to comply with PRC regulations relating to restricted shares or share options granted by offshore special purpose companies or offshore listed companies to PRC participants.
 
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Pursuant to the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Offshore Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles promulgated by SAFE, on July 4, 2014, or SAFE Circular 37, PRC residents who participate in share incentive plans in overseas non-publicly-listed companies may submit applications to SAFE or its local branches for the foreign exchange registration with respect to offshore special purpose companies. In the meantime, our directors, executive officers and other employees who are PRC citizens or who are non-PRC citizens residing in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year, subject to limited exceptions, and who have been granted restricted shares or share options, by us may follow the Notice on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, or SAFE Circular 7, issued by SAFE in February 2012, to apply for the foreign exchange registration. According to the SAFE Circular 7, employees, directors, supervisors and other management members participating in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company who are PRC citizens or who are non-PRC citizens residing in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year, subject to limited exceptions, are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which may be a PRC subsidiary of the overseas listed company, and complete certain other procedures. Failure to complete the SAFE registrations may subject them to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit the ability to make payment under the relevant equity incentive plans or receive dividends or sales proceeds related thereto, or our ability to contribute additional capital to our wholly-foreign owned enterprises in China and limit our wholly-foreign owned enterprises’ ability to distribute dividends to us. We also face regulatory uncertainties under PRC law that could restrict our ability or the ability of our overseas listed subsidiaries to adopt additional equity incentive plans for our directors and employees who are PRC citizens or who are non-PRC residents residing in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year, subject to limited exceptions.
In addition, the SAT has issued circulars concerning share options and restricted shares. Under these circulars, employees working in the PRC who exercise share options, or whose restricted shares vest, will be subject to PRC individual income tax. The PRC subsidiaries of an overseas listed company have obligations to file documents related to employee share options or restricted shares with relevant tax authorities and to withhold individual income taxes of those employees related to their share options or restricted shares. Although we currently withhold income tax from our PRC employees in connection with their exercise of options and the vesting of their restricted shares, if the employees fail to pay, or our PRC subsidiaries fail to withhold, their income taxes according to relevant laws, rules and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries may face sanctions imposed by the tax authorities.
Government control over the conversion of foreign exchange may limit our ability to utilize our revenues effectively and affect the value of your investment.
The PRC government imposes control on the convertibility of the RMB into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our revenues in RMB. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior SAFE approval by complying with certain procedural requirements. Therefore, our PRC subsidiaries are able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to us without prior approval from SAFE. However, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access to foreign currencies for current account transactions in the future. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders.
Fluctuations in exchange rates could harm our business and the value of our shares.
The value of our shares will be indirectly affected by the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollars and those currencies in which our sales may be denominated. Because a large portion of our earnings and cash assets are denominated in RMB, SGD and MYR, and our financial results are reported in U.S. dollars, fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and RMB, SGD and MYR will affect our balance sheet and our earnings per share as stated in U.S. dollars. In addition, appreciation or depreciation in the value of the RMB, SGD and MYR relative to the U.S. dollar would affect our financial results reported in U.S. dollar terms without giving effect to any underlying change in our business or results of operations. Fluctuations in the exchange rate will also affect the relative value of any dividend we issue that will be exchanged into U.S. dollars as well as earnings from, and the value of, any U.S. dollar-denominated investments we make in the future.
 
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Very limited hedging transactions are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. The effectiveness of these transactions may be limited, and we may not be able to successfully hedge our exposure at all. In addition, our foreign currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert RMB into foreign currencies.
PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident shareholders to personal liability and limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute profits to us, or otherwise adversely affect us.
Pursuant to SAFE Circular 37, any PRC citizens or residents, including both PRC institutions and individual residents, are required to register with the local SAFE branch before making contributions to a company set up or controlled by PRC residents outside of the PRC for the purpose of overseas investment or financing with their legally-owned domestic or offshore assets or interests, referred to in this circular as a “special purpose vehicle.” In addition, such PRC residents or entities must update their SAFE registrations when the offshore special purpose vehicle undergoes material events relating to any change of basic information (including change of such PRC citizens or residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, or mergers or divisions. In February 2015, SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment, which became effective on June 1, 2015. This notice has amended SAFE Circular 37, requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing.
We attempt to comply, and attempt to ensure that our shareholders and beneficial owners of our shares who are subject to these rules comply, with the relevant requirements. We cannot provide any assurance that our shareholders and beneficial owners of our shares who are PRC residents have complied or will comply with the requirements imposed by Circular 37 or other related rules. Any failure by any of our shareholders and beneficial owners of our shares who are PRC residents to comply with relevant requirements under this regulation could subject such shareholders, beneficial owners and us to fines or sanctions imposed by the PRC government, including limitations on our relevant subsidiary’s ability to pay dividends or make distributions to us and our ability to increase our investment in China, or other penalties that may adversely affect our operations. These risks may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The enforcement of the Labor Contract Law and other labor-related regulations in the PRC may increase our labor costs, impose limitations on our labor practices and adversely affect our business and our results of operations.
The PRC’s Labor Contract Law contains specific provisions related to fixed-term employment contracts, part-time employment, probation, consultation with labor unions and employee assemblies, employment without a written contract, dismissal of employees, severance, and collective bargaining, which together represent enhanced enforcement of labor laws and regulations. According to the Labor Contract Law, an employer is obliged to sign an unfixed-term labor contract with any employee who has worked for the employer for ten consecutive years. Further, if an employee requests or agrees to renew a fixed-term labor contract that has already been entered into twice consecutively, the resulting contract must have an unfixed term, with certain exceptions. The employer must pay economic compensation to an employee when a labor contract is terminated or expires in accordance with the Labor Contract Law, except for certain situations which are specifically regulated. In addition, the government has issued various labor-related regulations to further protect the rights of employees. According to such laws and regulations, employees are entitled to annual leave ranging from five to 15 days and are able to be compensated for any untaken annual leave days in the amount of three times their daily salary, subject to certain exceptions. In the event that we decide to change our employment or labor practices, the Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules may limit our ability to effect those changes in a manner that we believe to be cost-effective. In addition, as the interpretation and implementation of these new regulations are still evolving, our employment practices may not be at all times deemed in compliance with the new regulations. We could be subject to severe penalties or incur significant liabilities in connection with labor disputes or investigations, as a result of which our business and financial conditions may be adversely affected.
 
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Dividends payable to our foreign investors and gains on the sale of our shares by our foreign investors may become subject to PRC tax.
Under the Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation regulations issued by the State Council, a 10% PRC withholding tax is applicable by a PRC resident enterprise to dividends payable to investors that are non-resident enterprises, which do not have an establishment or place of business in the PRC or which have such establishment or place of business but the dividends are not effectively connected with such establishment or place of business, to the extent such dividends are derived from sources within the PRC. Similarly, any gain realized on the transfer of the shares of a PRC resident enterprise by such investors is also subject to PRC tax at a current rate of 10%, subject to any reduction or exemption set forth in applicable tax treaties or under applicable tax arrangements between jurisdictions, if such gain is regarded as income derived from sources within the PRC. If we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends paid on our ordinary shares, and any gain realized from the transfer of our ordinary shares, would be treated as income derived from sources within the PRC and would as a result be subject to PRC taxation. Furthermore, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends payable to individual investors who are non-PRC residents and any gain realized on the transfer of our ordinary shares by such investors may be subject to PRC tax at a current rate of 20%, subject to any reduction or exemption set forth in applicable tax treaties or under applicable tax arrangements between jurisdictions. If we or any of our subsidiaries established outside the PRC are considered a PRC resident enterprise, it is unclear whether holders of our ordinary shares would be able to claim the benefit of income tax treaties or agreements entered into between China and other countries or areas. If dividends payable to our non-PRC investors, or gains from the transfer of our ordinary shares by such investors, are deemed to be income derived from sources within the PRC and thus subject to PRC tax, the value of your investment in our ordinary shares may decline significantly.
We rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements.
Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd. is a holding company incorporated in the BVI. We generally rely on our subsidiaries in China to provide us with cash flow and to meet our other obligations. Current PRC regulations permit our subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits upon satisfaction of relevant statutory conditions and procedures, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, each of our subsidiaries in China is required to set aside a certain amount of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserves. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. Furthermore, if our subsidiaries in China incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us. The inability of our subsidiaries to distribute dividends or other payments to us could restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements.
We may be treated as a resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes under the Enterprise Income Tax Law, which could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our shareholders and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.
Under the Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementing rules, enterprises established under the laws of jurisdictions outside of China with “
de facto
management bodies” located in China may be considered PRC tax resident enterprises for tax purposes and may be subject to the PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on their global income. “
De facto
management body” refers to a managing body that exercises substantive and overall management and control over the production and business, personnel, accounting books and assets of an enterprise. The SAT issued the Notice Regarding the Determination of Chinese-Controlled Offshore-Incorporated Enterprises as PRC Tax Resident Enterprises on the Basis of
De Facto
Management Bodies, or Circular 82, on April 22, 2009. Circular 82 provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “
de facto
management body” of a Chinese-controlled offshore-incorporated enterprise is located in China. Although Circular 82 only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises, not those controlled by foreign enterprises or individuals, the determining criteria set forth in Circular 82 may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “
de facto
management bodies” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of offshore enterprises, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises. If we were to be considered a PRC resident enterprise, we would be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on our global income. In such a case, our profitability and cash flow may be materially reduced as a result of our global income being taxed under the Enterprise Income Tax Law. On July 27, 2011, the SAT issued Administrative Measures of Enterprise Income Tax of Chinese-controlled Offshore Incorporated Resident Enterprises (Trial), or Bulletin 45, which became effective on September 1, 2011, amended on April 14, 2015 and partially replaced by Announcement of State Administration of Taxation on Matters Relating to Chinese Tax Resident Identity Certificates, which became effective on October 1, 2016, to provide further guidance on the implementation of Circular 82. Bulletin 45 clarifies certain issues related to determining PRC resident enterprise status and post-determination administration. Bulletin 45 specifies that when provided with a copy of a Chinese tax resident determination certificate issued by the competent tax authorities from an offshore incorporated PRC resident enterprise, the payer should not withhold tax when paying PRC-sourced dividends, interest and royalties to the offshore incorporated PRC resident enterprise. On January 29, 2014, the SAT further issued Announcement on Determination of Resident Enterprises under
De Facto
Management Body Standard, or Bulletin 9, which delegates the determination of the status of offshore incorporated PRC resident enterprise to the provincial-level tax authorities. Bulletin 9 is applicable to the enterprise income tax filings for 2013 and onwards. Although Circular 82 applies only to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC corporate groups and not those controlled by PRC individuals or non-PRC persons, the determining criteria set forth in Circular 82 may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “
de facto
management body” test should be applied in determining the tax residency status of offshore enterprises, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises or individuals or foreign enterprises. We believe that none of our entities outside of China is a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “
de facto
management bodies.”
 
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We cannot assure you that the PRC tax authorities will not, at their discretion, adjust any capital gains and impose tax return filing and withholding or tax payment obligations with respect to any internal restructuring, and our PRC subsidiaries may be requested to assist in the filing. Any PRC tax imposed on a transfer of our shares not through a public stock exchange, or any adjustment of such gains would cause us to incur additional costs and may have a negative impact on the value of your investment in our company.
We and our shareholders face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises or other assets attributed to a PRC establishment of a non-PRC company.
On February 3, 2015, the SAT issued the Bulletin on Issues of Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Transfers of Assets by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 7, which replaced or supplemented certain previous rules under the Notice on Strengthening Administration of Enterprise Income Tax for Share Transfers by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or Circular 698, issued by the SAT, on December 10, 2009. Pursuant to Bulletin 7, an “indirect transfer” of assets, including equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise, by non-PRC resident enterprises may be re-characterized and treated as a direct transfer of PRC taxable assets, if the arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of PRC enterprise income tax. As a result, gains derived from this indirect transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax.
According to Bulletin 7, “PRC taxable assets” include assets attributed to an establishment or a place of business in China, immoveable properties located in China, and equity investments in PRC resident enterprises, in respect of which gains from their transfer by a direct holder, being a non-PRC resident enterprise, would be subject to PRC enterprise income taxes. When determining whether there is a “reasonable commercial purpose” of the transaction arrangement, factors to be taken into consideration include: whether the main value of the equity interest of the relevant offshore enterprise directly or indirectly derives from PRC taxable assets; whether the assets of the relevant offshore enterprise mainly consists of direct or indirect investment in China or if its income mainly derives from China, directly or indirectly; whether the offshore enterprise and its subsidiaries directly or indirectly holding PRC taxable assets have real commercial nature which is evidenced by their actual function and risk exposure; the duration of the existence of the business model and organizational structure; the foreign income tax liabilities arising from the indirect transfer of PRC taxable assets; the replicability of the transaction by direct transfer of PRC taxable assets; and the applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements. In respect of an indirect offshore transfer of assets of a PRC establishment or place of business, the resulting gain is to be included with the enterprise income tax filing of the PRC establishment or place of business being transferred, and would consequently be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a rate of 25%. Where the underlying transfer relates to the immoveable properties located in China or to equity investments in a PRC resident enterprise, which is not related to a PRC establishment or place of business of a non-resident enterprise, a PRC enterprise income tax at 10% would apply, subject to available preferential tax treatment under applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements, and the party who is obligated to make the transfer payments has the withholding obligation. Where the payor fails to withhold any or sufficient tax, the transferor shall declare and pay such tax to the tax authority by itself within the statutory time limit. Late payment of applicable tax will subject the transferor to default interest. Bulletin 7 does not apply to transactions of sale of shares by investors through a public stock exchange where the shares are acquired from a transaction through a public stock exchange.
 
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There are uncertainties as to the application of Bulletin 7. Bulletin 7 may be determined by the tax authorities to be applicable to some of our offshore restructuring transactions or sale of the shares of our offshore subsidiaries or investments where PRC taxable assets are involved. The transferors and transferees may be subject to the tax filing and withholding or tax payment obligation, while our PRC subsidiaries may be requested to assist in the filing. Furthermore, we, our non-resident enterprises and our PRC subsidiaries may be required to spend valuable resources to comply with Bulletin 7 or to establish that we, our non-resident enterprises and our PRC subsidiaries should not be taxed under Bulletin 7, for our previous and future restructuring or disposal of shares of our offshore subsidiaries, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
The PRC tax authorities have the discretion under Circular 698/Bulletin 7 to make adjustments to the taxable capital gains based on the difference between the fair value of the taxable assets transferred and the cost of investment. If the PRC tax authorities make adjustments to the taxable income of the transactions under Circular 698/Bulletin 7, our income tax costs associated with potential acquisitions or disposals will increase, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Any loss of or reduction in the preferential tax treatment and VAT refunds and government subsidies we currently enjoy in the PRC or our non-compliance with the relevant PRC tax laws and regulations may negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We benefit from tax incentives and receive government grants. As of the date of this annual report, Beijing Hollysys, Hangzhou Hollysys and Hollysys Industrial Software are recognized as high and new technology enterprises (the “HNTEs”) by the PRC government, which entitle each of them to a reduced income tax rate of 15% (compared to the statutory income tax rate of 25%). The qualification as an HNTE is subject to annual evaluation and a three-year review by the relevant authorities in the PRC. In order to maintain such qualifications and the preferential tax rates, these subsidiaries must submit a review application to relevant agencies. The HNTE qualification of these subsidiaries will expire in July 2023, November 2023 and October 2022, respectively. However, we cannot assure you that any of our subsidiaries that currently qualify as HNTEs will continue to qualify for such status in the future. If those subsidiaries fail to maintain their HNTE qualifications or renew these qualifications when the relevant term expires, their applicable income tax rates would increase to 25%, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, the PRC government could eliminate any of these preferential tax treatments before their scheduled expiration.
In addition, we received VAT refunds and government subsidies of approximately $27.4 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022. The state tax bureaus in China provide refunds out of the value added tax, which we refer to as VAT, which they collect in order to encourage the research and development efforts made by certain qualified enterprises. The local governments in China also provide financial subsidies to encourage research and development efforts made by certain qualified enterprises. Some of our PRC subsidiaries have received such refunds and subsidies. The amounts of and conditions attached to these grants were determined at the sole discretion of the relevant governmental authorities. We cannot assure you that these PRC subsidiaries will be eligible to continue to receive these government grants or that the amount of any such grants will not be reduced in the future, and even if they continue to be eligible to receive these grants, we cannot guarantee that any conditions attached to the grants will be as favorable to us as they have historically been.
Furthermore, we are subject to periodic examinations on our fulfillment of tax obligations under the PRC tax laws and regulations by PRC tax authorities. If we fail to fulfill our tax obligations for any reasons, we may be subject to fines, other penalties or actions upon examinations by PRC tax authorities and our business, financial condition and results of operations and our reputation may be adversely affected.
 
34

Risks Related to Our Shares
The market price of our ordinary shares is volatile, leading to the possibility of its value being depressed at a time when you want to sell your holdings.
The market price of our ordinary shares has been volatile, and this volatility may continue. The closing price of our ordinary shares on the NASDAQ Global Select Market in the fiscal year 2022 ranged from a high of $21.02 to a low of $11.88. Numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, may cause the market price of our ordinary shares to fluctuate significantly. These factors include, among others:
 
   
our earnings releases, actual or anticipated changes in our earnings, fluctuations in our operating results or our failure to meet the expectations of financial market analysts and investors;
 
   
changes in financial estimates by us or by any securities analysts who might cover our share;
 
   
speculation about our business in the press or the investment community;
 
   
significant developments relating to our relationships with our customers or suppliers;
 
   
stock market price and volume fluctuations of other publicly traded companies and, in particular, those that are in our industry;
 
   
customer demand for our services and products;
 
   
investor perceptions of our industry in general and our company in particular;
 
   
the operating and share performance of comparable companies;
 
   
general economic conditions and trends;
 
   
major catastrophic events;
 
   
announcements by us or our competitors of new products, significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships or divestitures;
 
   
changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretation or principles;
 
   
loss of external funding sources;
 
   
sales of our ordinary shares, including sales by our directors, officers or significant shareholders;
 
   
additions or departures of key personnel; and
 
   
investor perception of litigation, investigation or other legal proceedings involving us or certain of our individual shareholders or their family members.
Securities class action litigation is often instituted against companies following periods of volatility in their share price. This type of litigation could result in substantial costs to us and divert our management’s attention and resources. Moreover, securities markets may from time to time experience significant price and volume fluctuations for reasons unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. Market fluctuations may adversely affect the prices of our ordinary shares and other interests in our company at a time when you want to sell your investment in us.
Share prices of companies with business operations primarily in China have fluctuated widely in recent years, and the trading prices of our ordinary shares are likely to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.
The performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other China-based, U.S.-listed companies may affect the volatility in the price of and trading volume for our ordinary shares. In recent years, a number of PRC-based companies have experienced significant volatility, including significant price declines, following their initial public offerings. The trading performances of the securities of these PRC-based companies at the time of or after their offerings may affect the overall investor sentiment towards PRC-based companies listed in the United States and consequently may impact the trading performance of our ordinary shares. These broad market and industry factors may significantly affect the market price and volatility of our ordinary shares, regardless of our actual operating performance.
 
35

We believe that litigation and negative publicity surrounding companies with operations in the PRC that are listed in the U.S. have negatively impacted stock prices for such companies. Various equity-based research organizations have published reports on companies with operations in the PRC after examining, among other things, their corporate governance practices, related party transactions, sales practices and financial statements that have led to special investigations and stock suspensions on national exchanges. Due to our operations in the PRC, any similar scrutiny of us, regardless of its lack of merit, could result in a diversion of management resources and energy, potential costs to defend ourselves against rumors, decreases and volatility in the trading price of our ordinary shares, and increased directors and officers insurance premiums, and could have a material adverse effect upon our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We are a “foreign private issuer,” and have disclosure obligations that are different than those of other U.S. domestic reporting companies so you should not expect to receive the same information about us at the same time as a U.S. domestic reporting company may provide. Furthermore, if we lose our status as a foreign private issuer, we would be required to comply fully with the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act applicable to U.S. domestic issuers and would incur significant operational, administrative, legal and accounting costs that we would not incur as a foreign private issuer.
We are a foreign private issuer and, as a result, we are not subject to certain of the requirements imposed upon U.S. domestic issuers by the SEC. For example, we are not required to issue quarterly reports or proxy statements. Also, we are allowed four months to file our annual report with the SEC. We are not required to disclose certain detailed information regarding executive compensation that is required from U.S. domestic issuers. Further, our directors and executive officers are not required to report equity holdings and transactions in our equity under Section 16 of the Securities Act. As a foreign private issuer, we are also exempt from the requirements of Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) which, generally, are meant to ensure that select groups of investors are not privy to specific information about an issuer before other investors. We are, however, still subject to the anti-fraud and anti-manipulation rules of the SEC, such as Rule 10b-5. Since many of the disclosure obligations required of us as a foreign private issuer are different than those required by other U.S. domestic reporting companies, our shareholders should not expect to receive information about us in the same amount and at the same time as information is received from, or provided by, other U.S. domestic reporting companies. We are liable for violations of the rules and regulations of the SEC which do apply to us as a foreign private issuer. Violations of these rules could affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If we lose our status as a foreign private issuer at some future time, we will be required to comply fully with the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act applicable to U.S. domestic issuers and would incur significant operational, administrative, legal and accounting costs that it would not incur as a foreign private issuer.
If we fail to comply with the continued listing requirements of NASDAQ, we would face possible delisting, which would result in a limited public market for our shares and make obtaining future debt or equity financing more difficult for us.
Our ordinary shares are traded and listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “HOLI.” The ordinary shares may be delisted if we fail to maintain certain listing requirements of the Nasdaq Stock Market, or NASDAQ.
We received a notification letter dated November 3, 2021 from the Listing Qualifications Department of NASDAQ notifying that we were no longer in compliance with the Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) due to our failure to timely file our annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021 with the SEC. We submitted a plan to the NASDAQ to regain compliance in January 2022, and received a notification letter dated February 23, 2022 from the Listing Qualifications Department of NASDAQ notifying us that based on filing of the Company’s Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021 dated February 18, 2022, the Staff has determined that the Company complies with the Listing Rule 5250(c)(1). Nevertheless, we cannot ensure you that we will continue to comply with the requirements for continued listing on The NASDAQ Global Select Market in the future. If our shares lose their listing status on The NASDAQ Global Select Market and we are not successful in obtaining a listing on The NASDAQ Capital Market, our shares would likely trade in the over-the-counter market. If our shares were to trade on the over-the-counter market, selling our shares could be more difficult because smaller quantities of shares would likely be bought and sold, transactions could be delayed, and security analysts’ coverage of us may be reduced. In addition, in the event our shares are delisted, broker-dealers have certain regulatory burdens imposed upon them, which may discourage broker-dealers from effecting transactions in our shares, further limiting the liquidity of our shares. These factors could result in lower prices and larger spreads in the bid and ask prices for our shares. Such delisting from The NASDAQ Global Select Market and continued declines in our share price could also greatly impair our ability to raise additional necessary capital through equity or debt financing, and could significantly increase the ownership dilution to shareholders caused by our issuing equity in financing or other transactions.
 
36

As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to rely on exemptions from certain NASDAQ corporate governance standards applicable to domestic U.S. issuers. This may afford less protection to holders of our securities.
We are exempted from certain corporate governance requirements of NASDAQ by virtue of being a foreign private issuer. As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to follow the governance practices of our home country, the BVI, in lieu of certain corporate governance requirements of NASDAQ. As result, the standards applicable to us are considerably different than the standards applied to U.S. domestic issuers. For instance, we are not required to:
 
   
have a majority of the board be independent (although all of the members of the audit committee must be independent under the Exchange Act);
 
   
have a compensation committee and a nominating committee to be comprised solely of “independent directors”; and
 
   
hold an annual meeting of shareholders no later than one year after the end of the Company’s fiscal year-end.
As discussed elsewhere in this annual report, we have relied on and intend to continue to rely on some of these exemptions. As a result, our shareholders may not be provided with the benefits of certain corporate governance requirements of NASDAQ.
You may have difficulty enforcing judgments obtained against us.
Hollysys Automation Technologies, Ltd. is a BVI company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. A substantial portion of our current business operations are conducted in the PRC. In addition, almost all of our directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. A substantial portion of the assets of these persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons. It may also be difficult for you to enforce in U.S. courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts including judgments based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors, many of whom are not residents in the United States and whose assets are located in significant part outside of the United States. The courts of the BVI would recognize as a valid judgment, a final and conclusive judgment in person is obtained in the federal or state courts in the United States against the Company under which a sum of money is payable (other than a sum of money payable in respect of multiple damages, taxes or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty) and would give a judgment based thereon provided that (i) such courts had proper jurisdiction over the parties subject to such judgment, (ii) such courts did not contravene the rules of natural justice of the BVI, (iii) such judgment was not obtained by fraud, (iv) the enforcement of the judgment would not be contrary to the public policy of the BVI, (v) no new admissible evidence relevant to the action is submitted prior to the rendering of the judgment by the courts of the BVI and (vi) there is due compliance with the correct procedures under the laws of the BVI. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the BVI or the PRC, respectively, would recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such persons predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state.
We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company, which could result in adverse United States federal income tax consequences to U.S. shareholders.
We believe that we may have been a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, for the year to which this annual report relates. If a non-U.S. corporation either (i) has at least 75% of its gross income as passive income for a tax year or (ii) has at least 50% of the value of its assets (based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets during a tax year) attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income, then the non-U.S. corporation will be deemed a PFIC. The market value of our assets may be determined to a large extent by the market price of our ordinary shares. If we are treated as a PFIC for any tax year during which U.S. shareholders hold ordinary shares, certain adverse United States federal income tax consequences could apply to such U.S. holders.
 
37

The provisions in our Amended and Restated Memorandum and Articles of Association and terms of our Amended and Restated Rights Plan may discourage, delay or prevent a change of control of our company or changes in our management. As a result, our shareholders may be limited in their ability to obtain a premium for their shares.
Our memorandum and articles of association, last amended and restated on January 7, 2021, or the Amended and Restated M&A, authorizes our Board to issue up to 90,000,000 preferred shares without any further action by our shareholders, which could delay, discourage, prevent or make it more costly to acquire or effect a change-in-control. In addition, on August 27, 2010, our Board adopted a rights plan (the “Rights Plan”) that provides for the issuance of one right (a “Right”) for each of our outstanding ordinary shares. In September 2020, we adopted an amended and restated rights plan (the “Amended and Restated Rights Plan”) which amends and restates the Rights Plan in its entirety. The Amended and Restated Rights Plan extends the expiration date of the Rights Plan from September 27, 2020 to September 27, 2030, decreases the threshold of the triggering event from 20% to 15%, and includes certain modernizing changes to account for certain synthetic equity positions when determining the beneficial ownership of our shareholders. The Rights are designed to assure that all of our shareholders receive fair and equal treatment in the event of any proposed takeover and to guard against partial tender offers, open market accumulations, undisclosed voting arrangements and other abusive or coercive tactics to gain control of the Company or our Board without paying all shareholders a control premium. The Rights may cause substantial dilution to a person or group that acquires 15% or more of the aggregate total of outstanding ordinary shares on terms not approved by our Board.
The provisions in our Amended and Restated M&A and the terms of our Amended and Restated Rights Plan could prevent our shareholders from recognizing a gain in the event that a favorable offer is extended and could materially and negatively affect the market price of our ordinary shares, even if you or our other shareholders believe that such actions are in the best interests of us and our shareholders. As a result, our shareholders may be limited in their ability to obtain a premium for their shares. The Amended and Restated Rights Plan, however, should not interfere with any offer approved by our Board. In addition, the Amended and Restated Rights Plan does not prevent our Board from considering any offer that it considers to be in the best interest of the shareholders.
We have granted employee share options and other share-based awards in the past and are likely to continue to do so in the future. Our share-based compensation schemes may have an adverse effect on our results of operations and dilute the ownership interests of our shareholders.
We have granted share-based compensation awards, including share options, restricted shares and restricted share units, to various employees, key personnel and other non-employees to incentivize performance and align their interests with ours. As a result of these grants and potential future grants, we have incurred in and expect to continue to incur share-based compensation expenses in the future. For example, in the fiscal years ended June 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, we recorded share-based compensation expenses of $0.4 million, $9.7 million and $9.7 million, respectively. The amount of these expenses is based on the fair value of the share-based awards. We account for compensation costs for share-based compensation awards and recognize expenses in our consolidated statements of comprehensive income in accordance with the relevant rules under U.S. GAAP. Our share-based compensation expenses may increase in future periods, as we adopt new equity compensation plans to incentivize our employees and directors to grow our business. In addition, any additional securities issued under share-based compensation schemes will dilute the ownership interests of our shareholders.
We may determine to cease paying dividends in the future.
Our Board decides if and when our Company will pay cash dividends. On August 11, 2016, our Board approved a regular cash dividend policy pursuant to which future cash dividends are expected to be paid to holders of the Company’s ordinary shares on an annual basis out of funds legally available for such purpose. While cash dividends have been paid in each of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022, the declaration and payment of future dividends will be at the discretion of our Board, and there can be no assurance that cash dividends will be paid in the future. Our future payment of dividends will depend upon many factors, including our financial conditions, earnings, capital requirements of its businesses, legal requirements, regulatory constraints, industry practice, and other factors that our Board deems relevant.
 
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The laws of the British Virgin Islands provide some protection for minority shareholders, so minority shareholders will have some recourse if they are dissatisfied with the conduct of our affairs.
Under the laws of the British Virgin Islands, generally, there is some statutory protection of minority shareholders other than the provisions of the BVI Business Companies Act (as amended), which we refer to as the Act, dealing with shareholder remedies. The principal protection under statutory law is that shareholders may bring an action to enforce the constituent documents of a BVI company and are entitled to have the affairs of the company conducted in accordance with the Act and the memorandum and articles of association of the company. As such, if those who control the company have persistently disregarded the requirements of the Act or the provisions of the company’s memorandum and articles of association, then the courts will likely grant relief. Generally, the areas in which the courts will intervene are the following: (i) an act complained of which is outside the scope of the authorized business or is illegal or not capable of ratification by the majority; (ii) acts that constitute fraud on the minority where the wrongdoers control the company; (iii) acts that infringe on the personal rights of the shareholders, such as the right to vote; and (iv) acts where the company has not complied with provisions requiring approval of a special or extraordinary majority of shareholders, which are more limited than the rights afforded to minority shareholders under the laws of many states in the United States. BVI statute law also provides that any shareholder who considers that the affairs of the company have been, are being or are likely to be, conducted in a manner that is likely to be oppressive, unfairly discriminatory, or unfairly prejudicial to him in that capacity may apply for relief.
Under the laws of the British Virgin Islands, our directors have the power to take certain actions without shareholder approval which would require shareholder approval under the laws of most U.S. jurisdictions.
Generally, the directors of a BVI corporation, subject in certain cases to court approval but without shareholder approval, may implement a reorganization, the sale of any assets, property, part of the business, or securities of the corporation, subject to a limit of up to 50% in value of the company’s assets. The ability of our Board to create new classes or series of shares and the rights attached by amending our Amended and Restated M&A without shareholder approval could have the effect of delaying, deterring or preventing a change in our control without any further action by the shareholders, including a tender offer to purchase our ordinary shares at a premium over the current market prices. Thus, our shareholders may potentially have more difficulty protecting their interests in the face of actions by our Board or our controlling shareholders than they would have as shareholders of a corporation incorporated in another jurisdiction.
In addition, our directors do not have terms of office, and they hold office until such director’s resignation, removal from office, death or incapacity. In connection with the adoption of the Rights Plan in August 2010, we amended our memorandum and articles of association to provide that directors may only be removed by shareholders for cause. Under our Amended and Restated M&A, annual meetings of shareholders are no longer required. Since 2010, we have not held any shareholders meetings. We follow home country practice with respect to annual shareholders meetings and are not obligated to hold annual meetings of shareholders.
If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they downgrade our shares or our sector, our share price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our ordinary shares has been affected in part by the research and reports that industry and financial analysts publish about us or our business. We do not control these analysts. Furthermore, if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our shares or our industry, change their views regarding the shares of any of our competitors, or other companies in our industry, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price of our shares could decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the market, which in turn could cause our share price or trading volume to decline.
 
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Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market price of our ordinary shares.
Short selling is the practice of selling securities that the seller does not own but rather has borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical securities back at a later date to return to the lender. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the value of the securities between the sale of the borrowed securities and the purchase of the replacement shares, as the short seller expects to pay less in that purchase than it received in the sale. As it is in the short seller’s interest for the price of the security to decline, many short sellers publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions regarding the relevant issuer and its business prospects in order to create negative market momentum and generate profits for themselves after selling a security short. These short attacks have, in the past, led to the selling of shares in the market.
Public companies that have substantially all of their operations in China have been the subject of short selling. Much of the scrutiny and negative publicity has centered on allegations of a lack of effective internal control over financial reporting resulting in financial and accounting irregularities and mistakes, inadequate corporate governance policies or a lack of adherence thereto and, in many cases, allegations of fraud. As a result, many of these companies are now conducting internal and external investigations into the allegations and, in the interim, are subject to shareholder lawsuits and/or enforcement actions by the SEC or other U.S. authorities.
If we were to become the subject of any unfavorable allegations, whether such allegations are proven to be true or untrue, we could have to expend a significant amount of resources to investigate such allegations or defend ourselves. While we would strongly defend against any such short seller attacks, we may be constrained in the manner in which we can proceed against the relevant short seller by principles of freedom of speech, applicable state law, or issues of commercial confidentiality. Such a situation could be costly and time-consuming and could distract our management from growing our business. Even if such allegations are ultimately proven to be groundless, allegations against us could severely impact our business operations and shareholders’ equity, and any investment in our ordinary shares could be greatly reduced or rendered worthless.
 
ITEM 4.
INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY
A. History and Development of the Company
We were established under the laws of the BVI on February 6, 2006, as HLS Systems International, Ltd., in order to merge with Chardan North China Acquisition Corporation (“Chardan”), a Delaware special purpose acquisition company, originally established on March 10, 2005, with the primary purpose of effecting a business combination with an unidentified operating business that has its primary operating facilities located in China, in any city or province north of Yangtze River. On September 20, 2007, we acquired all of the issued and outstanding ordinary shares of GTH, a BVI company. On August 1, 2008, our ordinary shares started trading on NASDAQ Global Select Market. On July 17, 2009, we changed our name to Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd. to more accurately reflect our core value of leveraging proprietary technologies to provide state-of-the-art automation and control solutions for our clients.
On July 1, 2011, we purchased 100% of the equity of Concord Group for a combination consideration of cash and stock for a total value of $42.9 million. Concord Group provides electric solutions with end-to-end design, engraving, engineering, procurement, project management, construction and commissioning, and maintenance, active in the rail industry in Singapore, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Kingdom and the building retrofit market in Singapore.
On April 1, 2013, we purchased 100% of the equity of Bond Group for a purchase price of $73 million, payable 50% in cash and 50% in ordinary shares of Hollysys. The stock will be issued to the Bond Group shareholders in three installments over three years, 60% of which are incentive shares and will be based on certain performance targets for calendar years 2013 and 2014. Additional ordinary shares, as a premium on performance, will be issuable to the Bond Group shareholders, if Bond Group outperforms the established targets, but the premium will not exceed 15% of the total incentive shares in any case. The operating results of Bond Group have been included in our consolidated financial statements effective from April 1, 2013. Bond Group provides complete mechanical and electrical solutions with end to end capabilities in design, engineering, procurement, project management, construction and commissioning, and maintenance to a wide array of industries, including factories, data centers, banks, hospitals, airports, power stations, gas and instrumentation plants, hotels, commercial centers, residential buildings and infrastructure works. We seek to take advantage of Bond Group’s strong presence and brand name in Southeast Asia and to strengthen our Southeast Asian business.
 
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On November 24, 2015, we established CECL to explore the market in Qatar. CCPL has a 49% direct ownership of CECL and the remaining 51% equity interest is held by a nominee shareholder. Through a series of contractual arrangements, CCPL is entitled to appoint the majority of directors of CECL who have the power to direct the activities that significantly impact CECL’s economic performance. Further, CCPL is entitled to 99% of the variable returns from CECL’s operations. As a result, despite of its direct minority ownership of CECL, CCPL is considered the primary beneficiary of CECL.
In July 2016, Beijing Hollycon Medicine & Technology. Co., Ltd. (“Hollycon”), previously as one of our subsidiaries, issued new shares for an aggregate cash consideration of $30,943 to new investors. At the same time, we disposed 0.6% of our equity interest in Hollycon for cash consideration of $464. These two transactions resulted in dilution of our equity interests in Hollycon from 51% to 30%. According to the revised article of association, Hollycon was managed by a board of directors comprising of a total five members, of which, we can appoint two directors while the other three shareholders can appoint one director each. We can also appoint the chairman of the board. All major management and operation decision need be approved by the board and requires approval by at least 2/3 of board directors. Profits are allocated to shareholders based on the percentage of respective initial investment. We lost control over Hollycon upon the completion of the two transactions set out above, but maintained significant influence over Hollycon, and accounted for the investment in Hollycon under the equity method. Upon the deconsolidation date, we recorded the retained non-controlling equity investee at fair value of $22,737 and recognized a gain of $14,514. The fair value of retained non-controlling interest in Hollycon was measured using a discounted cash flow approach. Key estimates and assumptions include the amount and timing of future expected cash flows, terminal value growth rates, and discount rate.
In July 2017, BCPL, our wholly-owned Singapore subsidiary, and a Malaysian citizen (the “Trustee”) entered into a trust deed, under which, 49.1% of BCPL’s equity interests in Bond M & E Sdn. Bhd. (“BMJB”), a Malaysian company, which previously was a 100% subsidiary of BCPL, was transferred to the Trustee. According to the trust deed, all of the beneficial interests in BMJB belong to BCPL and the Trustee shall hold the legal title of the transferred shares on trust for and act on behalf of BCPL absolutely. Any dividend, interest and other benefits received or receivable by the Trustee will be transferred to BCPL. The Trustee shall exercise the managerial rights and voting power in a manner directed by a prior written notice from BCPL. The Trustee shall be obligated to vote in the same manner as BCPL in the absence of any written notice. In addition, an undated Form of Transfer of Securities with the transferee’s name left blank was duly executed by the Trustee and delivered to BCPL. Therefore, BCPL can transfer the 49.1% of equity interests to any party at any time without further approval by the Trustee. Accordingly, we believe we hold all beneficial rights, obligation and the power of the 100% equity interest in BMJB, and therefore consolidate 100% of equity interests in BMJB into our financial statements.
In August 2018, we transferred 100% of our equity interest in Beijing Hollysys Intelligent Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Hollysys Intelligent”), a wholly owned subsidiary, to Ningbo Hollysys Intelligent Technologies Co Ltd. (“Ningbo Hollysys”) in exchange for a 40% equity interest in Ningbo Hollysys. Upon the transfer of the equity interest, we lost control of Hollysys Intelligent and therefore, deconsolidated the subsidiary.
In August 2021, we completed the acquisition of 100% of the equity of Hollysys Intelligent held by Ningbo Hollysys, with a cash consideration of approximately $20,901, and have consolidated the financial performance of Hollysys Intelligent since the first quarter of fiscal year 2022.
 
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Non-Binding Buyout Proposals
On December 10, 2020, we announced that our board of directors received an unsolicited non-binding proposal letter, dated December 7, 2020, from a consortium comprised of Mr. Baiqing Shao, Ace Lead Profits Limited and CPE Funds Management Limited (collectively, the “Shao Consortium”), to acquire all of our outstanding ordinary shares for $15.47 in cash per ordinary share. On January 8, 2021, we announced that our board of directors rejected such unsolicited offer, and we determined that such unsolicited offer substantially undervalues our Company and is not in the best interest of our shareholders. On February 1, 2021, we announced that our board of directors received a revised unsolicited consortium proposal to acquire all our outstanding shares for $17.10 per share. On July 15, 2021, we set record straight on the Shao Consortium’s consent solicitation, refuted the false claims put forth by the Shao Consortium regarding our past performance, governance decisions, and highlighted that the Shao Consortium’s offer undervalued our Company.
On August 2, 2021, we announced that our board of directors was in the process of evaluating a non-binding offer from Superior Emerald (Cayman) Limited, a company controlled by Ascendent Capital Partners, and Dr. Changli Wang, who has been CEO and a director of our Company since January 2022, (collectively, the “Emerald Consortium”), delivered to us on July 20, 2021 to acquire all of our outstanding ordinary shares for $23.00 per share in cash (the “Emerald Proposal”). On August, 24, 2021, we announced that our board of directors received from the Emerald Consortium a notification advising that Mr. Yue Xu and Mr. Lei Fang, the co-chief operating officers of our Company, agreed to join the Emerald Consortium as members in connection with the Emerald Proposal. According to the notification we received, Mr. Xu and Mr. Fang jointly represented the collective interests of themselves and certain other management and employees of our Company.
On November 15, 2021, we announced that our board of directors was in the process of evaluating a non-binding offer from Zhejiang Longsheng Group Co., Ltd. and Loyal Valley Innovation Capital (HK) Limited delivered to us on September 10, 2021 to acquire all of our outstanding ordinary shares for US$24.00 per share in cash (the “Lonsen Proposal”).
On November 24, 2021, our board of directors received a non-binding offer from Centurium Capital to acquire all of our outstanding ordinary shares for $24.00 per share in cash (the “Centurium Proposal”). On December 3, 2021, our board of directors received a non-binding offer from RECCO Control Technology Pte. Ltd. and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation to acquire all of our outstanding ordinary shares for $25.00 per share in cash (the “RECCO Proposal”).
On December 6, 2021, our board of directors received a non-binding offer from Boyu Capital Advisory Company Limited to acquire all of our outstanding ordinary shares for $23.00 per share in cash.
On January 24, 2022, we announced that after careful review and consideration with the assistance of our executive management team as well as external financial and legal advisors, our board of directors resolved that it was not at the time considering a sale of our Company and thus would suspend further evaluation of all unsolicited buyout proposals that we had received. In deciding to suspend the consideration of all unsolicited buyout proposals, we took into consideration the value creation potential of the Company and the priority of the Company to focus on strengthening and optimizing its business operations, as well as the complexity and uncertainties in the global and PRC regulatory landscapes, which, in the opinion of our board of directors, would create significant difficulty in obtaining a fair valuation of our Company and increase the uncertainty of consummating a potential sale transaction. For details on the regulatory development, see “—B. Business Overview—Recent Regulatory Development.”
Our corporate headquarters are located at No. 2 Disheng Middle Road, Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area, Beijing, 100176, China. Our telephone number is (+86) 10 58981386. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Cogency Global Inc. located at 122 East 42nd Street, 18th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10168. We maintain a website at http://www.hollysys.com that contains information about our company, but that information is not a part of this annual report.
The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at http://www.sec.gov.
B. Business Overview
Recent Regulatory Development
 
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Cybersecurity Review Measures
In January 2022, the CAC and several other administrations jointly promulgated the amended Cybersecurity Review Measures, or the Cybersecurity Review Measures, which became effective on February 15, 2022, and superseded and replaced the current cybersecurity review measures that became effective since June 2020. Pursuant to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, a “critical information infrastructure operator,” or CIIO, that purchases network products and services, or conducts data process activities, which affect or may affect national security will be subject to the cybersecurity review. The Cybersecurity Review Measures also expands the cybersecurity review to “internet platform operators” in possession of personal information of over one million users if such operators intend to list their securities in a foreign country. Alternatively, relevant governmental authorities in the PRC may initiate cybersecurity review if they determine an operator’s network products or services or data processing activities affect or may affect national security.
As of the date of this annual report, uncertainties still exist in relation to the interpretation and implementation of the Cybersecurity Review Measures. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that we, or certain of our customers or suppliers may be deemed as a CIIO. If we are deemed as a CIIO, our purchase of network products or services, if deemed to be affecting or may affect national security, will need to be subject to cybersecurity review, before we can enter into agreements with relevant customers or suppliers, and before the conclusion of such procedure, these customers will not be allowed to use our products or services, and we are not allowed to purchase products or services from our suppliers. For details of the associated the risks, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Our failure to comply with cybersecurity and data protection laws and regulations could lead to government enforcement actions and significant penalties against us, and adversely impact our operating results.”
As of the date of this annual report, we have not been involved in any investigations or become subject to a cybersecurity review initiated by the CAC based on the Cybersecurity Review Measures, and we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, sanctions in such respect of any regulatory objections to our listing status from the CAC.
Potential CSRC Approval Required for the Listing of our Ordinary Shares
On July 6, 2021, certain PRC regulatory authorities issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities. Theses opinions call for strengthened regulation over illegal securities activities and supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and propose to take effective measures, such as promoting the development of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies. As of the date of this annual report, no official national guidance and related implementation rules have been issued in relation to these recently issued opinions and the interpretation and implementation of these opinions remain unclear at this stage.
On December 24, 2021, the CSRC issued two draft regulations relating to overseas listing, namely the Provisions of the State Council on the Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments) and Administrative Measures for the Filing of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments). These draft regulations stipulate that PRC domestic companies that seek to offer and list securities in overseas markets directly or indirectly are required to fulfill the filing procedures with and report relevant information to the CSRC. Pursuant to these draft regulations, if the issuer meets the following conditions, its offering and listing will be determined as an “indirect overseas offering and listing by a PRC domestic company” and is therefore subject to the filing requirement: (i) the revenues, profits, total assets or net assets of the Chinese operating entities in the most recent financial year accounts for more than 50% of the corresponding data in the issuer’s audited consolidated financial statements for the same period; (ii) the majority of senior management in charge of business operation are Chinese citizens or have domicile in PRC, and its principal place of business is located in PRC or main business activities are conducted in PRC.
 
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On April 2, 2022, the CSRC published the Provisions on Strengthening the Management of Confidentiality and Archives Related to the draft Overseas Issuance of Securities and Overseas Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Public Comments), or the Draft Confidentiality and Archives Management Provisions relating to Overseas Listing, for public comments. In the overseas listing activities of domestic companies, domestic companies, as well as securities companies and securities service institutions providing relevant securities services hereof, should establish a sound system of confidentiality and archival work, shall not disclose state secrets, or harm the state and public interests. Where a domestic company provides or publicly discloses to the relevant securities companies, securities service institutions, overseas regulatory authorities and other entities and individuals, or provides or publicly discloses through its overseas listing entity, any document or material involving any state secret or any work secret of organs and organizations, it shall report to the competent authority for approval in accordance with the law, and submit to the secrecy administration department for filing. Domestic companies shall not provide accounting records to an overseas accounting firm that has not performed the corresponding procedures. Securities companies and securities service organizations shall comply with the confidentiality and archive management requirements, and keep the documents and materials properly. Securities companies and securities service institutions that provide domestic enterprises with relevant securities services for overseas issuance and listing of securities shall keep such archives they compile within the territory of the PRC and shall not transfer such archives to overseas institutions or individuals, by any means such as carriage, shipment or information technology, without the approval of the relevant competent authorities. If the archives or duplicates of such archives are of important value to the state and society and needed to be taken abroad, approval shall be obtained in accordance with relevant provisions.
As advised by our PRC legal counsel, the period for public comment on these draft regulations has ended and their provisions and anticipated adoption or effective date are subject to changes and thus their interpretation and implementation remain substantially uncertain. As of the date of this annual report, it also remains unclear on whether a US-listed company, like us, are subject to the CSRC filing procedures, to maintain the listing of its securities in a foreign country. We cannot assure you that we will not be required to obtain the approval of the CSRC or of potentially other regulatory authorities to maintain the listing status of our ordinary shares on the NASDAQ or to conduct offerings of securities in the future. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risk Related to Doing Business in China—The approval, filing or other requirements of the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required under PRC law in connection with our issuance of securities overseas.” We have been closely monitoring regulatory developments in China regarding any necessary approvals from the CSRC, the CAC, or other PRC regulatory authorities required for overseas listings. As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, sanctions or regulatory objection from the CSRC.
COVID-19 Update
Since the third quarter of the fiscal year 2020, a novel strain of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly globally. The pandemic has resulted in quarantines, travel restrictions and the temporary closure of stores and business facilities around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has created and may continue to create significant uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment which, in addition to other unforeseen effects of this pandemic, may adversely impact our global business, results of operations, and financial condition. Potential impact to our results of operations will also depend on future developments and new information that may emerge regarding the duration and severity of COVID-19 and the actions taken by government authorities and other entities to contain COVID-19 or mitigate its impact, almost all of which are beyond our control.
The impacts of COVID-19 on our business, financial condition, and results of operations include, but are not limited to, the following:
 
   
We prioritize the health and safety of our employees, and have taken various preventative measures in response to the pandemic’s impact. A comprehensive healthcare guidance was established, and required to be strictly followed, in each of our bases in China, including health conditions reporting through online survey, mandated mask wearing, health QR code checking at the entrance, daily temperature measurement, distancing policy for particular areas, unified vaccination arrangements, etc.
 
   
While we have seen gradual recovery of our overall business resulting from improving health statistics in China since March 2020, the pandemic continued to have an adverse effect on our overseas business, especially in Southeast Asia and South Asia. We implement the policy requesting non-essential or all employees to work remotely based on COVID-19 situation in different regions. As a result of the pandemic, some tenders and projects have also been delayed.
 
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For more descriptions of the risks associated with COVID-19, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—An outbreak of disease or similar public health threat, or fear of such an event, could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.”
Our Mission
Automation for better life.
Overview
We are a leading automation control system solutions provider in China, with overseas operations in eight other countries and regions throughout Asia. Leveraging our proprietary technology and deep industry know-how, we empower our customers with enhanced operational safety, reliability, efficiency, and intelligence which are critical to their businesses. We derive our revenues mainly from providing integrated solutions for industrial automation and rail transportation. In industrial automation, we deliver the full spectrum of automation hardware, software, and services spanning field devices, control systems and enterprise manufacturing management. In rail transportation, we provide advanced signaling control and SCADA systems for high-speed rail and urban rail (including subways). Internationally, through the acquisitions of Concord Group and Bond Group in 2011 and 2013 respectively, we are expanding and deepening our ability to offer mechanical and electrical solutions in design, engineering, procurement, project management, construction and commissioning, and maintenance to a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, banks, hospitals, airports, power plants, commercial centers, hotels, and infrastructure works.
Founded in 1993, with technical expertise and innovation, we have grown from a research team specializing in automation control in the power industry into a group providing integrated automation control system solutions for customers in diverse industry verticals. As of June 30, 2022, we had cumulatively carried out more than 40,000 projects for approximately 22,000 customers in various sectors including power, petrochemical, high-speed rail, and urban rail, in which we have established leading market positions. With our strong customer base and highly-reputable brand, we believe we are well positioned to capture opportunities from untapped growth potential in China and around the world.
Our Business Platform and Value Proposition
Our highly-scalable and adaptable business platform is based on three key complementary pillars:
 
   
Proprietary and core technologies
 
   
In-depth understanding of our clients’ industrial processes
 
   
Dedicated pursuit of customer satisfaction
Our suite of integrated solutions offers customers the following value propositions:
 
   
Compliant with international standards
 
   
Leading functionality and quality
 
   
Strong product safety and reliability
 
   
Highly flexible customization
 
   
Cost-effective solutions
 
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Comprehensive service capability
Solutions, Products and Services
Industrial Automation:
We are able to deliver the full spectrum of automation hardware, software, and services spanning field devices, control systems and enterprise manufacturing management. Historically, we focused our efforts on the area of DCS (Distributed Control System), which is a network of controllers, sensors, actuators and other devices that can be programmed to control outputs based on input conditions through logic calculations. In an automated production line, sensors or so-called “instrumentations” are distributed across the production facility to monitor sub-systems like the robots, CNC machines, and logistic tools. These sensors are like human eyes, which monitor the process, and detect any abnormal situations. The information collected from those sensors is then transmitted to the DCS for centralized data processing through communication networks. The central computer (brain) processes information and generates commands, based on sophisticated algorithmic and pre-set parameters. These commands are then sent to actuators (muscles/bones) through communication devices to execute the orders and maintain production flow. We are as well a player in the PLC market, where the products are mainly used in discrete control and applied to a wide array of industries. PLCs are usually integrated together into machines to provide control at machinery level.
Our comprehensive suite of automation solution consists of hardware-centric products such as instrumentation and actuators, our proprietary software-centric DCS/SIS (Safety Instrumentation System)/PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), and valued-added software packages such as STS (Simulation Training System), HAMS (HolliAS Asset Management System), APC (Advanced Process Control) and MES (Manufacturing Execution System), among others. Our solution has been widely used in process industries involving a continuous flow of material handling, such as power generation and petro-chemical industries, while we have also served clients from metallurgy, building materials, pharmaceutical and food & beverage, among other industries. Our client base includes large state-owned enterprises, local governmental agencies, multi-national companies, and other domestic companies. Some of our renowned customers include the five major Chinese power generation companies, the three major Chinese petroleum companies, and international companies such as BASF. We have also obtained customers from other countries, including India, Indonesia, Cambodia, UAE, and Uzbekistan, within similar industries.
Meanwhile, the development of equipment and process level automation in China has gradually increased production digitalization, which has created opportunities for the development of digital factory. Compared with equipment and process automation, digital factory brings production and management into greater coordination. The realization of such change requires the integration and processing of data of different verticals covering equipment, production line, workshop and corporate administration level. Since we put forth our digital factory initiative in the year 2018, we have successfully signed and completed several contracts with our existing customers from power and chemical industries. Remarkably, we delivered distinguished performance and witnessed business growth in the valve and instrument market after years of dedication and accumulations and gained recognition from world-leading manufacturers.
Hollysys command a leading position in the field of nuclear power digital instrument control in China as one of the qualified local automation and control product providers. The product we developed for nuclear field, HOLLiAS MACS-N DCS, has been successfully applied in nuclear power plant with multi-generation stack and multi-stack technology, and we have accumulated rich engineering and technical experience. The hardware and software of the product both meet the strict requirements of the nuclear energy industry. During the manufacturing and implementation process, the quality control of our product strictly complies with relevant safety standard requirements.
Rail Transportation:
We have branched out from the industrial automation domain into the subway and high-speed rail businesses, leveraging on our core competency and strong research and development capabilities, and have already established a key position in the high-speed rail signaling market and subway SCADA market.
 
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In high-speed rail business, our core proprietary product lines include TCC (Train Control Center) and ATP (Automation Train Protection). An ATP essentially acts as the train over-speed protection mechanism. It collects real-time information like speed limit ahead, train operation status, line data, instructions from train control center, and then combines that information with the train parameters to produce train protection curves. In case of any human errors, like driver’s negligence at the red light, it applies emergency brakes automatically. A TCC is an on-ground control center at railway stations or equipment stations which monitors route condition, track status, train schedules, distance between trains, and the working status of other essential function devices, and then through logic calculation, generates control instructions and commands. The command information from the TCC is then transmitted to the ATP located on the locomotives/trains, through track circuits and electronic beacons located at various points along the railway line, or wirelessly.
Besides ATP and TCC, we also provide other signaling products in high-speed rail market, such as ATO (Automatic Train Operation system), Track Circuit, LEU (Line-Side Electronic Unit), BTM (Balise Transmission Module), TSRS (Temporary Speed Restriction Server), RBC (Radio Block Center) and CBI (Computer Based Interlocking). China Railway Corporation, or CRC, employs its own administrative admission system and sets specific standards for the high-speed rail signaling products deployed in China’s high-speed rail lines. In addition to having our products certified under those PRC domestic standards, we have redesigned the whole set of our high-speed rail signaling systems to better compete in the rail market outside China. For example, most of our high-speed rail signaling products have passed European Safety Standards SIL 4 certification. For high-speed rail business, CRC and local provincial rail bureaus in China are our major customers. We are also the supplier of the entire high-speed rail signaling system to Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail line for the Hong Kong MTR, which has marked our breakthrough into the international high-speed rail signaling market.
In the subway business, our core product is the SCADA system. It is an open software platform to enable integrated and unified monitoring of all necessary sub-systems of the subway, including the Power Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System, Building Automatic System, Fire Alarm System, Platform Screen Door System, Access Control System, Closed Circuit Television, Passenger Information System, Passenger Train Information System, and Alarm System. Our performance records cover numerous cities in China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Dalian, Wuhan, Chengdu, Lanzhou and Hohhot. In the subway signaling business, we are striving to develop our business in both domestic and overseas markets. In fiscal year 2022, we won the automated people mover project of the T3B terminal and the fourth runway of Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, which represents another significant advancement in subway signaling, following our first subway signaling project—Kunming Airport project. Meanwhile, based on our strong research and development capability and technical know-how of signaling application accumulated from high-speed rail business, we have also developed our proprietary subway signaling system certified under European Safety Standards.
Our international performance records for railway transportation include Thomson & Eastern Region Lines in Singapore and Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail line.
Mechanical and Electrical:
We established a stronger foot-hold in Southeast Asia through the acquisitions of Concord Group and Bond Group in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Concord and Bond Groups mainly provide mechanical and electrical solutions, including design, engineering, procurement, project management, construction and commissioning, and maintenance related services. Concord Group mainly focuses on railway transportation in Singapore, Macau, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Kingdom markets, and Bond Group mainly focuses on factories, data centers, banks, hospitals, airports, power stations, gas and instrumentation plants, hotels, commercial centers, residential buildings and infrastructure works in Malaysia. Through the acquisitions, we seek to expand the existing distributions and marketing channels to sell our existing product lines to the fast-growing Southeast Asia and the Middle East markets.
 
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During the past several years we have achieved a number of significant contract wins in the international arena, including (i) contracts with MTR Corporation Limited in Hong Kong to provide a complete suite of high-speed rail signaling systems to Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Hong Kong Section; (ii) a contract with Thales Solutions Asia Pte. Ltd. to provide design, installation, testing and commission for replacing the existing Metro signaling systems for the North-South East-West lines including decommissioning the existing signaling system and installing new signaling systems for the Tuas West Extension line in Singapore; (iii) a contract with Land Transport Authority in Singapore to provide the Integrated Supervisory Control System for the Thomson & Eastern Region Lines in Singapore; (iv) a contract with Meiden Singapore to carry out the replacement of Metro Power distribution system for North-South East-West lines in Singapore; (v) a contract with Bombardier for the replacement of the existing signaling system for Singapore Bukit Panjang LRT; (vi) a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to provide electrical installation services for part of the Power Distribution System Package of the first Phase of Doha Metro; (vii) two contracts with Thales Middle East for Doha Metro Signaling and Lusail LRT for Qatar Rail Authority; (viii) a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for Macau LRT; (ix) a contract with SMRT in Singapore to provide the maintenance of overall display systems the Thomson & Eastern Region Lines in Singapore; and (x) maintenance contracts with MTR Corporation Limited in Hong Kong spanning multiple years.
To further cultivate and grow our overseas business, Hollysys will persevere in attracting talented people, optimizing market promotion and enhancing its overseas brand image.
Project Implementation:
We established a project group of sales engineers, technical engineers and project management professionals for each of our potential customers to provide them total integrated solutions tailored to their specific requirements. The sales engineers and technical engineers work together to offer the best customized solutions by understanding each customer’s detailed requirements through on-site studies. The technical engineers are responsible for hardware assembly, software configuration, testing and installation, commissioning and trial operation, and start-up and training; while the project management professionals oversee budgetary matters, coordinate the work force, ensure adequacy of resources and monitor progress and quality to ensure the timely completion of each project. Our integrated solutions projects involve one or more of the following activities:
 
   
Solution planning
—We provide our customers with strategic and tactical reviews of their current operations and future requirements. The planning includes defining client business requirements, developing appropriate hardware and software, and selecting preferred technology.
 
   
Solution design
—We detail the industry specifications and implementation tactics necessary to achieve our customers’ objectives. We also take into consideration the integration of the hardware and software deployed in our integrated solution with the existing ones of each customer, and the ongoing management followed. Examples of these services include defining functional requirements for the system and our components, developing integration plans and designing of customer-specific system and services applications.
 
   
Solution implementation
—We install the recommended systems and provide essential services throughout the solution implementation process, to better meet our customers’ specific requirements. Key activities include project management, hardware procurement and production, software development, configuration and field installation and testing, and development of customized system and services management applications.
Leveraging our proprietary technology and products, our integrated solutions create value for our customers and improve their competitive strengths by:
 
   
generating synergy and improving efficiency of our customers through integrating communications, marketing and service functions;
 
   
utilizing our industry and process knowledge to develop customized solutions that improve the efficiency of our customers;
 
   
providing a software platform for the optimization of management operations, which provides real-time automation and information solutions throughout a business; and
 
   
offering maintenance and training services to our customers, which helps to cut costs and improve operating efficiency.
 
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We customize our floor plans based on conducting careful on-site studies, building design-specific network systems using our proprietary technology and software, and offering manufacturing execution system services to ensure that real-time management control is available to our customers in a streamlined and easy-to-use manner.
We believe that our product design and applications integrated in the solutions are unmatched among our domestic competitors. We also believe that the sophistication and quality of our products rival those of the multi-national automation and control product suppliers, while our insightful understanding of demands of our Chinese customers and the ability to respond give us a leading edge over foreign competitors.
Integrated Solutions Contracts
The main channel through which we get our automation system business is the procurement bidding process. Customers seeking bids propose their requirements and specifications in legal bidding documents and those companies that are interested in obtaining these contracts make a bid in written form. If we win the bid, we finalize an integrated solutions contract. We derive a large percentage of our total consolidated revenues from the integrated solutions contracts that we win through the bid process. In addition, we also generate revenue from sales of spare parts and component products to customers for maintenance and replacement purposes after the completion of the integrated solutions contract, and from the provision of services such as maintenance and training that tends to provide a recurring revenue stream.
The purpose of an integrated solutions contract is to furnish an automation system that provides the customer with a total solution for the automation or process control requirement being addressed. The automation system and total solution that we offer consists of hardware, software and services, all of which are customized to meet the particular needs and technical specifications of our customers. None of the hardware, software and service has independent functionality, and therefore none of them can be sold separately to customers.
The major terms of an integrated solutions contract include solution planning and design, system installation, customer acceptance, payment milestones and warranty. The process of fulfilling an integrated solutions contract consists of the following four stages:
 
   
Solution planning and design
—We provide customers with a customized plan for achieving the required solution by establishing a project group for each contract. The project group includes system engineers who propose, discuss and agree on the system design and implementation plan with the technical personnel of the customers
.
 
   
System manufacturing and installation
—Based on the design and implementation plan, and in accordance with the project schedule, we enter into the process of purchasing the necessary hardware, manufacturing components for the hardware, developing software platform, re-configuring the software embedded in the hardware, and fabricating the integrated hardware into cabinets, on-site installation and testing, and training customers’ personnel about how to use the automation and total solution.
 
   
Customer acceptance
—The procedures for customer inspection and acceptance of the system are typically contained in the contracts. The initial inspection usually occurs when the hardware is delivered to the customer’s site for the purpose of detecting any obvious physical damage during shipping and to confirm that the entire order was delivered. A final acceptance will be performed upon the satisfaction of integrated solution testing.
 
   
Warranty period
—The integrated solutions contracts customarily provide our customers with a one to three years’ warranty (although sometimes the warranty period may be longer depending on the customer and the negotiations for the contract), which runs from the date of the final customer acceptance. The end of the warranty period represents fulfillment of the entire contract.
 
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Because of the nature of customized integrated solutions contracts, a customer does not have the right to return the products that we deliver, so long as such products conform and perform to the customer’s specification. Prior to delivering our products to a customer’s site, we perform an internal test to ensure that the automation system works as intended. After installing the products on a customer’s site, any problems are solved during trial runs. Once the testing requirements have been satisfied, a customer will execute a customer acceptance document, which marks the beginning of the warranty period. Due to the nature of this process, many companies in the automation systems business generally do not carry product liability insurance.
The size of an integrated solutions contract is determined by a customer’s needs in terms of the amount of equipment needed and the complexity of the integrated solutions. The size of an integrated solutions contract drives the revenues generated by the contract. Because most contracts will require working periods longer than one year, the best way to measure the contract revenue realized is to use the percentage-of-completion or cost-to-cost method. Ultimately, our revenue stream will be driven by the average price of an integrated solutions contract and how many integrated solutions contracts have started in each reporting period.
Our backlog of contracts presents the amount of unrealized revenue to be earned from the contracts that we have won. Accordingly, any increase or decrease in new contracts won by us, or any change of scheduled delivery dates, will have a impact on our future revenue streams. In the event of a delay in the delivery schedule, then the time of inspection, installation, trial run and customer acceptance will be delayed accordingly, all of which will affect our revenue recognition. If the delay in delivering the specified automation systems was a result of our inability to deliver the system on a timely basis, then we will be held responsible for this delay, in accordance with the terms specified in the respective integrated solutions contracts.
Markets
Industrial Automation Market
Multi-national companies including Honeywell (US), ABB (Sweden), Siemens (Germany), Emerson (US), Yokogawa (Japan) and Hitachi (Japan) account for the majority of the global automation market share. In domestic market, except the multi-national companies, our main local competitor is Supcon. With years of development, domestic players, including Hollysys and Supcon, are gradually becoming leading players in different verticals.
The drivers for the industrial automation market in China are listed below.
Rising labor costs
. As labor costs in China rise while the cost of automation control systems decline due to domestic production and other factors, industrial automation solutions are expected to become more valuable, affordable and in-demand by Chinese industrial firms.
Growth of end market
. As China’s economy evolves, multiple sectors are expanding, giving rise to the need for industrial automation solutions. Such sectors include nuclear power, waste incineration and biomass power, chemical and petrochemical, semiconductor and electronics, and healthcare.
Maintenance and replacement of existing industrial automation systems
. The massive scale of existing industrial automation, driven by strong growth in recent years, and the limited designed service life of automation equipment, generally 10 to 15 years, should create a significant need for maintenance and replacement, which are expected to sustain long-term demand for industrial automation. Such sectors include thermal power, chemical and petrochemicals, food and beverage, semiconductor and electronics, household appliances, and healthcare.
Industry-wide upgrade.
The transformation of entire industries by the emergence of data-driven smart manufacturing and industrial internet of things, or IIoT, is expected to generate a high volume of new deployment needs for industrial automation, which in turn, is expected to generate recurring needs for maintenance and upgrade.
Favorable policies
. The Chinese government is actively promoting environmental protection, energy conservation and industrial transformation and upgrade to achieve a more sustainable course of development, which also gives rise to market opportunities for automation solution providers.
 
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The market in which we operate has shown several noticeable trends. Domestic players in the PRC industrial automation market have substantially improved their brand name and R&D capability, which enables them to penetrate high-end market segments that have traditionally been dominated by multinational companies, such as Emerson, Honeywell and Siemens. Domestic players are expected to leverage their deep knowledge of domestic customers and proven track record to win market share in specific strategic industries. Market dynamics will favor industry-leading players who have the capability and resources to provide customized solutions, high quality products, greater flexibility and faster response. Recent entrants and smaller-scaled players are expected to be marginalized from the competition due to lack of technology competitiveness, demonstrated service capabilities and shorter track record.
We are well-positioned to benefit from China’s nuclear power development. At present, China’s nuclear power sector is relatively underdeveloped, with the vast majority of power generated by coal-fired power plants. According to China Nuclear Energy Association, as of June 30, 2022, there were 54 nuclear reactors in operation in mainland China.
We are penetrating into international markets with primary focus on Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Middle East, all of which are largely developing areas. The strong growth of infrastructure and increased demand for automation technologies will benefit us in these areas.
Rail Transportation Market
Another important end-market for Hollysys is the high-speed rail market in China, where we command a leading position in providing high-speed rail signaling systems to ensure the safety of passenger train movement. The China Railway Corporation developed a national high-speed rail signaling technological standard, the China Train Control System, or the CTCS. Under the CTCS, the standard governing the 200-250km/hour speed category is called C2, while C3 governs the 300-350km/hour category. These standards are different from the international standards propounded by European organizations or Japan.
According to the 14th Five-year Plan for the Development of Modern Comprehensive Transport System issued by the State Council of the PRC, the total high speed railway operating mileage in China reached 40,000km at the end of 2021, and is expected to reach 50,000km in 2025. As one of the three high-speed rail signaling products providers in the C2 category in China, and one of the three high-speed rail signaling products providers to the C3 category, we believe that we are well positioned to benefit from this unprecedented, world leading high-speed railway build-out.
According to the 2021 Rail Transportation Statistics Report published by the Ministry of Transport of the PRC, the operating mileage of urban rail transit in China reached 9,192.62km by the end of 2021, indicating an annual increase of 1,222.92km.
The drivers for rail automation market in China are the followings.
Urbanization
. Rapid urbanization and regional economic integration in China are expected to continue to drive new construction of high-speed rail and urban rail transit. In addition, the demand for more efficient operation of high-speed rail and urban rail transit systems is expected to also generate demand for rail automation in China.
Renewal and upgrade
. The massive scale of high-speed rail and urban rail transit networks is creating a growing need for renewal, replacement and upgrade of rail automation equipment, as high-speed rail signaling control systems have designed service lives of 10 to 15 years and urban rail signaling systems have designed service lives of 15 years.
Favorable policies
. Ambitious PRC government policies such as the Eight Horizontal and Eight Vertical High-speed Railway Corridors Project, Belt and Road Initiatives, and High-speed Railway Diplomacy are expected to sustain growth in the rail automation market.
Moreover, domestic firms have made substantial breakthroughs in building control system technologies and are expected to accelerate import substitution in China’s rail automation market. The share of domestic equipment and system is expected to increase. Also, a wider adoption of fully automatic train technology that allows “driverless” trains to be managed automatically by the system without a train conductor marks the next stage for automation of railway and urban rail.
 
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Mechanical and Electrical Solutions Market
We offer mechanical and electrical solutions (M&E) through Concord and Bond Groups in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Hong Kong. Through acquisitions of the above entities, we are expanding and deepening our ability to offer mechanical and electrical solutions in design, engineering, procurement, project management, construction and commissioning, and maintenance to a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, banks, hospitals, airports, power plants, commercial and residential buildings, hotels, and railway and subway lines.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted the construction and transportation sector in Southeast Asia and the Middle East market. With projects being delayed and the supply chain being impacted, our target market is expecting a slow recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, while potential impact on our results of operations will also depend on the future duration and severity of the pandemic and the actions taken by related government authorities.
Competition and Our Strengths
In industry automation business, we believe our major competitors are multi-national corporations, such as ABB, Honeywell, Emerson and Siemens. Supcon, a local private company affiliated with Zhejiang University, is among our primary competitors as well. In Southeast Asia and the Middle East markets, our principal competitors for industrial automation are multinational corporations such as ABB, Siemens, Emerson, Yokogawa and Honeywell.
In the PRC high-speed rail business, given the administrative admission system employed by China Railway Corporation and the governing of the China Train Control Standard (CTCS), i.e., the national rail technology standard in China, we are facing less competition from multi-national companies. Currently, Hollysys is one of the three providers that supply signaling products to China’s 200-250km/h segment of the high-speed rail market. The other two are China Academy of Railway Science and Zhuzhou CRRC. Hollysys is one of the three signaling product providers to China’s 300-350km/h segment of the high-speed rail market. The other providers are CRSC and China Academy of Railway Science. In the SCADA market, we mainly compete with Nanjing Automation Research Institute (NARI). In the nuclear automation segment, we mainly compete with multi-national corporations such as Siemens and Invensys. Our major competitors in the international rail and subway signaling markets are Bombardier and Alstom.
For the mechanical and electrical solutions business, the main competitors for Concord and Bond Groups include Bintai Kinden Corporation Berhad, PJI Holding Berhad, and LFE Corporation Berhad, Kurihara, Sanyo, Bintai KDK and Gammon Construction.
We believe that our key competitive advantages edge are the following:
 
   
Market leadership with a strong reputation
.
We are one of the largest automation control system solutions providers in China, playing a key part in many verticals in which we operate in China.
Our solid leadership position rests not only on market share, but also on our continued innovation and breakthroughs in the industry in China. We were the first to achieve the following feats in China’s automation market:
 
   
1st domestic DCS with practical application (1993);
 
   
1st domestic nuclear power station computing system to enter operation (1997);
 
   
1st domestic railway transportation SCADA (2002);
 
   
1st proprietary domestic large-scale PLC system (2007);
 
   
1st passenger line with CTCS-2 Train Control System (2008);
 
   
1st GW Nuclear Power Station Digital Instrumentation Control System (2011);
 
   
1st to introduce CTCS-3 category high-speed rail control system in an overseas market (2012);
 
   
1st domestic SIS (2012); and
 
   
1st and only Chinese company to provide DEH control system for gigawatt power plant (as of 2018).
 
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As evidence of our strong reputation, we have been actively involved in setting industrial standards, and have received numerous awards and industry recognitions. Notably,
 
   
we have led or participated in the formulation of national standards including industrial enterprise information integration system standards GB/T 26335-2010, the first section of network safety of programmable logic controller (PLC) for industrial automation and control systems, system requirements of GB/T 33008.1-2016, urban rail transit integrated supervision and control system design specifications GB/T 50636-2018, industrial-process measurement, and reference model GB/Z 32235-2015 for control and automation production facility (digital factory);
 
   
we received awards and recognition of National Enterprise Technology Center, National Innovative Enterprise, one of the first batch of National Intelligent Manufacturing Pilot Demonstration Enterprises, National Standardization Management System Consulting Service Institution under the strategy of integrating industrialization and information technology, national quality benchmark for industrial enterprises, a key software enterprise in national planning and layout, and national one-stop application program demonstration enterprise. We were also among the first batch of enterprises selected into the recommended directory of national intelligent manufacturing system solution suppliers, and were selected by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as green design demonstration enterprise for industrial products and green factory enterprise. In addition, we were awarded the “Ten-year Achievement Award of National High-tech Industrialization” by the National Development and Reform Commission, the second prize of National Science and Technology Progress, the first prize of Beijing Science and Technology Award, etc.; and
 
   
we have received product and service quality awards from the Hong Kong MTR for five consecutive years, including the Gold Quality Award in 2016, the highest honor given by the Hong Kong MTR in respect to project quality management.
 
   
Proven credentials with high barriers to entry
.
Our proven credentials of qualification, project experience and reliability record have formed strong barriers and a self-reinforcing virtuous circle that has enabled us to stand out among our competitors.
In China, we are one of the few domestic company qualified to design and manufacture non-safety control systems of nuclear power plants, the only SIS provider on the National Safety Bureau’s 2017 Directory for the Promotion of the Advanced and Replacement of the Obsolete in Safety Technology and Equipment, and one of the only three companies qualified to provide high-speed rail signaling products in both CTCS-2 and CTCS-3 categories, as well as to design and construct Chinese high-speed rail ATO control systems. In the overseas market, our rail signaling systems and SIS have attained the highest European safety standard certifications.
Among the over 40,000 projects completed since our founding days, we have steadily climbed the ranks and undertaken some of the most sophisticated and challenging projects for increasingly demanding customers in China. Our integrated and balanced teams including R&D staff, engineers and project management have accumulated invaluable relevant experience and in-depth industry knowledge of our customers’ industry verticals. These valuable credentials were built through decades of dedication and commitment and are critical in enabling us to win bids.
Our customers operate in industries with some of the most stringent safety and reliability requirements, such as nuclear power and high-speed rail, where small system malfunctions could lead to disastrous accidents. We have always put safety first and implemented comprehensive procedures to ensure the highest safety standards. As a result, we have maintained an outstanding safety record throughout our nearly three decades’ history, and potential customers come to us because of our reputation for safety and reliability.
 
   
Integrated, customized solutions leading to high customer satisfaction and stickiness.
 
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With comprehensive system integration capabilities as our backbone, we offer customers one-stop shop total solutions and deliver convenient and economic solutions, which significantly mitigate system compatibility risks.
We go further by providing tailor-made solutions with our proprietary technologies, which we can readily adapt and customize to meet varying needs. We form dedicated teams composed of complementary groups of sales personnel, and hardware and software engineers from a variety of disciplines to understand our customers’ specific needs early on, identify feasible action items, and customize to their satisfaction. Our customization approach has proven value proposition particularly in our home market, where many customers have developed their own production processes, and many others are becoming more sophisticated in their demand.
Our customized total solutions are inherently highly-integrated into our customers’ business operations, which makes it costly and time consuming for our customers to switch to other providers. Our engineers on the ground have close and frequent contact with our customers as they perform routine maintenance and inspection. We believe our customers’ reliance on our systems and personnel provides us with unique advantages in generating recurring revenue from services and upgrades, and securing new business from our customers and their affiliates. Our products sold and services rendered as reported in our income statement were mainly derived from existing customers after their initial purchase of our integrated solutions contract. We believe we shall continue to benefit from the structural upgrade and replacement opportunities in some of China’s largest industries.
 
   
Strong technology, engineering and R&D capabilities
.
Technology is at the core of our competencies, and rooted in our engineering background and innovative culture. Among other automation control systems, we have successfully developed our own proprietary DCS, PLC, high-speed rail and urban rail signaling and certified SIS systems. We are also proactively embracing the era of IIoT and have attained an early leading position in this area, as evidenced by our capacity to provide smart manufacturing solutions, and our awards from the 2019 Industrial Internet Summit including Excellent Data Collection and Edge Computing Technology Provider, Excellent Industrial PaaS Provider and Excellent Industrial SaaS Provider. We were listed among the Top 100 Competitive Enterprises in Software and Information Technology Service of China in 2021, the Top 100 Enterprises in China Machinery Industry in 2021, the first batch of intelligent manufacturing diagnostic service providers in Beijing, the leading enterprises in China’s software industry in 2021, and the Top 100 Innovation Demonstration Enterprises of China. As of June 30, 2022, we held 409 software copyrights, 419 authorized patents, 261 pending patent applications and 58 registered trademarks.
We employ a platform-based, modular technology system, which enables us to use basic modules as building blocks and quickly develop entire systems that can be adapted to various needs. Such flexibility and adaptability enable us to quickly respond to changing customer needs, and apply our solutions to new customers by combining the appropriate modules along with our industry and customer know-how.
We have in place a full suite of infrastructure that gives rise to strong R&D capabilities, including research facilities and labs in Beijing, Hangzhou, Xi’an and Singapore. We also collaborate with Academecians from the Chinese Academy of Engineering on R&D endeavors in relevant areas including automation, digitalization, smart manufacturing and industrial information security. We adopt a market-driven approach, in which we strategically focus our R&D on the parts of the value chain that we excel at and our future targeted markets, while we continuously upgrade our technology from project experience. We have spent approximately 6–10% of our revenues on research and development each fiscal year.
 
   
Visionary and professional board and management team
.
Our directors and management have on average over 20 years of professional experience. They bring together complementary expertise and insights from technology, finance, academia and capital markets. Their strategic vision and successful execution of our strategy have enabled us to achieve operational excellence and various breakthroughs in our business.
 
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Strategy
We intend to achieve our mission through the successful execution of the key elements of our development strategy, which include:
 
   
Strengthening market leadership and expanding market shares
As the market leader for automation control system solutions, we intend to continue to focus on our existing businesses in industrial automation and rail transportation, and expand our market share in these fields. We seek to solve industrial pain points, capitalize on the opportunities arising from structural upgrades and replacements, and provide more thoroughly-designed and comprehensive solutions packages. We will continue to build up our track record and attract more customers, and further consolidate our market position.
Together with our associates, we plan to further expand our business into more industrial verticals with tremendous market potential and favorable policies, such as renewable energy, environmental protection, energy conservation, healthcare, urban rail signaling and food & dining. Leveraging our proprietary and highly adaptable technologies, broad industry knowledge, dedicated research and development efforts and strategic alliances, we seek to build up industry know-how and our track record in these industry verticals.
 
   
Further expanding our comprehensive automation solutions matrix
We also seek to enhance our capabilities in the early stages of project cycles, such as project design and planning, and in the later stages such as after-sales maintenance and product upgrade, so as to cover the whole life cycle for automation control projects.
Along the value chain of automation control systems solutions, we aim to extend our own-brand components to field devices on the one end, enhance our cloud services and big data analytics on the other, and continue to sign major projects.
 
   
Continuing to optimize our operations and enhance profitability
We plan to continue our efforts to optimize operating efficiency, increase productivity and enhance profitability. We also plan to increase intelligent manufacturing at our own facilities, increasing the level of automation and digitalization in our own production processes to achieve efficiency gains and develop new solutions in automation for our clients.
 
   
Investing in research and development, and our talent
Given the technology-intensive nature of the automation control systems market, we see technology capability and talent as our core competencies. We have been seeking and will continue to seek to improve our existing products and services and develop new technologies, applications, and platforms. We plan to continue to invest in R&D both in China and abroad and to collaborate with multinational corporations, to ensure that our proprietary technologies remain industry leading. Specifically, we aim to invest in developing and refining our solutions in urban rail signaling, smart manufacturing and IIoT.
Our team of talented researchers and engineers is a key contributing factor to our market leadership. We aim to recruit and retain top-notch talent with well-designed incentive programs. We plan to enhance collaboration with experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and international research institutes to further enhance our research and development capabilities, and create a conducive environment for their research and development efforts. We also plan to strengthen our innovation and incubation efforts at our innovation center and research institute in Beijing.
 
   
Exploring international business opportunities and expanding overseas presence strategically
 
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We have established sales networks in Singapore and Malaysia through operations of our Concord and Bond Groups. We plan to continue our internationalization in multiple aspects, including sales channel, manufacturing center and research center. If suitable opportunities arise, we may consider overseas acquisition to achieve our business goals.
We will continue to accompany our Chinese customers as they go global. We also plan to jointly develop overseas projects with international partners.
Manufacturing
We design and manufacture the hardware of our products in Beijing and Hangzhou facilities. The core part of the hardware of our products is the printed circuit board. We manufacture the printed circuit boards in our SMT (Surface Mounting Technology) lines and plug-in mounting lines, and assemble them into various types of modules and then form the modules into the final products. The raw materials which we procure mainly include bare printed circuit boards from vendors based on our requirements and design considerations, and electronic components, chips, cabinets and cables among other factors. Our products are subjected to rigorous testing in our facilities prior to shipment.
Several subsidiaries of the Company, including Beijing Hollysys, Hangzhou Hollysys, Hangzhou System and Hollysys Electronics, have all passed the international quality / environment / occupational health and safety management system certification such as ISO 9001 / ISO 14001 / ISO 45001. Some subsidiaries have also passed ISO27001 information security management system certification and proprietary quality management system certification in different industries. The Company has established a complete comprehensive management system to ensure the efficient operation of various business activities and provide customers with high-quality products and services.
Regulation
This section sets forth a summary of the most significant laws, rules and regulations that affect our business activities in the PRC or our shareholders’ rights to receive dividends and other distributions from us.
Regulations on Company Law
Pursuant to the PRC Company Law, promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (the “SCNPC”) on December, 29 1993, effective as of July 1, 1994, and as revised on December 25, 1999, August 28, 2004, October 27, 2005, December 28, 2013 and October 26, 2018, the establishment, operation and management of corporate entities in the PRC are governed by the PRC Company Law. The PRC Company Law defines two types of companies: limited liability companies and limited stock companies.
Our PRC subsidiaries are all limited liability companies established under the PRC Company Law. Unless otherwise stipulated in the related laws on foreign investment, foreign invested companies are also required to comply with the provisions of the PRC Company Law.
Regulations Relating to Foreign Investment
Investment activities in the PRC by foreign investors are mainly governed by the Guidance Catalog of Industries for Foreign Investment (2017 revision), or the Catalog, which was promulgated jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission on June 28, 2017 and entered into force on July 28, 2017. The Catalog divides industries into four categories in terms of foreign investment, which are “encouraged,” “restricted,” and “prohibited,” and all industries that are not listed under one of these categories are deemed to be “permitted.” Establishment of wholly foreign-owned enterprises is generally allowed in encouraged and permitted industries. Some restricted industries are limited to equity or contractual joint ventures, while in some cases Chinese partners are required to hold the majority interests in such joint ventures. In addition, foreign investment in restricted category projects is subject to government approvals. Foreign investors are not allowed to invest in industries in the prohibited category. Industries not listed in the Catalog are generally open to foreign investment unless specifically restricted by other PRC regulations.
 
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In June 2019, the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission promulgated the Special Management Measures (Negative List) for the Access of Foreign Investment, or the Negative List, effective July 30, 2019, which was updated on June 23, 2020 and December 27, 2021, respectively. The latest Negative List further expands the scope of permitted industries by foreign investment by reducing the number of industries that fall within the Negative List where restrictions on the shareholding percentage or requirements on the composition of board or senior management still exist.
On March 15, 2019, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the Foreign Investment Law of the PRC, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, and replaced the Law of the People’s Republic of China on China-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises, and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on China-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures. The Foreign Investment Law of the PRC adopts the management system of the negative list for foreign investment. A foreign investor may not invest in a field which is prohibited by the foreign investment access negative list from investment. To invest in a field restricted by the foreign investment access negative list from investment, a foreign investor shall meet the investment conditions set out in the negative list.
On December 30, 2019, the PRC Ministry of Commerce and State Administration for Market Regulation promulgated the Measures on Reporting of Foreign Investment Information, which came into effect on January 1, 2020 and replaced the Interim Measures for the Recordation Administration of the Incorporation and Change of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, for carrying out investment activities directly or indirectly in the PRC, the foreign investors or foreign-invested enterprises are required to submit investment information to the commerce authorities pursuant to these measures.
Regulations Relating to Intellectual Property
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and the State Council have promulgated comprehensive laws and regulations to protect trademarks. The Trademark Law of the PRC (2013 revision) promulgated on August 23, 1982 and subsequently amended on February 22, 1993, October 27, 2001, August 30, 2013 and April 23, 2019, respectively, and the Implementation Regulation of the Trademark Law (2014 revision) issued by the State Council on August 3, 2002 and amended on April 29, 2014 are the main regulations protecting registered trademarks. The Trademark Office under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce administrates the registration of trademarks on a “first-to-file” basis, and grants a term of ten years to registered trademarks.
The PRC Copyright Law, adopted in 1990 and revised in 2001, 2010 and 2020, respectively, with its implementation rules adopted on August 8, 2002 and revised in 2011 and 2013, respectively, and the Regulations for the Protection of Computer Software as promulgated on December 20, 2001 and amended in 2011 and 2013 provide protection for copyright of computer software in the PRC. Under these rules and regulations, software owners, licensees and transferees may register their rights in software with the National Copyright Administration Center or its local branches to obtain software copyright registration certificates.
Pursuant to the Patent Law of the PRC (the “Patent Law”) promulgated by the Standing Committee of the NPC on March 12, 1984 and last amended on October 17, 2020 and came into effect on June 1, 2021 and the Implementation Rules of The Patent Law of the PRC amended by the State Council on January 9, 2010 and came into effect on February 1, 2010, patents in China are divided into invention patent, utility model patent or design patent. Invention patent refers to new technical solutions for a product, method or its improvement. Utility model patent refers to new technical solutions for the shape, structure or the combination of both shape and structure of a product, which is applicable for practical use. Design patent refers to new designs of the shape, pattern or the combination of shape and pattern, or the combination of the color, the shape and pattern of a product with aesthetic feeling and industrial application value. Invention patent shall be valid for 20 years, utility model patent shall be valid for 10 years and design patent shall be valid for 10 years, all commencing from the date of application. The patent right entitled to its owner shall be protected by the laws. Any person shall be licensed or properly authorized by the patent owner before he/she/it can use such a patent. Otherwise, it shall constitute an infringement of the patent right. According to the Patent Law, any entity or individual who exploits another person’s patent shall enter into a license contract with the patent owner and pay a royalty for the use of the patent. The licensee is not entitled to allow any entity or individual other than those stipulated in the contract to exploit such patent. According to the Measures for the Filing of Patent Exploitation License Contracts promulgated by the China National Intellectual Protection Administration (the “CNIPA”) on June 27, 2011 and came into effect on August 1, 2011, the CNIPA is in charge of the filing of patent exploitation license contracts nationwide, and other parties shall complete the filing procedures within three months from the date the patent implementation license contract comes into effect.
 
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To protect domain names, the Administrative Measures on Internet Domain Name was promulgated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on August 24, 2017 and came into effect on November 1, 2017. On June 18, 2019, the China Internet Network Information Center issued the Implementing Rules for the Registration of National Top-level Domain Names. According to these measures, domain name applicants are required to duly register their domain names with domain name registration service institutions. The applicants will become the holder of such domain names upon the completion of the registration procedure.
We have adopted necessary mechanisms to register, maintain and enforce intellectual property rights in China. However, we cannot assure you that we can prevent our intellectual property from all the unauthorized use by any third party, neither can we promise that none of our intellectual property rights would be challenged by any third party.
Regulations Relating to Employment
The PRC Labor Law and the Labor Contract Law require that employers must execute written employment contracts with full-time employees. All employers must compensate their employees with wages equal to at least the local minimum wage standards. Violations of the PRC Labor Law and the Labor Contract Law may result in the imposition of fines and other administrative sanctions, and serious violations may constitute criminal offences.
On December 28, 2012, the PRC Labor Contract Law was amended with effect on July 1, 2013 to impose more stringent requirements on labor dispatch. Under such law, dispatched workers are entitled to pay equal to that of full-time employees for equal work, but the number of dispatched workers that an employer hires may not exceed a certain percentage of its total number of employees as determined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. Additionally, dispatched workers are only permitted to engage in temporary, auxiliary or substitute work. According to the Interim Provisions on Labor Dispatch promulgated by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security on January 24, 2014, which became effective on March 1, 2014, the number of dispatched workers hired by an employer shall not exceed 10% of the total number of its employees (including both directly hired employees and dispatched workers). The Interim Provisions on Labor Dispatch require employers not in compliance with the PRC Labor Contract Law in this regard to reduce the number of its dispatched workers to below 10% of the total number of its employees prior to March 1, 2016.
Enterprises in China are required by PRC laws and regulations to participate in certain employee benefit plans, including social insurance funds, namely a pension plan, a medical insurance plan, an unemployment insurance plan, a work-related injury insurance plan and a maternity insurance plan, and a housing provident fund, and contribute to the plans or funds in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of the employees as specified by the local government from time to time at locations where they operate their businesses or where they are located. The enterprise may be ordered to pay the full amount within a deadline if it fails to make adequate contributions to various employee benefit plans and may be subject to fines and other administrative sanctions.
Regulations on Foreign Currency Exchange
Under the PRC Foreign Currency Administration Rules promulgated on January 29, 1996 and last amended on August 5, 2008 and various regulations issued by SAFE and other relevant PRC government authorities, payment of current account items in foreign currencies, such as trade and service payments, payment of interest and dividends can be made without prior approval from SAFE by following the appropriate procedural requirements. By contrast, the conversion of RMB into foreign currencies and remittance of the converted foreign currency outside the PRC for the purpose of capital account items, such as direct equity investments, loans and repatriation of investment, requires prior approval from SAFE or its local office.
On February 13, 2015, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Simplifying and Improving the Foreign Currency Management Policy on Direct Investment, effective from June 1, 2015, which cancels the requirement for obtaining approvals of foreign exchange registration of foreign direct investment and overseas direct investment from SAFE.
 
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The application for the registration of foreign exchange for the purpose of foreign direct investment and overseas direct investment may be filed with qualified banks, which, under the supervision of SAFE, may review the application and process the registration.
The Circular of the SAFE on Reforming the Management Approach regarding the Settlement of Foreign Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprise, or SAFE Circular 19, was promulgated on March 30, 2015 and became effective on June 1, 2015. According to SAFE Circular 19, a foreign-invested enterprise may, according to its actual business needs, settle with a bank the portion of the foreign exchange capital in its capital account for which the relevant foreign exchange bureau has confirmed monetary contribution rights and interests (or for which the bank has registered the account-crediting of monetary contribution). For the time being, foreign-invested enterprises are allowed to settle 100% of their foreign exchange capitals on a discretionary basis; a foreign-invested enterprise shall truthfully use its capital for its own operational purposes within the scope of business; where an ordinary foreign-invested enterprise makes domestic equity investment with the amount of foreign exchanges settled, the invested enterprise shall first go through domestic re-investment registration and open a corresponding Account for Foreign Exchange Settlement Pending Payment with the foreign exchange bureau (bank) at the place of registration. The Circular of the SAFE on Reforming and Regulating Policies on the Control over Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital Accounts, or SAFE Circular 16, was promulgated and became effective on June 9, 2016. According to SAFE Circular 16, enterprises registered in PRC may also convert their foreign debts from foreign currency into Renminbi on self-discretionary basis. SAFE Circular 16 provides an integrated standard for conversion of foreign exchange under capital account items (including but not limited to foreign currency capital and foreign debts) on self—discretionary basis, which applies to all enterprises registered in the PRC. SAFE Circular 16 reiterates the principle that Renminbi converted from foreign currency-denominated capital of a company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope and may not be used for investments in securities or other investment with the exception of bank financial products that can guarantee the principal within the PRC unless otherwise specifically provided. Besides, the converted Renminbi shall not be used to make loans for non-affiliated enterprises unless it is within the business scope or to build or to purchase any real estate that is not for the enterprise’s own use with the exception for the real estate enterprise.
On January 26, 2017, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Further Improving Reform of Foreign Exchange Administration and Optimizing Genuineness and Compliance Verification, or SAFE Circular 3, which stipulates several capital control measures with respect to the outbound remittance of profits from domestic entities to offshore entities, including (i) with respect to transactions over US$50,000, banks must check whether the transaction is genuine by reviewing board resolutions regarding profit distribution, original copies of tax filing records and audited financial statements, and (ii) domestic entities must retain income to account for previous years’ losses before remitting any profits. Moreover, pursuant to SAFE Circular 3, domestic entities must explain in detail the sources of capital and how the capital will be used, and provide board resolutions, contracts and other proof as a part of the registration procedure for outbound investment.
Regulations on Foreign Exchange Registration of Overseas Investment by PRC Residents
SAFE issued the Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, which became effective in July 2014, to replace the Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Issues Concerning the Regulation of Foreign Exchange in Equity Finance and Roundtrip Investments by Domestic Residents through Offshore Special Purpose Vehicles, to regulate foreign exchange matters in relation to the use of special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, by PRC residents or entities to seek offshore investment and financing or conduct round trip investment in China. SAFE Circular 37 defines a SPV as an offshore entity established or controlled, directly or indirectly, by PRC residents or entities for the purpose of seeking offshore financing or making offshore investment, using legitimate onshore or offshore assets or interests, while “round trip investment” is defined as direct investment in China by PRC residents or entities through SPVs, namely, establishing foreign-invested enterprises to obtain the ownership, control rights and management rights. SAFE Circular 37 stipulates that, prior to making contributions into an SPV, PRC residents or entities be required to complete foreign exchange registration with SAFE or its local branch. In addition, SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment in February 2015, which amended SAFE Circular 37 and became effective on June 1, 2015, requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing.
 
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PRC residents or entities who had contributed legitimate onshore or offshore interests or assets to SPVs but had not obtained registration as required before the implementation of the SAFE Circular 37 must register their ownership interests or control in the SPVs with qualified banks. An amendment to the registration is required if there is a material change with respect to the SPV registered, such as any change of basic information (including change of the PRC residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, and mergers or divisions. Furthermore, in accordance with SAFE Circular 37, before the implementation of such circular, if a domestic resident has made capital contribution to a special-purpose company with domestic and overseas legal assets or rights and interests, but has not gone through the foreign exchange registration of overseas investment as required, the domestic resident shall issue an explanatory letter to the foreign exchange bureau to explain the reasons. The foreign exchange bureau shall handle the supplementary registration according to the principles of legality and rationality, and impose administrative penalties on those suspected of violating foreign exchange management regulations. Failure to comply with the registration procedures set forth in SAFE Circular 37 and the subsequent notice, or making misrepresentation on or failure to disclose controllers of the foreign-invested enterprise that is established through round-trip investment, may result in restrictions being imposed on the foreign exchange activities of the relevant foreign-invested enterprise, including payment of dividends and other distributions, such as proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation, to its offshore parent or affiliate, and the capital inflow from the offshore parent, and may also subject relevant PRC residents or entities to penalties under PRC foreign exchange administration regulations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident shareholders to personal liability and limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute profits to us, or otherwise adversely affect us.”
Regulations on Stock Incentive Plans
SAFE promulgated the Notice on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, or the Stock Incentive Plan Notice, in February 2012, replacing the previous rules issued by SAFE in March 2007. Pursuant to the Stock Incentive Plan Notice and other relevant rules and regulations, PRC residents participating in stock incentive plan in an overseas publicly-listed company are required to register with SAFE or its local branches and follow certain other procedures. Participants of a stock incentive plan who are PRC residents must conduct the SAFE registration and other procedures with respect to the stock incentive plan through a qualified PRC agent, which could be a PRC subsidiary of the overseas publicly listed company or another qualified institution appointed by the PRC subsidiary. In addition, the PRC agent is required to update the relevant SAFE registration should there be any material change to the stock incentive plan, the PRC agent or other material changes. The PRC agent must, on behalf of the PRC residents who have the right to exercise the employee stock options, apply to SAFE or its local branches for an annual quota for the payment of foreign currencies in connection with the PRC residents’ exercise of the employee stock options. The foreign exchange proceeds received by the PRC residents from the sale of shares under the stock incentive plans granted and dividends distributed by the overseas listed companies must be remitted into the bank accounts in the PRC opened by the PRC agents prior to distribution to such PRC residents.
We adopted an equity incentive plan in 2015, under which we have the discretion to award incentives and rewards to eligible participants. We have advised the recipients of awards under our equity incentive plan to handle relevant foreign exchange matters in accordance with the Stock Incentive Plan Notice. However, we cannot guarantee that all employee awarded equity-based incentives can successfully register with SAFE in full compliance with the Stock Incentive Plan Notice. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may be subject to fines and legal sanctions imposed by SAFE or other Chinese government authorities and our ability to further grant restricted shares or share options to, and to adopt additional share incentive plans for, our directors and employees may be restricted if we or the participants of our share incentive plans fail to comply with PRC regulations relating to restricted shares or share options granted by offshore special purpose companies or offshore listed companies to PRC participants.”
Regulations on Dividend Distribution
The principal laws and regulations regulating the dividend distribution of dividends by foreign-invested enterprises in the PRC include the Company Law of the PRC, as amended in 2004, 2005, 2013 and 2018 respectively, the Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprise Law promulgated in 1986 and amended in 2000 and 2016 and its implementation regulations promulgated in 1990 and subsequently amended in 2001 and 2014, foreign-invested enterprises in the PRC may pay dividends only out of their retained earnings, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. A PRC company is required to set aside as statutory reserve funds at least 10% of its after-tax profit, until the cumulative amount of such reserve funds reaches 50% of its registered capital unless laws regarding foreign investment provide otherwise. A PRC company shall not distribute any profits until any losses from prior fiscal years have been offset. Profits retained from prior fiscal years may be distributed together with distributable profits from the current fiscal year. Under our current corporate structure, our BVI holding company may rely on dividend payments from Helitong, which is a wholly foreign-owned enterprise incorporated in China, to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make remittance to Helitong and on the ability of Helitong to pay dividends to us could limit our ability to access cash generated by the operations of those entities. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements.”
 
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Regulations Relating to Overseas Listings
On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration of Taxation, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, jointly issued the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, which became effective on September 8, 2006 and was amended on June 22, 2009. These regulations, among other things, require that (i) PRC entities or individuals obtain approval from the Ministry of Commerce before they establish or control a special purpose vehicle overseas, provided that they intend to use the special purpose vehicle to acquire their equity interests in a PRC company at the consideration of newly issued share of the special purpose vehicle, or Share Swap, and list their equity interests in the PRC company overseas by listing the special purpose vehicle in an overseas market; (ii) the special purpose vehicle obtains approval from the Ministry of Commerce before it acquires the equity interests held by the PRC entities or PRC individual in the PRC company by Share Swap; and (iii) the special purpose vehicle obtains China Securities Regulatory Commission approval before it lists overseas. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—PRC regulations regarding acquisitions impose significant regulatory approval and review requirements, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions.”
On December 24, 2021, the CSRC has issued two draft regulations relating to overseas listing and solicits public comments, namely the Provisions of the State Council on the Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments) and Administrative Measures for the Filing of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments). These draft regulations stipulate that PRC domestic companies that seek to offer and list securities in overseas markets directly or indirectly shall fulfill the filing procedures with and report relevant information to the CSRC. Pursuant to these draft regulations, if the issuer meets the following conditions, its offering and listing will be determined as an “indirect overseas offering and listing by a PRC domestic company” and is therefore subject to the filing requirement: (i) the revenues, profits, total assets or net assets of the Chinese operating entities in the most recent financial year accounts for more than 50% of the corresponding data in the issuer’s audited consolidated financial statements for the same period; (ii) the majority of senior management in charge of business operation are Chinese citizens or have domicile in PRC, and its principal place of business is located in PRC or main business activities are conducted in PRC. In a Q&A released on its official website, the respondent CSRC official indicated that the CSRC will start applying the filing requirements to new offerings and listings. New initial public offerings and refinancing by existing overseas listed Chinese companies will be required to go through the filing process. As for the other filings for the existing companies, the regulator will grant adequate transition period to complete their filing procedures. On April 2, 2022, the CSRC published the Provisions on Strengthening the Management of Confidentiality and Archives Related to the draft Overseas Issuance of Securities and Overseas Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Public Comments), or the Draft Confidentiality and Archives Management Provisions relating to Overseas Listing, for public comments. In the overseas listing activities of domestic companies, as well as securities companies and securities service institutions providing relevant securities services hereof, should establish a sound system of confidentiality and archival work, shall not disclose state secrets, or harm the state and public interests. Where a domestic company provides or publicly discloses to the relevant securities companies, securities service institutions, overseas regulatory authorities and other entities and individuals, or provides or publicly discloses through its overseas listing entity, any document or material involving any state secrets or any work secret of organs and organizations, it shall report to the competent authority for approval in accordance with the law, and submit to the secrecy administration department for filing. Domestic Companies shall not provide accounting records to an overseas accounting firm that has not performed the corresponding procedures. Securities companies and securities service organizations shall comply with the confidentiality and archive management requirements, and keep the documents and materials properly. Securities companies and securities service institutions that provide domestic enterprises with relevant securities services for overseas issuance and listing of securities shall keep such archives they compile within the territory of the PRC and shall not transfer such archives to overseas institutions or individuals, by any means such as carriage, shipment or information technology, without the approval of the relevant competent authorities. If the archives or duplicates of such archives are of important value to the state and society and needed to be taken abroad, approval shall be obtained in accordance with relevant provisions. As advised by our PRC legal counsel, currently, the period for public comment on these draft regulations has ended and their provisions and anticipated adoption or effective date are subject to changes and thus their interpretation and implementation remain substantially uncertain. It also remains unclear on whether a US-listed company, like us, is subject to the CSRC filing procedures, to maintain the listing of its securities in a foreign country. As of the date of this annual report, we cannot predict the impact of these regulations on maintaining the listing status of our ordinary shares and/or other securities, or any of our future offerings of securities overseas in a foreign country.
 
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Dividend Withholding Tax
In March 2007, the National People’s Congress enacted the Enterprise Income Tax Law which became effective on January 1, 2008 and amended on February 24, 2017. According to Enterprise Income Tax Law, dividends generated after January 1, 2008 and payable by a foreign-invested enterprise in China to its foreign enterprise investors are subject to a 10% withholding tax, unless any such foreign investor’s jurisdiction of incorporation has a tax treaty with China that provides for a preferential withholding arrangement. Pursuant to the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on Negotiated Reduction of Dividends and Interest Rates, issued on January 29, 2008 and supplemented and revised on February 29, 2008, and the Arrangement between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income, which became effective on December 8, 2006 and applicable to income derived in any year of assessment commencing on or after April 1, 2007 in Hong Kong and in any year commencing on or after January 1, 2007 in the PRC, such withholding tax rate may be lowered to 5% if a Hong Kong enterprise is deemed the beneficial owner of any dividend paid by a PRC subsidiary by PRC tax authorities and holds at least 25% of the equity interest in that particular PRC subsidiary at all times within the 12-month period immediately prior to the distribution of the dividends. Furthermore, pursuant to the Announcement on Issues concerning “Beneficial Owners” in Tax Treaties issued on February 3, 2018 by the State Administration of Taxation, when determining the status of “beneficial owners,” a comprehensive analysis may be conducted through materials such as articles of association, financial statements, records of capital flows, minutes of board of directors, resolutions of board of directors, allocation of manpower and material resources, the relevant expenses, functions and risk assumption, loan contracts, royalty contracts or transfer contracts, patent registration certificates and copyright certificates, etc. However, even if an applicant has the status as a “beneficiary owner,” if the competent tax authority finds necessity to apply the principal purpose test clause in the tax treaties or the general anti-tax avoidance rules stipulated in domestic tax laws, the general anti-tax avoidance provisions shall apply.
Enterprise Income Tax
In December 2007, the State Council promulgated the Implementing Rules of the Enterprise Income Tax Law, which became effective on January 1, 2008 and was amended on February 24, 2017 and December 29, 2018. The Enterprise Income Tax Law and its relevant implementing rules (i) impose a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate, which is applicable to both foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises (ii) permits companies to continue to enjoy their existing tax incentives, subject to certain transitional phase-out rules, and (iii) introduces new tax incentives, subject to various qualification criteria.
The Enterprise Income Tax Law also provides that enterprises organized under the laws of jurisdictions outside China with their “
de facto
management bodies” located within China may be considered PRC resident enterprises and therefore be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on their worldwide income. The implementing rules further define the term “
de facto
management body” as the management body that exercises substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. If an enterprise organized under the laws of jurisdiction outside China is considered a PRC resident enterprise for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, it would be subject to the PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on its worldwide income. Second, a 10% withholding tax would be imposed on dividends it pays to its non-PRC enterprise shareholders and with respect to gains derived by its non-PRC enterprise shareholders from transfer of its shares.
 
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On October 17, 2017, the State Administration of Taxation issued the Bulletin on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-PRC Resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or Bulletin 37, which replaced the Notice on Strengthening Administration of Enterprise Income Tax for Share Transfers by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises issued by the State Administration of Taxation on December 10, 2009, and partially replaced and supplemented rules under the Bulletin on Issues of Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Transfers of Assets by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 7, issued by the State Administration of Taxation on February 3, 2015. Under Bulletin 7, an “indirect transfer” of assets, including equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise, by non-PRC resident enterprises may be re-characterized and treated as a direct transfer of PRC taxable assets, if such arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of PRC enterprise income tax. As a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax. In respect of an indirect offshore transfer of assets of a PRC establishment, the relevant gain is to be regarded as effectively connected with the PRC establishment and therefore included in its enterprise income tax filing, and would consequently be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a rate of 25%. Where the underlying transfer relates to the immoveable properties in China or to equity investments in a PRC resident enterprise, which is not effectively connected to a PRC establishment of a non-resident enterprise, a PRC enterprise income tax at 10% would apply, subject to available preferential tax treatment under applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements, and the party who is obligated to make the transfer payments has the withholding obligation. Pursuant to Bulletin 37, the withholding party shall declare and pay the withheld tax to the competent tax authority in the place where such withholding party is located within seven days from the date of occurrence of the withholding obligation. Both Bulletin 37 and Bulletin 7 do not apply to transactions of sale of shares by investors through a public stock exchange where such shares were acquired from a transaction through a public stock exchange. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We and our shareholders face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises or other assets attributed to a PRC establishment of a non-PRC company.”
Value-Added Tax
In November 2011, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation promulgated the Pilot Plan for Imposition of Value-Added Tax to Replace Business Tax. In March 2016, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation further promulgated the Notice on Fully Promoting the Pilot Plan for Replacing Business Tax by Value-Added Tax. On March 20, 2019, the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Taxation and General Administration of Customs jointly issued Announcement on Policies for Deepening the VAT Reform, which came into effect on April 1, 2019, under which the VAT rates under the basic mechanism is 13% for the sectors such as operating and financial leases of equipment, 9% for sectors such as transportation, postal, basic telecommunication, and construction services as well as sales and leases of real property and real property rights, 0% for exported services and 6% for all remaining services, including financial services. Unlike business tax, a taxpayer is allowed to offset the qualified input VAT paid on taxable purchases against the output VAT chargeable on the modern services provided.
Regulations on Product Liability
Pursuant to the Product Quality Law of the PRC amended by the Standing Committee of the NPC and came into effect on December 29, 2018, manufacturers and sellers shall establish a sound internal product quality control system and strictly implement the quality standards of their positions, quality responsibilities and the corresponding assessment methods. Manufacturers and sellers shall assume responsibility for product quality in accordance with the law. The product quality supervision department under the State Council is in charge of product quality supervision nationwide. The relevant departments under the State Council shall supervise product quality within their respective areas of responsibility. The quality of products shall be inspected and qualified, and sub-standard products shall not be passed off as qualified products. Industrial products that may endanger human health and safety of persons and property must comply with national and industry standards for the protection of human health and the safety of persons and property; if national or industry standards are not available, they must comply with the requirements for the protection of human health and the safety of persons and property. The production and sale of industrial products that do not meet the standards and requirements for the protection of human health and the safety of persons and property are prohibited. Manufacturers or sellers shall be liable for compensation for losses arising from their illegal acts (e.g. producing or selling defective, obsolete or invalid products, falsifying origin or quality marks, adulteration, adulteration, using fake products as genuine products, sub-standard products as good products, sub-standard products as qualified products). Penalties include confiscation of sales proceeds, revocation of business license and imposition of a fine. In serious cases, criminal liability shall be applied in accordance with the law. Manufacturers or sellers shall be responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by a defective product as a result of a breach of contract.
 
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Regulations on Production Safety
Pursuant to the Production Safety Law of the PRC last amended by the Standing Committee of the NPC on June 10, 2021 and came into effect on September 1, 2021, an enterprise shall (i) comply with this law and other laws and regulations on safety production, strengthen the management of safety production, establish a sound responsibility system for safety production for all employees and a system of rules and regulations on safety production; (ii) increase the investment and guarantee of safety production funds, materials, technologies, and personnel, improve safety production conditions, and boost safety production standardization and informatization; and establish a dual prevention mechanism for safety risk classification and control, and for the investigation and treatment of hidden dangers, and improve the risk prevention and resolution mechanism to improve production safety standards and ensure production safety. Any entity that fails to provide required production safety conditions is prohibited from engaging in production activities. The person-in-charge of an enterprise shall solely be responsible for the safety of production of the enterprise. An enterprise having more than 100 employees shall establish a safety production management agency or appoint a designated safety production management personnel. A personnel who is responsible for safety production management of an enterprise shall inspect the safety of production regularly based on the characteristics of production of the enterprise and shall deal with any safety issue identified during the inspection in a timely manner. Any unsolved issue shall be reported to the person-in-charge in a timely manner who shall solve such issue immediately. The inspection and measures taken shall be duly documented. Enterprises and institutions shall provide their employees with trainings on production safety and shall truthfully inform their employees of any potential risks in relation to the workplace and their positions, preventive measures and emergency measures. In addition, an enterprise shall provide its employees with personal protective equipment that meet the national or industry standards, as well as supervise and train them to use such equipment.
Regulations on Anti-Unfair Competition
According to the PRC Anti-Unfair Competition Law (the “Anti-Unfair Competition Law”) amended by the Standing Committee of the NPC and came into effect on April 23, 2019, unfair competition refers to the conduct of an operator who, in the course of production and operation activities, violates the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, disrupts the order of market competition and harms the lawful rights and interests of other operators or consumers. According to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, operators shall follow the principles of voluntariness, equality, fairness, and honesty in market transactions, and abide by laws and business ethics. Operators who violate the Anti-Unfair Competition Law shall bear civil, administrative, or criminal liabilities based on specific situations.
According to the Interim Provisions of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Banning Commercial Bribery (the “Provisions on Banning Commercial Bribery”) promulgated by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on November 15, 1996, commercial bribery refers to the use of money or other means by a business operator to bribe an entity or individual for the sale or purchase of goods. The term “other means” refers to the provision of any kind of trips, study tours, domestic or foreign, and other means of benefit other than the payment of money. According to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law and the Provisions on Banning Commercial Bribery, the supervisory and inspection department may impose a fine according to the severity of the case and confiscate any illegal proceeds.
Regulations on Internet Security
 
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The PRC Cyber Security Law, which took effective in June 2017, created China’s first national-level data protection regime for “network operators”. The Cyber Security Law provides that network operators must set up internal security management systems that meet the requirements of a classified protection system for cyber security, including appointing dedicated cyber security personnel, taking technical measures to prevent computer viruses, network attacks and intrusions, taking technical measures to monitor and record network operation status and cyber security incidents, and taking data security measures such as data classification, backups and encryption. The Cyber Security Law imposes a relatively vague but broad obligation to provide technical support and assistance to the public and state security authorities in connection with criminal investigations or for reasons of national security.
In addition, the PRC Data Security Law was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 10, 2021 and took effect on September 1, 2021. The Data Security Law establishes a tiered system for data protection in terms of their importance, data categorized as “important data,” which will be determined by governmental authorities in the form of catalogs, are required to be treated with higher level of protection. Specifically, the Data Security Law provides that operators processing “important data” are required to appoint a “data security officer” and a “management department” to take charge of data security. In addition, such operator is required to evaluate the risk of its data activities periodically and file assessment reports with relevant regulatory authorities.
Numerous regulations, guidelines and other measures have been or are expected to be adopted under the umbrella of, or in addition to, the Cyber Security Law and Data Security Law. For example, Regulations on the Security Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure, or the CII Protection Regulations, was promulgated by the State Council of the PRC on July 30, 2021 and became effective on September 1, 2021. According to the CII Protection Regulations, critical information infrastructure, or the CII, refers to any important network facilities or information systems of the important industry or field such as public communication and information service, energy, transportation, water conservancy, finance, public services, e-government affairs and national defense science, which may endanger national security, people’s livelihood and public interest in the case of damage, function loss or data leakage. Regulators supervising specific industries are required to formulate detailed guidance to recognize the CII in the respective sectors, and a critical information infrastructure operator, or a CIIO, must take the responsibility to protect the CII’s security by performing certain prescribed obligations. For example, CIIOs are required to conduct network security test and risk assessment, report the assessment results to relevant regulatory authorities, and timely rectify the issues identified at least once a year.
Additionally, in January 2022, the CAC and several other administrations jointly promulgated the amended Cybersecurity Review Measures, or the Cybersecurity Review Measures, which will take effect from February 15, 2022, and supersede and replace the current cybersecurity review measures that became effective since June 2020. Pursuant to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, a CIIO that purchases network products and services, or conducts data process activities, which affect or may affect national security will be subject to the cybersecurity review. The Cybersecurity Review Measures also expands the cybersecurity review to “internet platform operators” in possession of personal information of over one million users if such operators intend to list their securities in a foreign country. Alternatively, relevant governmental authorities in the PRC may initiate cybersecurity review if they determine an operator’s network products or services or data processing activities affect or may affect national security.
Furthermore, the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities requires (i) speeding up the revision of the provisions on strengthening the confidentiality and archives management relating to overseas issuance and listing of securities and (ii) improving the laws and regulations relating to data security, cross-border data flow, and management of confidential information. The Personal Information Protection Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on August 20, 2021 and took effect on November 1, 2021, integrates the various rules with respect to personal information rights and privacy protection and applies to the processing of personal information within mainland China as well as certain personal information processing activities outside mainland China, including those for the provision of products and services to natural persons within China or for the analysis and assessment of acts of natural persons within China.
The kinds of currency regulation, taxation regimes and dividend restrictions imposed in China are not replicated in Singapore, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian markets in which we operate. Generally these markets are free-trade based economies, with no direct or indirect currency or similar operational barriers.
 
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The foregoing summary does not purport to be complete and is qualified by reference to the relevant provisions of applicable law in the jurisdictions in which we operate. We believe that we are currently in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations relating to our business.
Marketing, Sales and Customer Support
Our marketing and sales activities are focused on the development of and addressing the growing demand for automation and control products, systems and services in China domestic market, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East markets. We insist on building cooperative relationships with our customers, educating them about technological developments and reflecting their needs in our products and services.
Our sales teams consist of a complementary group of sales personnel and hardware and software engineers from a variety of disciplines to tailor products to specific customer needs. Employing a pool of skilled personnel in the early stage of a project accelerates the design and the subsequent production of a particular customized solution, typically exceeding that of our competitors. Our sales teams possess significant hands-on, industry-specific experience which permits them to do on-site process analyses, which in turn, makes the design and implementation of upgrades simpler. The result is an automation system that is more effective, efficient and reliable, which in turn leads to a truly satisfied customer.
Our sales force is organized into three principal groups, (i) regional sales, to provide business consulting, promote pre-sale activity and serve as customer contacts, (ii) customer relationship management, to manage relations with contracted customers and improve customer satisfaction by coordinating responses to the client’s information requests, sale of supplemental parts or components and make customer visits, and (iii) market planning, to facilitate strategic cooperation with certain specialized manufacturers, to expand the specific fields for our products.
We identify and target market segments and select target sales opportunities within our markets and conduct sales opportunity studies to ensure that adequate sales resources are available. Sales quotas are assigned to all sales personnel according to annual sales plans. We classify market segments and target opportunities on national and regional levels. Segmentation of our markets helps us to determine our primary sales targets and to prepare monthly and quarterly sales forecasts. The sales team approves target projects, develops detailed sales promotion strategies and prepares reports on order forecasts, technical evaluation, sales budgeting expense, schedules and competition analysis. After the report has been approved, a marketing group is appointed, consisting of sales personnel and engineers. We employ marketing personnel to conduct market research, to analyze user requirements and to organize marketing communications.
Our marketing team engages in a variety of marketing activities, including:
 
   
publishing internal research reports and customer newsletters;
 
   
conducting seminars and conferences;
 
   
conducting ongoing public relations programs; and
 
   
creating and placing advertisements
We actively participate in technology-related conferences and demonstrate our products at trade shows or at exhibitions targeted at our existing and potential customers. We also evaluate a range of joint-marketing strategies and programs with our business partners in order to take advantage of their strategic relationships and resources. We also support our customers by offering field services such as maintenance and training services, which help customers to cut their costs and improve their operating efficiency.
As of June 30, 2022, we employed over 595 direct sales personnel through our subsidiaries in mainland China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Macau.
 
C.
Organizational Structure
 
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The following diagram illustrates our corporate structure as of the date of this annual report. Hollysys Automation Technologies, Ltd. is a holding company with no operations of its own. We conduct our operations in China mainly through our Chinese operating companies, and in Southeast Asia and the Middle East mainly through Concord and Bond Groups.
 

 
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(i)
On November 24, 2015, the Company established CECL to explore the market in Qatar. CCPL has a 49% direct ownership of CECL and the remaining 51% equity interest is held by a nominee shareholder. Through a series of contractual arrangements, CCPL is entitled to appoint majority of directors of CECL who have the power to direct the activities that significantly impact CECL’s economic performance. Further, CCPL is entitled to 99% of the variable returns from CECL’s operations. As a result, despite of its minority direct ownership of CECL arrangements, CCPL is considered the primary beneficiary of CECL.
(ii)
In July 2017, BCPL, a wholly-owned Singapore subsidiary of the Company, and a Malaysian citizen (the “Trustee”) entered into a trust deed, under which, 49.1% of BCPL’s equity interests in BMJB, a Malaysian company, which previously was a 100% subsidiary of BCPL, was transferred to the Trustee. According to the trust deed, all of the beneficial interests in BMJB belong to BCPL and the Trustee shall hold the legal title of the transferred shares on trust for and act on behalf of BCPL absolutely. Any dividend, interest and other benefits received or receivable by the Trustee will be transferred to BCPL. The Trustee shall exercise the managerial rights and voting power in a manner directed by a prior written notice from BCPL. The Trustee shall be obligated to vote in the same manner as BCPL in the absence of any written notice. In addition, an undated Form of Transfer of Securities with the transferee’s name left blank was duly executed by the Trustee and delivered to BCPL. Therefore, BCPL can transfer the 49.1% of equity interests to any party at any time without further approval by the Trustee. Accordingly, we believe we hold all beneficial rights, obligation and the power of the 100% equity interest in BMJB, and therefore consolidate 100% of equity interests in BMJB into our financial statements.
 
D.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Since 2010, our principal executive offices have been located at No. 2 Disheng Middle Road, Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area, Beijing, 100176, China. At this location in Beijing, we believe we have sufficient space and have ample room for substantial expansions in the future, as our needs require.
In addition, we own the prepaid land leases to the properties, currently in use, at the following principal locations, each of which contains principal administrative offices, sales and marketing offices, research and development facilities, and manufacturing facilities:
 
Location
  
Approximate Sq. Meters
 
Beijing
     120,000  
Hangzhou
     25,000  
Singapore
     1,200  
Malaysia
     3,400  
The manufacturing facilities at the Beijing and Hangzhou locations are used for the system integration production, including hardware testing instruments, auxiliary material processing, packaging and shipping, and for self-made product integration production, including inspection and testing.
In order to meet the needs of our business development, we are constructing a research and development center of approximately 145,000 sq. meters in Xi’an, including research and development, design, testing and staff offices. The construction and operation of this center is in line with our long-term development strategy and is of strategic importance to our long-term development. We expect to complete the construction in 2023. The total amount of expenditures for the research and development center was estimated to be approximately $94.3 million. As of June 30, 2022, $29.0 million were paid. The primary funding source of the construction is the Company’s own capital and special project loans.
 
ITEM 4A.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
There are no unresolved staff comments.
 
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ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. This discussion may contain forward-looking statements based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including the risk factors and the discussion of our business set forth in other parts of this annual report on Form 20-F.
Overview
Through our operating subsidiaries, we are one of the leading automation solutions providers in China, developing a number of core technologies and completing numerous projects utilizing a wide array of automation products. With our philosophy of sincere concern for customers and our technical innovation capabilities, we specialize in the research, development, production, sale and distribution of industrial automation for digital railway signals and information systems, e-government, motor drive transmissions and non-safety controls for nuclear power reactors.
The main channel through which we obtain our automation system business is the procurement bidding process. Customers propose their requirements and specifications via legally binding bid documents. Companies interested in obtaining the contract can respond with an appropriate bid.
We derive our revenue mainly from three operating segments including industrial automation, railway transportation and mechanical and electrical solutions. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, 81.1% of our total consolidated revenues derived from integrated solutions contracts we have won through the bid process. In addition, we generate revenue from sales of spare parts and component products to customers for maintenance and replacement purposes after the completion of the integrated solutions contracts, and from providing maintenance and training service, after the warranty period to customers for efficiency improvement or environment protection purpose; which tends to provide a recurring revenue stream. Spare part and component sales and services rendered are not part of the integrated solutions contracts.
The purpose of an integrated solutions contract is to furnish an automation system that provides the customer with a total solution for the automation or process control requirement being addressed. The automation system and total solution we offer, consisting of hardware, software and services, is customized to meet the customer’s particular needs and technical specifications. None of the hardware, software and services has independent functionality, and therefore, is not sold separately to customers.
Order backlog of contracts presents the amount of unrealized revenue to be earned from the contracts that we have won. The following table sets forth the information regarding contracts we won during the last three fiscal years and the backlog at the dates indicated:
 
    
Fiscal Years Ended June 30,
 
    
2020
    
2021
    
2022
 
Number of new contracts won during the year
     4,784        5,588        6,003  
Total amount of new contracts (million)
   $ 549.2      $ 734.3      $ 1,065.4  
Average price per contract
   $ 114,790      $ 131,408      $ 177,474  
    
Fiscal Years Ended June 30,
 
    
2020
    
2021
    
2022
 
Backlog Situation:
        
Contracts newly entered and unfinished (million)
   $ 262.3      $ 356.5      $ 588.1  
Contracts entered in prior years and unfinished (million)
   $ 309.5      $ 328.6      $ 360.7  
Total amount of backlog (million)
   $ 571.8      $ 685.0      $ 948.8  
 
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