Initial public offerings are usually exciting events. Nowhere is this more true than in China, where a relatively short history of share trading is already long on bouts of frenzied speculation around newly listed shares.

ChiNext 10-30-09

Trading began today for 28 companies on ChiNext, a new segment of the Shenzen exchange intended for small, fast-growing firms. All of the companies posted strong gains on their debuts, ranging from 75% to more than 200%. The increases triggered at least one temporary trading suspension for every company’s shares during the day.

The table at right is the list of top performers, with the closing share price in the middle column and the day’s percentage gain in the right column. Chengdu Geeya Technology, a digital television equipment maker, topped the list with a gaudy 209.73% gain.

The average ChiNext share closed with a price-earnings ratio of 111. Investors who didn’t flip their shares today will likely find trading next week rather exciting, but not in a good way.

UPDATE (Nov 2): As expected, most ChiNext shares slid today, with 20 of 28 firms losing 10% of their value, the limit at which the exchange halts trading for the day.