LONG gone are the heady days when potential investors scrambled to apply for a share in a Chinese stock offering, in a bid to participate in the mainland's economic boom. Long gone, too, are the good times when H shares were a surefire win in a game of stock market punting. Only one year after China's first state-owned enterprise, Tsingtao Brewery, listed in Hong Kong, Chinese companies and underwriters face an uneasy truth: is the H share market doomed? The share debut of Luoyang Glass on Friday will serve as a yardstick for the already-weak market sentiment of H shares. More importantly, it will give insight into valuating forthcoming Chinese issues, which should be more realistically priced to reflect the waning interests of investors. The float glass maker is the first of a second batch of 22 state-owned enterprises slated for overseas listing. After the failure of Tianjin Bohai Chemical in May, Chinese companies and underwriters have adopted a more pragmatic view in pricing the shares. When Dongfang Electrical Machinery offered shares in Hong Kong, its sponsor Nomura International admitted that a deliberately lower price had been set to guarantee success for the stock. Dongfang's public offering was 14 times oversubscribed, thanks to the company's niche in China's highly popular electricity sector. But Luoyang Glass was not as fortunate. Despite its low pricing strategy, only a multiple of 10.5 times, interest to its public offering was scarce, with only a two per cent oversubscription. One point which deserves mention, though, is that income tax laws changed between the time the first batch of shares listed and the second. The first batch of nine companies has to pay an income tax of 15 per cent, probably until next year, while the second batch is paying 33 per cent. Therefore, the subscription rate of Luoyang Glass is a precursor of bleak prospects for the pricing of the remaining candidates, as long as concerns over China's inflamed economy linger. At the same time, it indicates that investors have become more mature about investing in Chinese stocks, not as blind as last year, because they now look into a company's fundamentals.